The Heuer Camaro was created under the leadership of Jack Heuer in the late 1960s. The name 'Camaro' is in-keeping with Heuer's motor-sport theme of the period and having been drawn from the Chevrolet Camaro, was part of a strategy to increase sales within the American watch market. The Chevy Camaro had made a name for itself recently, having been used as the 1967 pace car for both the Indianapolis 500 and the American Road Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway. It was hoped such integration with a recognisable American motor-sport name would be beneficial for sales and marketing, offering an instant affiliation between the two brands-
'.....it is the Chevrolet car name that made us register the name for watches. The main reason to select that name was its sound and easy pronouncement. In a watch name its international acceptance is a key factor, it must be able to be pronounced in most key languages..........We of course also liked the Camaro name because it was a name of a nice sporty car that our key market segment of consumers was certainly aware of.' Jack Heuer (Email correspondence with Jeff Stein (onthedash.com) )
Production of the Heuer Camaro began in 1967 with the first public release in 1968, when the Autavia and Carrera were already a big hit globally. While the Camaro's squarer 'cushion-shape' case is unique, some of the other designs and components were able to be 'borrowed' from the Carrera, so it was a relatively inexpensive way to enter this strain of the market. Other watch manufacturers such as Breitling, Rolex and Glashütte were already producing angular-case watches so it is likely to have been a step into competing with this market.
Photo credit: Dave Friedman, courtesy The Henry Ford
Due to the Camaro's distinctive case shape, it is often compared to the famous Heuer Monaco, with it's uncompromising angular case design; yet the Camaro pairs much more easily with it's sibling the Carrera. While the Camaro case is slightly larger at 37mm wide vs. the Carrera's 36mm, the overall look and feel is similar, particularly considering the dial and hands bear very similar designs to the equivalent Carreras of this period.
Camaro production ran for just 4 years, during which time the revolutionary 'Chronomatic' movement was being co-invented for release in 1969. This automatic movement was introduced into many of the Heuer models moving forward but sadly, it was never paired with the Camaro so the range ceased being made in 1972.