School pieces (on the example of a vintage Heuer Carrera): over-looked one-of-a-kind watches
Historically, "school pieces" marked the completion of the three years hard school to become watch maker. The most important "Ecloles d'horogerie" were Porrentruy, St. Imier, Le Locle an a few others.
The schools purchased "raw materials" (cases, hands etc.) and the students has to build their graduation piece.
On the example below, you see a Heuer Carrera reference 2447.
Difference to an "ordinary" carrera:
- no "Heuer" on the dial
- no "Heuer" on the crown
- the engraving "Heuer Leonidas" in the case back has been erased
- the movement has no "Heuer" engraving
- the case bears the "2447" Heuer reference number between one pair of the lugs
- the case bears the ordinary Heuer individual serial number (in this case 104xxx) between the other pair of lugs
The dial is wonderfully sunburst gray and bears the name of the school, in this case "Ecole d'horlogerie Porrentruy"
These are unique pieces. No, or probably super-rarely two of the same.
There is an interesing article to be found on the topic of school pieces if you "google" : "watch the school piece" by Europa Star.