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Stopwatch HEUER ref. 430

Vintage HEUER-Leonidas stopwatch ref. 430 hl microsplit --- close-up shot with case opened ---

Small, accurate, elegant

vintage heuer advertisement for the HL-530 stopwatch

In the 70’s, HEUER hardly works of the development of its “Electronic division”. Miniaturization and hight accuracy are the key words of the compagny. In 1973 the microsplit ref. HL 820 is released. This red box is, at this time, the smallest time-keeping device providing a 1/100em of second precision.
One year after, in 1974, HEUER asks to the german designer Richard Sapper, to create a similar but smaller product. He successfuly completes his mission, fitting all electronic components in a compact, thin and elegant black box. The very first and most known models are the the ref. 520 and 530 but the “Sapper microsplit” stopwatches appears in 1976 HEUER catalogs under references 430, 420 [1][2].

HL 820 features in a pocket

Even if it can not be connected to an external timing system, the Microsplit 430 (and its variants) has all the HL 820 features, keeping in a more tiny case. This new range of stopwatches breaks a new record in miniaturisation. They become the new smallest 1/100em second devices.

A switch button allows user to set the mode to taylor (to time laps) or split mode (to display intermediate time). Three colored (red, green, white) buttons activate start, stop, time-out, reset and lap or taylor function (depending on the mod selected).

Like the HL 820, screen uses a red LED technologie with a standby mod which turns it off after few time to save the battery. This behaviour can be disabled by simply pushing a side switcher to permanantly display time measurement, whereas manipulation on the electronic board is required for the HL 820.

Timeless design

While the super colored HL 820 is a truly 70’s timepiece, design of the microsplit 430 (and other references built on the Sapper design) is sober, giving a luxury aspect which is pretty unusual for professional electronic tools. Whatever the time, this range of microsplit seems to be actual and elegant. It’s not a hazard, a HEUER Sapper device (a ref. 520) is exposed at the Museum of Modern Art  of New-York.

An exemple of US market device

Vintage HEUER-Leonidas stopwatch ref. 430 hl microsplit --- three quarter close up shot ---

The model on picture is for the US market. That’s why Springfiled, US HEUER headquarter city, is mentionned on the technical label. On a ref. 430 for Europe, Bienne would have been written instead. It can also be noticed, only the case is Swiss-made. The timer has not been still opened to confirm, but, electronic ship could have been made in US. Indeed, in the 70’s, a large part of HEUER electronic components are made by Silicon Valley compagnies and few stopwatches are fully US made.

Technical informations



Full designation

HEUER-LEONIDAS ref. HL 430 – microsplit


  • mode selection (split / taylor) by top left selector
  • on (permanently display) – on (stand by display mod) – off by right side button
  • start and go on by right green button
  • stop by central red button
  • reset by pushing the red and green button at the same time
  • split action / lap timing (taylor) by the white right button


  • 6 digits LED screen


second part of the 70’s / early 80’s


  • electronical caliber


105mm * 57mm * 18mm

[1] After researches in onthedash and caliber11 official catalog databases
[2] A third reference (413) is also released but with a decimal minute timing.