The Autavia, the legendary driver’s chronograph from the Sixties, is making a comeback in 2017. The Heuer Autavia (A contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion), the first wrist chronograph with a rotating bezel, was designed by Jack Heuer in 1962. The name Autavia was taken from the first dash counter for racing cars and aircraft created by Heuer in 1933. Autavia was a favourite wrist accessory of many Formula 1 racing drivers of 1960s and 70s like Jochen Rindt, Mario Andretti, Jo Siffert and Clay Regazzoni.
Celebrating 55th anniversary this year, this iconic watch line is synonymous with rotating bezel, large snailed counters and the exemplary legibility of its black and white. Today, the Heuer Autavia is one of the most sought after historical watch models in the vintage watch market.
In 2016, TAG Heuer conducted an interactive online campaign called the “Autavia Cup” run in 2016. From a choice of 16 first generation Autavia models, more than 50,000 web users voted for a reissue of the Autavia “Rindt” (Ref. 2446 Mark 3, designed in 1966) worn by the famous F1 driver JochenRindt. In 2017, TAG Heuer is presenting a new generation of this iconic watch model.
Modern yet faithful to its roots, the new generation Autavia channels the spirit of the golden age of motor racing. It boasts a black rotating bezel, three large, snailed white counters, robust lines and perfect legibility inspired by the original model. Larger 42 mm diameter, water resistant to 100 metres, date aperture at 6 o’clock and Heuer-02 proprietary self-winding chronograph movement for the new model. At the occasion of this launch, TAG Heuer is also selling the book “Autavia – Story of an Icon”.
Based on the second execution of the case, with a refined bezel, bevelled horns, a black dial, three white counters, straight hands and polished steel baton indexes with luminescent inserts, this iconic piece bears all the hallmarks of a winner. Its “ambassador”, Jochen Rindt, one of history’s greatest F1 drivers, actively contributed to its renown.
More imposing than its ancestor — 42 mm in diameter compared to 39 in the 1960s — with a 12-hour graduated bezel and a new Heuer-02 calibre proprietary chronograph movement, the latest generation Autavia carries the DNA and aesthetic codes of the original, updated for today’s market. Its functions are tailored to modern requirements: a self-winding calibre, power reserve of 80 hours, date at 6 o’clock, water resistance to 100 metres. In black aluminium, the bidirectional notched bezel encircles a black dial with three white snailed counters in an optimal layout. A legible, balanced display with hands and applique indexes in steel coated with beige Super-LumiNova®.
The new model boasts a retro look updated with touches of modernity, grounded in the real world. “Mushroom” push-pieces, a ridged crown, the Heuer logo and a distressed calfskin leather strap for a vintage feel. A contemporary twist is revealed in the addition of a date aperture and a sapphire case-back. Like the patina of a vintage watch, the luminescent coating has a beige tint, in harmony with the strap stitching. The studied neo-retro style encompasses the minute track subdivisions, employing the “1/3-2/3” ergonomic rule of the era created by Jack Heuer to enhance legibility and accuracy.
The inscription “Heuer-02” above the date aperture references one of the major innovations of this contemporary model: its proprietary movement, the new Heuer-02 chronograph calibre, with 4 Hz frequency for a power reserve of 80 hours. Just 6.9 mm thick, this self-winding movement comprises 233 components, a pillar wheel and a vertical clutch. Featuring traditional finishes visible through the sapphire case-back, this TAG Heuer proprietary mechanism offers maximum space for the counters on the dial side, resulting in a visual balance and perfect legibility.
In this new model, the motor racing heritage of the original Autavia, its imposing features and its iconic character have been preserved with care and respect. Optimal proportions, typography, counter finishes, legibility and the power of the rotating bezel. The watch comes fitted with a distressed brown calfskin leather strap with ecru stitching or a Sixties-inspired 7-row steel “beads of rice” bracelet.
In 1933, Heuer designed the first dash counter for racing cars and aircraft: the Autavia chronograph. The name was a contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion – as ingenious an invention as the model’s timekeeping functions. Three decades later, in 1962, Jack Heuer, the fourth generation head of the company, created his first wrist sports chronograph. Its innovative signature: a rotating bezel. The Autavia name was reborn with this new, complete and extensive range. In the catalogue until 1986, its numerous executions were extremely successful, remaining to this day among the most sought-after collector’s chronographs.
For many, the Autavia is far more symbolic of the automotive side than aviation. Its ambassadors were the greatest Formula 1 drivers of the 1960s and 1970s: Jo Siffert, Mario Andretti, Jochen Rindt, Derek Bell, Clay Regazzoni, Gilles Villeneuve, Jacky Ickx, Emerson Fittipaldi, Graham Hill, Mario Andretti, Björn Waldegård and even Steve McQueen wore the model.
CBE2110.FC8226 with brown strap
CBE2110.BA0687 with 7-row steel “Grains of rice” bracelet
Heuer 02 Manufacture – automatic chronograph with date
80-hour power reserve
Diameter 42 mm – in polished steel
Polished steel horns with 2 facets
Notched black aluminium bezel with hour gradations, bidirectional rotation
Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating and fluted steel crown
Polished steel mushroom push-buttons and sapphire case-back
Water-resistance: 100 metres
Black opaline – date window at 6 o’clock
Three white snailed counters:
-Chronograph minute counter at 3 o’clock
-Chronograph hour counter at 9 o’clock
-Small seconds counter at 6 o’clock
Rhodium-plated applique indices, with polished and satin-finished top, with beige SuperLuminova™ highlights and minute track
Rhodium-plated beige SuperLuminova™ hour and minute hands
Black varnished chronograph hands
White varnished chronograph seconds hand
“Heuer” logo and “AUTAVIA” inscription at 12 o’clock, “HEUER-02” inscription at 6 o’clock
In vintage brown calfskin leather with ecru top-stitching
Polished pin buckle with Heuer logo