TAG Heuer Autavia, back on track
We bring you episode 3 of the Autavia saga since its 2017 relaunch, with bronze as a special guest star.
Reissues of historic watches are a niche that the watch industry continues to exploit to the full, often with gratifying results. As well as giving brands the opportunity to create brand new contemporary watches with a retro look, the vintage trend also strengthens the legitimacy of watchmakers that have a long history, which they can productively raid to identify often forgotten models that look like good candidates for a revival. Also not to be overlooked is the fact that bringing older models back into the spotlight is also a boon to collectors, whose rediscovered treasures can fetch a high price at auction.
When a watch is also linked to iconic persons, and to two fields that are particularly appealing to watch aficionados, we have all the ingredients for a highly successful recipe. And that’s where the TAG Heuer Autavia comes in. This watch is closely linked with Jack Heuer, and the worlds of AUTomobile racing and AVIAtion – hence the name. The watch was launched under the aegis of Jack Heuer in 1962, and was hugely successful until production was halted in 1985. This historic chronograph with its rotating bezel was intended for sportspersons. It followed on the heels of the dashboard instruments Heuer designed in the 1930s for cars and planes. Combining sturdiness and functionality with a distinctive style, it was inspired by aeroplane cockpit designs, offering excellent legibility alongside the oversized crown typical of aviators’ watches. Nevertheless, its popularity in the 1960s and 70s was cemented by the Formula 1 drivers who adopted it as their own.
Heuer dashboard instrument, Autavia historic models, and the latest Autavia © TAG Heuer
2012 would have been a good year for a relaunch, given that it was the watch’s 50th year – not an anniversary that watch brands readily ignore. However, it was not until 2016 that TAG Heuer pulled the Autavia out of the drawer, for a thoroughly modern initiative, the Autavia Cup: a social media campaign to choose which model would be reissued. The following year, for the brand’s 85th anniversary, Jack Heuer had the pleasure of seeing his favourite watch reissued in the form of the Autavia Ref. 2446 Mark 3 Jochen Rindt, a tricompax chronograph produced in a limited run of 1932. At Baselworld in 2019, the Autavia set off on a new trajectory with a completely separate collection. The Autavia Isograph was launched, with a range of three-hands plus date models sporting a vintage appearance paired with avant-garde technology, powered by a Calibre 5 featuring a revolutionary carbon balance spring.
Once back on the road, the Autavia continued on its path towards renewed popularity and success, with a new collection launched at the end of last year. There was no chronograph to hark back to the good old days. Instead, as with the Isograph, we have a series of three-handers with date in a diameter of 42 mm, featuring a depth rating of 100 metres, Arabic numerals, big luminescent hands and an oversized crown, in seven different versions. Two of the models are made of bronze – another new departure for TAG Heuer.
Autavia bronze © TAG Heuer
Sporting an elegant brown or khaki fumé dial, the two bronze Autavias also include a matching ceramic insert on their traditional bi-directional rotating bezel. The brushed bronze of the case gives them a vintage appearance, amplified by the brown or khaki leather strap with white topstitching.
The five other versions of the 2019 Autavia come in more traditional steel, providing an appropriate reminder of the collection’s sporting origins. There are three more dial colours to choose from – blue, black or grey, all fumé – with a bezel in steel or matching ceramic. Three interchangeable bands are available: leather, military-style NATO or stainless steel.
Autavia Satinless Steel and interchangeable straps © TAG Heuer
As for the movement, behind the case back with its engraved car tyre and propeller lies the COSC-certified automatic Calibre 5 with a 38-hour power reserve.Le collection Autavia
Over 150 years of watchmaking savoir-faire and technical innovation have made TAG Heuer a global reference in avant-garde sports watches. As it tracked the rise of sports demanding increasingly precise timekeeping, TAG Heuer continually developed its unique capabilities through a long-term vision of what watchmaking is today, and what it will look like tomorrow.Find out more >
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