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Clock Gears

TAG HEUER & THE AUTAVIA

Rooted in History


In 1962, TAG Heuer introduced the legendary Autavia collection, tailored for those spirited individuals who embrace life as an adventure. Anchored in the pillars of TAG Heuer's history, automobile and aviation, the Autavia initially served as a dashboard timer for cars and aircraft, starting in 1933, before evolving into a celebrated wristwatch.


The TAG Heuer Autavia, a cockpit-inspired masterpiece, stands as the first among the company's "Big Three" references, predating the Monaco and the Carrera. Its robust features are deeply rooted in history, embodying confidence and functionality. Throughout the decades, it has been a reliable companion for adventurers, always at the forefront of its era with innovations like its watertight compressor case and status as the first automatic chronograph movement.


The term "chronograph," translating to "time writer," takes on a more fitting role as a "time recorder" given the instrument's use. The "Time of Trip" chronograph in 1911 solidified Heuer's reputation for high-precision dashboard timing instruments, becoming a staple for rally drivers and motor racers.


Fuelled by the family's passion for aviation, the Autavia was conceived to serve both cars and aeroplanes, christening a dashboard timer with remarkable accuracy to ⅕ of a second. Initially part of a series of dashboard instruments paired with a Hervue clock, it became the choice of rally drivers and motorsports enthusiasts. Launched in 1962, the Autavia marked a significant departure for the brand, condensing two decades of design evolution into a few months. Sporting a Valjoux 72 hand-wound movement and a rotating bezel, it boasted a large 39mm diameter, catering to wearers who traversed different time zones, as evidenced by the second time zone display.

Heuer Autavia stopwatch on silver back drop

A Collection Reborn


Bold, modern, stylish, and highly legible, the Autavia became synonymous with glamour during motor racing's golden days. Motorsport legends like Jo Siffert, Derek Bell, Jochen Rindt, and others embraced the Autavia, reflecting the high-octane, cigarette-smoking glamour of that era. Following TAG Heuer's acquisition by Techniques d'avant-garde in 1985, the Autavia fell silent until 2003 when a watch bearing its name was released, bridging the gap to its origins.


TAG Heuer introduced the initial re-edition of the Autavia in 2003. In contrast to the Carrera re-edition of 1996, which closely replicated nearly every design element of its 1963 predecessor, TAG Heuer pursued a distinct strategy for the Autavia re-editions. The new Autavia models were envisioned as modern interpretations of the essential Autavia design features, departing from a mere replication of the vintage design. Notably, the watch featured a thinner fixed bezel, a departure from the previous rotating bezel, and replaced the round pushers of the historic model with a new oblong shape.


In 2016, TAG Heuer introduced a groundbreaking concept in luxury watchmaking. They extended an invitation to the public to participate in the selection of a design from 16 first-generation 1960s Autavias. The initiative, known as the 'Autavia Cup,' garnered over 50,000 votes during a two-round competition, culminating in the selection of four finalists and one ultimate winner: the Autavia Ref. 2446 Mark 3, originally designed in 1966. Rather than concluding with the public vote, this democratic design process continued as the TAG Heuer design department made refinements to the final aesthetic. This collaborative effort resulted in the creation of a stunning 'neo-retro' model.


The 2017 Autavia model, deemed by some as not merely a re-release but a new branch on the family tree, maintained its avant-garde essence. With a larger 42mm size, a 12-hour graduated bezel, and the Heuer 02 calibre, it met contemporary standards, boasting self-winding capability, an 80-hour reserve, and water resistance up to 100 meters. In essence, it remained legible, balanced, and true to its roots.

 

Available Now


The TAG Heuer Heritage Autavia, model CBE2110.BA0687, is a captivating fusion of vintage design and contemporary functionality, showcasing the brand's rich horological heritage. This 42mm automatic chronograph timepiece is housed in a sturdy stainless steel case, evoking the spirit of classic pilot watches. Check out this avant-garde unworn, preowned watch below:



TAG Heuer Autavia Chronograph resting against a rock on a reflective surface

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