TAG Heuer Autavia: The return of an icon

In the '60s and' 70s Formula 1 drivers such as Jochen Rindt, Mario Andretti, Jo Siffert and Clay Regazzoni used a wrist chronograph created by TAG Heuer that over time became an icon, the Autavia, named after the contraction of AUTOMOBILE and AVIATION. This iconic model created in 1962 is reborn on the occasion of its 55th anniversary, with the features of a neo-retro heir with updated functions and a “house” engine.

The only one of its kind, the return to the slopes of the Autavia is the fruit of an unprecedented collaborative operation, the “Autavia Cup”, organized in 2016. Its objective: to consult the community of fans and collectors of the brand, to dialogue with connoisseurs and offer them the possibility of choosing the historical model that will inspire the renovation of the Autavia.

Among 16 first-generation Autavia (from the 60s), Internet users chose their favorite. With more than 50.000 registered votes, two rounds of voting, four finalists and a great winner: the famous Autavia ref. 2446 Mark 3, designed in 1966, and known to all as “Rindt” because the famous F.1 champion wore it at all times.

More imposing than its predecessor, measuring 42mm in diameter compared to 39mm in the 60s, with a 12-hour graduated bezel and a new in-house chronograph movement (the Heuer-02 caliber), the latest Autavia generation contains the DNA and aesthetic codes of the original, adapted to the present.

Its functions meet current demands: automatic caliber, 80 hour autonomy, date at 6 o'clock and water resistance to 100 meters. Made of black aluminum, the bi-directional notched bezel surrounds a black dial with three bluish-white counters, ideally arranged. A legible, balanced indication with applied steel hands and indexes coated in beige Super-LumiNova®.

A future collector's item, the new generation Autavia remains true to the simple and robust lines of its predecessor. A retro look reinterpreted with touches of modernity, anchored in today's world. Mushroom push-buttons, ribbed crown, Heuer logo and distressed calfskin strap for a vintage look. Contemporary twist with the assets of a date window and a sapphire caseback. Like the patina of a vintage watch, the luminescent coating is in a beige hue, which matches the stitching on the strap. A well-studied neo-retro style, in the image of the minute hand subdivisions, according to the ergonomic “1 / 3-2 / 3” rule of the time, developed by Jack Heuer to increase readability and precision.

The inscription "Heuer-02" above the date window marks one of the main innovations of this contemporary line: its in-house engine, the new Heuer-02 chronograph caliber, with a frequency of 4 Hz to achieve a reserve of 80 hour march.

At just 6,9mm thick, this 233-component automatic movement features a column wheel and vertical clutch. Adorned with traditional finishes visible through the sapphire case back, this TAG Heuer-manufactured mechanism offers maximum clearance for the counters on the dial to achieve visual balance and perfect reading.

The fans of the original Autavia have already fallen for the charm of this neo-retro generation. Its motor racing heritage, imposing attributes and iconic character are preserved with care and respect. Ideal proportions, typography, counter finishes, legibility and power of the rotating bezel - it has it all. Bonus for the purists, there is a variant of the strap: you can choose aged brown calfskin with raw stitching or sixties-inspired 7-row “rice grains” steel. Autavia in hand, a propulsion towards the stylistic universe of the Trente Glorieuses (golden age of capitalism between 1945 and 1975) and its impetuous protagonists.


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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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