TAG Heuer / AUTAVIA
The Autavia, the legendary driver's chronograph from the Sixties beloved of collectors, is making a comeback in 2017.
A contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion, its name is synonymous with its rotating bezel, its large snailed counters and the exemplary legibility of its black and white. Created in 1962, this iconic model celebrates its 55th anniversary in the form of a neo-retro successor featuring updated functions and a proprietary movement.
Modern yet faithful to its roots, the new generation Autavia channels the spirit of the golden age of motor racing. As innovative as the original, this contemporary model is the result of an interactive campaign called the "Autavia Cup" run in 2016: from a choice of 16 vintage models, more than 50,000 web users voted for a reissue of the Autavia "Rindt" worn by the famous F1 driver Jochen Rindt.
- Rebirth of the Autavia, the first wrist chronograph with a rotating bezel designed by Jack Heuer in 1962.
- A watch worn by the best-known racing drivers of the 1960s and 1970s: Jochen Rindt, Mario Andretti, Jo Siffert, Clay Regazzoni...
- A contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion, a name taken from the first dash counter for racing cars and aircraft created by Heuer in 1933.
- The interpretation of an icon coveted by collectors, combining the spirit of 1960s motor racing with contemporary functions.
- A design inspired by the Autavia "Rindt" from 1966, worn by the legendary F1 champion Jochen Rindt.
- Voted for by web users from among 16 historic models during the "Autavia Cup", an unprecedented interactive online campaign hosted in 2016.
- 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.
- See Now, Buy Now: Avant-garde right up to distribution, available as of today: TAG Heuer leads the way in the world of avant-garde luxury watchmaking as the first watch brand to apply the "See now, buy now" fast fashion concept. As of today, the watches will be on sale in TAG Heuer boutiques, from a selection of retailers, or available for delivery via the brand's online webstore.
- At the occasion of this launch, TAG Heuer is also selling the book “Autavia – Story of an Icon”, which will allow the reader to immerse himself in the history and heritage of this legendary watch.
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®.
A future collector's item, the new generation Autavia stays true to the simple, robust lines of its ancestor. 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 roots of the Autavia
To better understand the motoring roots of the Autavia, let's take a quick look back at its history. 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. At the time, the Autavia was an essential accessory for champions. Aside from cigarette manufacturers, Jack Heuer was the first Formula 1 sponsor. With his keen interest in cars and a remarkable flair for marketing, this visionary strengthened the ties between the watch brand and motor sport.
Worn by F1 champions, the Autavia became an icon of a sexy, thrilling and dangerous world. The drivers were sources of fascination, at a time when motor racing provoked a heady mix of euphoria and suspense. The excitement was inflamed by an acute sense of danger: out on the track, cocooned in their cars, drivers gambled with their lives. An extremely dangerous sport; a chillingly short life expectancy. Driven by forces of nature alive with a fiery impulse. Living intensely, without calculation, taking risks... these stars, who shone so very brightly, chose the Autavia for its versatile character, its robustness and its reliability. They turned it into a symbol.