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Vintage watches: the Heuer Autavia

The interest of vintage watches has never been bigger than it is today. And while the Newmans, Nautilus’ and tourbillons keep breaking records, collectors start to look elsewhere for that new interesting timepiece. One of these interesting news is the Heuer Autavia. When Jack Heuer designed the Autavia, he wanted to create a stopwatch that could be used by motor heads as well as pilots of all trades. The name is a play with the two words AUTo and AVIAtion, according to Jack Heuer.

Originally the Autavia was a dash board watch and not intended to be a wristwatch, but in 1962, precisely one year after Jack Heuer had taken over the family business, he launched the first ever Heuer with a turning bezel, naming it Autavia. Offered with a very appealing dial layout and powered with a manual wound Valjoux calibre 92 (ref. 3646 two-register) or 72 (ref. 2446 triple-register), the Autavia was an instant success. The Autavia today is a highly collectable watch, the first generation ref. 2446H with oversized triple register dial layout especially. This is not only due to the 38 millimeter case, which is a great size for most wrists today, but also due to the movement, Valjoux calibre 72, which can also be found in the coveted Rolex Daytona (Paul Newman) of the same period. Auction prices for this legendary watch, which was in production between 1962-68 with small alterations, reach prices between 8-20.000 euros, the Mark 1 (ref. 2446H) of course demanding the highest results.

In 2016 TAG Heuer launched the AutaviaCup (www.autaviacup.com) asking fans of not only the sporty watch brand but also collectors of fine timepieces, which generation Autavia ref. 2446 they would like to see as a relaunch, once the Autavia celebrates its 55th anniversary in 2017. Thousands participated and the generation 3 of the Autavia aka “Rindt” with decimal turning bezel and regular sized triple register dial layout was chosen as the winner. This particular version of the Autavia is named after the Austrian F1 World Champion driver, Jochen Rindt, who was spotted wearing that exact version. Jack Heuer created the watch, the collectors love it and TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver decided to let the people speak, repeating not only horological history, but certainly also proving his understanding of auctions. By this move he is making sure that the (TAG) Heuer history is celebrated and hence supporting the current and future production. Clever guy that Biver.

Tags : TAG HeuerVintage
Kristian Haagen

The author Kristian Haagen

Kristian Haagen loves watches. So much that he can’t stop talking about them. He has been a timegeek since he was ten years old. Never good at playing soccer he turned to the windows of his local watch maker and fell in love with the horological industry. He has written five books on watches, has published thousands of watch related articles in International media and works as a freelance estimater for Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers.