Tag Heuer Autavia Watches
Inspired by the synergy between aviation and automobiles, Tag Heuer Autavia watches embody the fast-paced world of motoring. Boasting clean and crisp round dials, the timepieces provide the perfect balance between vintage and modern styles. The wristwatches reign supreme in terms of design and quality, making them excellent everyday watches and an incredibly sought-after collector’s item.
No products were found matching your selection.
The History of Tag Heuer Autavia Watches
A portmanteau of AUTomobile and AVIAtion, the Tag Heuer Autavia was first used as a dashboard instrument on race cars, boats, and aircraft from 1933. It would not be until the 1960s that Jack Heuer, the fourth generation head of the company, decided to create a new chronograph for the wrist that had a turning bezel, a first for the brand. In addition, it was the very first wristwatch that he personally created for the company. Launched in 1962, the timepiece quickly gained iconic status in the automotive world and had a number of prestigious ambassadors, including Jo Siffert, Jochen Rindt, Derek Bell, Jacky Ickx, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Clay Regazzoni.
Tag Heuer Autavia watches are usually classified by collectors in three main generations. They also are offered with a wide range of different bezel types, such as 60 minute, 12-hour, diving times, and GMT scales. The first generation of timepieces ran until 1968 and were categorised by a 38mm steel casing with flowing lugs and a simple black dial that featured luminescent hour markers, oversized white subdials and dauphine hands. From 1966 onwards, the subdials became smaller and the dauphine hands were replaced with more conventional models. All of the first generation timepieces were powered by Valjoux hand-wound chronograph movements.
In 1968, the manufacturer released the second generation of Autavias, with a completely new design that featured lugs with square edges and a larger bezel. These models were again powered by Valjoux movements. The third generation followed a year later, and were developed around the revolutionary Chronomatic Calibre 11. These updated wristwatches had a completely new case that had integrated lugs. The crown was also positioned on the left, as a reminder that the watch did not need winding. Despite its success, the Autavia became a victim of the Quartz Crisis and was discontinued in 1986.
Then, in 2003, Tag Heuer unveiled a re-edition of the Autavia based on the model’s third generation timepieces. Its 42mm steel case had a fixed bezel with tachymeter scale. Some four years later, the Autavia celebrated its 55th anniversary in the form of a contemporary re-edition that featured updated functions and a proprietary movement. Dubbed the Autavia Calibre 02, this model was the result of an interactive competition called the Autavia Cup, which gave fans the opportunity to vote for which vintage model they wanted to be reimagined. More than 50,000 web users chose the Autavia “Rindt”, worn by F1 driver Jochen Rindt. This new model was more imposing than its predecessor and measured 42mm in diameter. It featured a 12-hour graduated bezel, self-winding calibre, an 80-hour power reserve, and was waterproof up to 100 metres.
Baselworld 2019 was the venue for the next edition in the Autavia collection, the Isograph. This model was produced as a three-handed alternative to the chronograph models and came in a number of different colours. Like the chronograph, it was water resistant to 100m and had Arabic numerals that glow in the dark.
Designed for a Specific Problem
Like most classic wristwatches, the Tag Heuer Autavia was created to solve a very specific issue. A motorsports fanatic, Jack Heuer was involved in a race in 1958. Unable to accurately read his dashboard stopwatch towards the end of the race, he misunderstood his timings and ended up finishing in third. He therefore decided to manufacture a wristwatch that was modeled on the dashboard chronograph, but with better readability. And so, the Autavia was born.
An instant hit, the timepiece was beloved by famous race car drivers and actors alike, who were all bowled over by its superior functionality. In fact, the most coveted models by collectors are those that were most popular amongst Formula 1 drivers from the 1960s and 70s. Examples of these include Mario Andretti, Jochen Rindt, and Jo Siffert who each have References named after them.
Since its relaunch, the collection has continued to delight collectors and aficionados alike and has cemented its position as a superior drivers’ chronograph. And to think this was all down to an accidental misinterpretation of a stopwatch.
A True Classic
Available for sale in a variety of styles, each member of the Autavia collection exudes its unique charm. Thanks to their close affiliation with the world of motorsports, they have earned a cult following and are highly regarded as being one of the best drivers’ chronographs on the planet.
No matter whether you are looking for a classic aesthetic, robust gadget, or are a fan of modern design, Tag Heuer Autavia watches tick all those boxes and more. It is therefore no wonder that this fantastic collection is regarded as one of the brand’s crown jewels, and a must for high-end watch collectors.