TAG Heuer Autavia Jack Heuer: Singapore Price And ReviewWritten by Charmian Leong
The Autavia is a TAG Heuer icon that just won't quit.
We wouldn’t have any of TAG Heuer’s greatest hits if it weren’t for Jack Heuer. Can you imagine a world without Carreras, Monzas and Monacos? We can’t, either. So if the man wants to design a special edition watch in honour of his own birthday, we say he has more than earned the right.
And the present in question to commemorate the 85th birthday of the great-grandson of the brand’s founder and current honorary president? The Autavia Jack Heuer. Inspired by a model from the 1960s, the special edition chronograph comes with a more imposing case size of 42mm compared to 39mm, and features a self-winding calibre, power reserve of 80 hours, a date window at six o’clock and water-resistance of 100m. It's limited to just 1,932 pieces, in honour of Jack Heuer's birth year and 1/1,932 was actually part of the Phillips 'Heuer Parade' auction held in Geneva last month.
The bi-directional notched bezel, one of the defining characteristics of the original Autavia watches, is presented here in black aluminium. Within it is a silver dial with three black snailed counters in a pleasingly symmetrical layout. The steel matchstick-style hands and appliques are coated in beige Super-LumiNova, while the case is enhanced with retro accents like mushroom push buttons, a ridged crown, a ‘Heuer’ logo, minute track subdivisions and the familiar ‘grains of rice’ middle links on the steel bracelet.
The in-house Heuer-02 movement that powers the watch is technically impressive. Comprising 233 parts, it features a 12-hour chronograph with a triple sub-dial layout, and column wheel transmission system with a vertical clutch. The addition of a date function certainly doesn’t hurt for those who value function over rigid reproduction of older models. Some may remember that this movement also served as the base for the Carrera Heuer 02T Tourbillon Chronograph.
The Autavia gets its name from a contraction of the words ‘automotive’ and ‘aviation’ (the first one was actually a dashboard clock built for automobile and aircraft instrument panels back in 1933). Unfortunately, its poor legibility caused Heuer to place third in a rally in 1958 because he misread the dial by a minute. In response, he developed the Autorallye and Monte Carlo with more legible dials. But his fondness for the Autavia’s name kept its wristwatch version (the first new model he launched as the brand’s then-new CEO in 1961) in production up until the end of the Heuer company in 1985.
In early 2016, TAG Heuer launched the ‘Autavia Cup’, which pitted 16 vintage models against each other for web users to vote on. The most popular would get a reissue, and the winner was the Autavia Rindt (named after racing legend Jochen Rindt) after tabulating over 50,000 votes. Unlike Jack’s birthday edition, the 2017 Autavia has a thicker (but still rotating) bezel with 12 hour indications and an inverse panda dial.
The watchmaking scene has been around long enough for many to develop a sense of nostalgia for older collectors, while young watch buffs are getting increasingly curious about the origins of their favourite models. This would explain the first-generation Heuer Autavia’s high hammer price of US$125,000 at a Christie’s New York auction last December — the first-ever six-figure Autavia at an auction. No matter how absent the Autavia has been, people can never truly forget the first watch to have real racing roots - and one close to the heart of the man who made TAG Heuer what it is today. A proper revival of his beloved Autavia could be the best birthday present Jack Heuer can ask for.
|Silver sunray with black snailed counters|
|In-house self-winding Calibre Heuer 02|
|Seven-row bracelet in polished steel|
|Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph.|
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After seven years as a full-time scribe, four of them spent writing about luxury timepieces, Charmian has gone the way of the freelancer and is now fascinated by a different facet of time: having it. When not labouring over a story with a martini in hand, she plays video games and takes naps in 8-bit.