The Autavia is an important collection for TAG Heuer. The watch, the first designed and launched under the leadership of Jack Heuer in 1962, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The name, a portmanteau of automobile and aviation, makes no doubt on the vocation of the watch, an instrument to time events and races. As such, the chronograph has always been part of the collection’s DNA. Yet, when the name was revived in 2019 with the new collection, this complication was missing and the watch was only offered in time-and-date editions. But since 2022 marks 60 years of Autavia, the brand has decided to correct things and presents a collection of 3 new models, with the new TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph and GMT 3 Hands.
Quick reminder. The name Autavia first appeared during the 1930s – in 1933 to be precise – on dashboard instruments made by Heuer. The name was born from the contraction of “AUTomobile” and “AVIAtion”. It would later be associated with racing chronographs and iconic watches made during the golden era of the mechanical wristwatch. It was indeed the very first wristwatch launched when Jack Heuer became the brand’s CEO, in 1962. And if most have in mind the Carrera as today’s cornerstone in the collection, the Autavia was Heuer’s bread and butter during the 1960s, 1970s and even in the early 1980s. The name Autavia resurfaced recently with two distinct watches. First, in 2017, with a historically-inspired model (resulting from the vote of fans) equipped with a chronograph movement, and to be precise the all-new Calibre Heuer 02. In 2019, the brand took a new direction by introducing a collection of 3-hand Autavia models, somehow departing from the traditional look of the vintage models, and also infused with a slightly different inspiration. Back then, it introduced the Carbon Hairspring, which has since been replaced by a more traditional solution.
This year, TAG Heuer is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Autavia wristwatch, and as you might have expected, the brand is releasing dedicated watches to mark the occasion, with three new models enlarging the permanent collection.
The TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph
The first watch (actually a pair of watches) for this jubilee feels like a natural development of the collection. Sort of a back to basics, with the return of a chronograph movement in the Autavia case. Naturally, some will say, since the chronograph has been part of the model’s DNA for decades and its absence in the collection was felt. Problem solved in 2022, with some novelties on the movement side to be noted.
The watch in question, dubbed Autavia 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph, relies on the design codes introduced in 2019 with the revamped Autavia collection time-and-date. This means a 42mm case with straight sides, faceted lugs with brushed surfaces and polished accents and mushroom-shaped prominent pushers. A major difference with the other icon of the brand, the Carrera, the Autavia (true to its aviation roots) was equipped with an external rotating bezel and this new chronograph version is no exception to the rule. It features a bidirectional rotating bezel with a 60-minute scale and a black ceramic insert. Also, the model is water-resistant to 100 metres.
There are two editions of the TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph presented today. First is a rather classic yet effective version in stainless steel with a silver-brushed dial and contrasting black counters for the chronograph indications – not for the small seconds at 6 o’clock. The other model is bolder and stronger, with its black DLC-coated stainless steel case and entirely black dial – an ode to past military watches from Heuer. Both editions come with oversized applied Arabic numerals and hands, both largely filled with SLN.
Under the sapphire caseback is an interesting and unprecedented version of the Calibre Heuer 02. While the basics are identical, such as the 4Hz frequency, the automatic winding, the 80h power reserve and the column wheel/vertical clutch architecture, the TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary benefits from a new edition that combines the precision of a chronometer certification by the COSC and a novel flyback function that allows for quick reset of the timing sessions. The movement on both editions is equipped with a black coated rotor and red accents, including on the column wheel.
Both editions of the new Autavia Flyback Chronograph are worn on a black alligator leather strap closed by a steel pin buckle. They feature a clever-looking interchangeability system, allowing to switch to a possible stainless steel bracelet or other additional straps to come.
Both editions of the Autavia Flyback Chronograph are released as part of the permanent collection and are already available for orders. The silver edition (ref. CBE511B.FC8279) is priced at EUR 5,950. The black DLC-coated edition (CBE511C.FC8280) is priced at EUR 6,600.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter – stainless steel case, brushed and polished, with possibility of DLC coating – sapphire crystal front and caseback – bidirectional rotating bezel with 60-minute ceramic insert – 100m water-resistant – sunray-brushed silver and black dial, or full black dial – applied markers and hands with luminous material – Calibre Heuer 02 COSC Flyback, in-house, automatic, 80h power reserve – alligator leather strap with interchangeability system and pin buckle – EUR 5,950 for the CBE511B.FC8279 (silver) – EUR 6,600 for the CBE511C.FC8280 (DLC) – now available
The TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary GMT 3 hands
The second model to join the collection is a traveller’s take on the TAG Heuer Autavia. A completely new model, the first GMT-only to be made under the name Autavia (the brand made chrono-GMT in the past, however), it relies on the classic codes of the collection while adding traditional design elements of traveller’s watches.
The case, made of brushed and polished stainless steel, measures 42mm too. It is a sporty take on the GMT concept, with its steel bracelet, 100m water-resistance and external bezel. The watch is equipped with a two-tone, black and blue ceramic insert with 24h scale, on a bidirectional bezel. Combined with the classic time display and the 24h hand, it makes for a watch capable of displaying 3 time zones.
The dial of the Autavia 60th Anniversary GMT 3 Hands plays on the same tones as the rest of the watch, with a sunray-brushed dark blue colour, an orange GMT hand and large applied Arabic numerals and hands largely filled with luminous material. The date is displayed at 6 o’clock in a framed window. Under the screwed and solid steel back with typical Autavia engraving is the Calibre 7, a GMT movement based on the Sellita SW 330, here with chronometer certification by COSC.
The watch is worn on a 3-link brushed and polished steel bracelet closed by a double-push button deployant clasp. This bracelet also comes with an easy-change system, and can be removed thanks to pushers on its back. The TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary GMT 3 Hands (ref. WBE511A.BA0650) is now available and is priced at EUR 4,000.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – sapphire crystal on the front, steel back – bidirectional rotating bezel with 24h ceramic two-tone insert – sunray-brushed blue dial – applied markers and hands with luminous material – Calibre 7 COSC GMT, automatic base Sellita, 4Hz frequency – steel bracelet with deployant clasp and interchangeability system – ref. WBE511A.BA0650 – EUR 4,000
For more details and orders, please visit tagheuer.com.