We’re all familiar with TAG Heuer’s Carrera Chronograph, which fans of the brand know by heart, but do we know that much about the Autavia? During the years 1933 to 1957 TAG created a dashboard clock for rally cars. It featured a 12-hour chronograph, a large central second hand and two sub-dials for elapsed hours and minutes. When Jack Heuer’s team came third in a 1958 auto rally, it became apparent to him that the dashboard may not have been all that legible. Improvements were on the horizon….
Jack would stop at nothing to ensure his expectations were met with nothing short of perfection. So whilst the timepiece took some time off the shelves to receive a makeover, the TAG Heuer Monte Carlo would become its replacement for a few years. The Autavia was then reintroduced as a wristwatch in 1961. Fitted with a rotatable bezel with 60 separate one-minute markers, a second time zone and a 1/100th of a minute scale – it made for a very useful racing watch indeed.
A revamp of the icon was again revisited by TAG Heuer in 2016, who launched a campaign that would see the public’s favourite model from a shortlist of 16 make the itinerary at Baselworld’s 2017 list. Re-anchoring TAG Heuer’s firm roots within the racing and aviation industry, the 42mm TAG Heuer Autavia blue watch ref: WBE5116.EB0173 is powered by a newly created in-house movement – the COSC certified Calibre 5. The engine is housed inside a rugged, adventurous stainless-steel case that is water-resistant to 100 meters. The automatic movement’s high frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour will ensure excellent mechanical precision, whilst meticulous attention to detail has been applied to the oscillating mass, adorned in a stunning Cotes de Geneve decoration and the engraved “TAG Heuer Calibre 5” lettering. Despite the simplicity of the Autavia’s dial for purposes of legibility – it seems TAG Heuer has paid focus to the engine of the watch, ensuring its precision is compromised by nothing.
The fine-brushed and poised elements of the dial and accompanying bracelet, enhance a sporty, masculine persona. The vintage colour tones are seen in the dark blue smoked dial, surrounded by a matching blue ceramic turning bezel enhance a strong retro vibe. Since readability was a key factor in the remake of the TAG Heuer Autavia watch, Super-LumiNova coated hands and Arabic numerals ensure that time can be read in low-light conditions as well as at a quick glance.
The back of this TAG watch’s case is engraved with a stunning propeller and tyre image, linking both the automobile and aviation industry together upon a geometric case. The special decoration nods to the company’s history as much as it promotes its future in pioneering excellence. Verging on the right side of oversized – the Autavia is fitted with a large crown, reminiscent of vintage pilot’s watches of the past. What’s more, the 3-piece steel link bracelet can easily be swapped with a NATO-style band should you wish, without needing to invest in yet another watch for another occasion.
We’re sure the TAG Heuer Autavia blue watch will become a piece of history itself. Its iconic design echoes the aesthetics of the original Autavia and still manages to look sporty even in a model that forgoes the chronograph dial. A black date aperture at 6 o’clock balances out the instantly recognisable TAG Heuer lettering at the top of the dial, and all elements, of course, are protected by TAG’s anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass. The watch is a brilliant example of how the Swiss company, yet again, manages to recreate a blast from the past but with improved aesthetics, technique and reliability. Priced at £2750.00 the TAG Heuer Autavia watch offers the supreme performance and craftsmanship that one would expect of a watch developed to this degree of excellence.
Without a doubt, TAG Heuer Autavia is a bona fide racing watch that is certain to appeal those that gravitate towards vintage-inspired wristwatches, albeit with cutting edge technology built into their core. The heart of the masterpiece – the Calibre 5 – will provide a 38-hour power reserve, so it can either travel on your wrist or in your hold-all. Keeping precision time whilst you travel.