TAG Heuer Autavia: Drive to Survive

by Nicolette Wong

TAG Heuer fêtes the 60th anniversary of the legendary Autavia with three new releases.

TAG Heuer’s storied history as a watchmaker has seen it establish a reputation for building exceptional chronographs. Today, its most famous chronographs include the renowned Autavia, which was among the first chronographs created in the 1960s under the leadership of Jack Heuer, the great-grandson of company founder Edouard Heuer.

The name of the watch itself is a portmanteau of TAG Heuer’s two historical timekeeping pillars: automobiles and aviation. And although the name Autavia has been in use since 1933, when TAG Heuer equipped cars and aircraft with precision dashboard timers, it was only in 1962 that it was birthed in its modern form as a wristwatch. This year, the Autavia celebrates its 60th birthday, and TAG Heuer is paying tribute to its legacy with three new models — two flyback chronographs and a GMT.

Given that the Autavia began life as a chronograph, it comes as no surprise that two of the new models are also chronograph timepieces. The TAG Heuer 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph, as this pair of watches is named, is immediately recognisable as a throwback to the brand’s historic dashboard timers, with distinctive chronograph pushers and an extra-large crown.

The watch also makes a design nod to the Ref. 1550 SG flyback chronographs that TAG Heuer produced for the German Bundeswehr (Air Force in German) in the 1970s — the Bundeswehr had reportedly commissioned it specially to meet the technical requirements for their pilots. Naturally, legibility, reliability, and ease of use were paramount. Those same characteristics are also present in the new 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph, which have Super-LumiNova coating on its hour markers and hands, sapphire crystal front and back, and a bidirectional ceramic rotating bezel — a hallmark of the Autavia collection. The flyback function makes it possible for the user to reset the chronograph hand and start timing a new section without needing to stop the running of the chronograph, thereby saving valuable time — essential for pilots. The new 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph is equipped with the reliable COSC-certified Calibre Heuer 02 COSC Flyback movement.

Aesthetically, the two models of the 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph are very different. One has a brushed steel case paired with a silver dial with black subdials — a nod to the coveted panda dials on the ‘60s vintage Autavias — with hour and minute hands and numerals filled with white Super-LumiNova. The other model has a steel case entirely coated in black DLC coating, with an all-black dial and hour and minute hands and numerals filled with Green Super-LumiNova.

The final model of the collection is the Autavia 60th Anniversary GMT 3 Hands, which, as the name suggests, contains a GMT function that allows the user to tell time for a second time zone. This is the first time that a GMT watch has been included in the Autavia collection, but it seems quite a natural extension of the line, given that it would allow travellers using either automobiles or aircrafts to tell the time more easily. The watch has a steel case, with a blue and black ceramic bezel, and a sunray-brushed blue dial. The bright orange hand on the watch is the way that the second timezone can be set — it takes the place of the hour hand when telling the time. The watch is fitted with the Calibre 7 COSC GMT movement, and could be the perfect sporty companion post-Covid travel.

Images courtesy of TAG Heuer, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related Links:

TAG Heuer: Return of the Autavia

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