The Collector's Guide to the Heuer Autavia

Looking at the world of vintage Heuer chronographs, most of the action centers around three models — the Autavia, the Carrera and the Monaco.  Over the years from 1962 into the mid-1980s, there were over 200 executions and variations of these three models, ranging from manual-winding two-register chronographs, to more complicated GMT models, to quartz powered models with dual digital displays.  While Heuer offered many other models over these years (for example, the Camaro, Montreal, Silverstone and Monza), these other models together account for only a fraction of the production of Heuer’s “Big Three.”

Heuer's "Big Three" -- Among the most common executions of these models are the "Viceroy" Autavia (1972), the Reference 2447S Carrera (circa 1963), and the "Steve McQueen" Monaco (circa 1970)

Heuer’s “Big Three” — Among the most common executions of these models are the “Viceroy” Autavia
(1972), the Reference 2447S Carrera (circa 1963), and the “Steve McQueen” Monaco (circa 1970)

In this posting, we provide an overview of the first of Heuer’s “Big Three” models, the Autavia.  Our overview of the Autavia provides information for today’s collectors.  We focus on the versions of the Autavia that are most accessible to today’s collectors, rather than the very rare executions or prototypes that today’s collector cannot expect to find (or afford).  (For example, we will not cover the Chronomatic Autavias here; for those who may be interested in the Chronomatic Autavias, I have written a separate posting covering the “Chronomatics”.)

Three manual-wind, screw-back Autavias from the 1960s.

Three manual-wind, screw-back Autavias from the 1960s.

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TAG Heuer at BaselWorld 2015 -- I Believe in Biver

No, this is not Jean-Calude Biver’s first visit to the BaselWorld watch fair, but it is the first time he’ll be there as CEO of TAG Heuer.  Since Biver assumed this position, TAG Heuer enthusiasts have been nervously anticipating how Biver might re-position the brand, their fears stirred by constant suggestions that TAG Heuer would become the “entry level” brand for the LVMH watch group.  During the course of BaselWorld, we will learn a lot more.

But let’s look at the watches released in the first hours of BaselWorld to see what lessons we might learn about Biver’s leadership of the brand.  These watches send an exciting message about the future of TAG Heuer and about Biver’s vision for the brand.  I believe that we can learn at least eight lessons as the 8:00 AM opening of BaselWorld approaches.

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Model Overview: Heuer Jarama Chronograph

Heuer’s Caliber 12 automatic chronographs of the 1970s are easily divided into three generations.  The first generation was comprised of the three models that Heuer used to introduce its automatic chronographs in 1969 — the Autavia, Carrera and Monaco.  The second generation was introduced over the period from 1971 to 1974, as Heuer developed three models that embodied the look of the 1970s — the Montreal, Silverstone and Calculator.  In 1977, Heuer introduced the third generation of Caliber 12 powered automatic chronographs – the Cortina, Daytona, Jarama, Kentucky and Monza, with the Verona arriving in 1978.

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Remember the Good Old Days . . . Before OnTheDash?

We launched OnTheDash on February 12, 2003, with an email message to 80 recipients.  A few days ago, I received a message from one of these recipients, who I have been in touch with from time to time over the years.  In his message he reminisced about the good old days, shared some thoughts about the state of the current market, and also posed a few questions for me.  To mark the 12th birthday of OnTheDash, let me publish the message that I sent to this gentleman.

 

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Found – Heuer’s Very First Automatic Chronograph (Chronomatic Autavia)

For years, Heuer collectors have stared at the image – its shows three Heuer chronographs, each bearing only the Heuer shield at the top of the dial and the word “Chronomatic” at the bottom of the dial.  There are no model names on the dials, but the Heuer enthusiasts know exactly what they are – the Carrera, the Monaco and the Autavia that Heuer introduced in 1969, as the world’s first automatic chronographs.

Advertisement from March 1969, showing Heuer’s three automatic chronographs (Chronomatics)

This was the first image that Heuer used to market its first automatic chronographs – the Chronomatics.  The images of these three watches appeared in the March 3, 1969 press release in which Heuer introduced its first automatic chronographs and in industry publications that first presented these watches to the world, including the Swiss Watch and Jewelry Journal, the official publication of the March 1969 Basel Fair.

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Auction Report – Three Interesting Heuers Sold Today (December 10, 2014)

Today, we saw two “live” auctions of interesting vintage Heuer chronographs, a black PVD-coated Heuer Monaco, Reference 74033, and an Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer, Reference 2443.  In this posting, we’ll take a quick look at these two watches and the results of the sales.  We will also take a look at a Heuer Carrera, Reference 2447S that achieved a strong price in one of these auctions

Heuer Monaco, in Black PVD, Reference 74033

The Black PVD Monaco is one of the icons of the Heuer world. There has been some debate about the origins of this model — prototype versus production — but there is no debate about the scarcity and value of these watches.  Over the last decade, we have seen fewer than 20 of these watches, and this model holds the record for the highest price ever paid for a vintage Heuer, with one selling in December 2010, for approximately $75,000.  If we are lucky, in a given year, we might expect to see one of these watches offered in a public sale.  It’s December 10, and I believe that this was the first Black PVD Monaco that we saw on the auction block in 2014.

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A Noteworthy Watch -- Abercrombie & Fitch / Heuer Solunar (Posting by Jeff Simon)

“A Notable Watch” will be a series of postings in which we take a quick look at an interesting watch.  We will start this series by republishing a message that Jeff Simon posted on our discussion forum a few weeks ago, My A&F Heuer Solunar, a Little Family History.

I purchased this watch several months back from a gentleman who has a network of estate sale buyers throughout the eastern United States. With his help and some research of my own, I learned a bit about the original owner, the widow of whom the watch was purchased from days before it was sold to me.

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Spotted – Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn has Upgraded from a $170 Michael Kors Watch to a $7,500 Rolex Submariner

Last year, in the course of writing a posting covering the $95 Fossil watch worn by Alabama football coach Nick Saban, I identified and commented on the watches worn by some other prominent college football coaches – Steve Spurrier, Les Miles, Mark Richt and a few others.  These gentlemen are leaders of popular football programs and are highly visible on Saturdays during the season, with the cameras following their every move and gesture, as they pace up and down the sidelines.

Michael Kors for Gus Malzahn

One of the more surprising discoveries of last year’s research was that first-year Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn was wearing a Michael Kors chronograph.  It wasn’t so much the $170 “street” price of the watch that surprised me, but the fact that Michael Kors is a “fashion” brand, most often preferred by teenage girls.  (Or as one of my daughters once told me, “by the time you get out of college, you want something a little more sophisticated”.)  Malzahn’s Michael Kors chronograph looks a bit fussy, or even flimsy, not matching up well against Nick Saban’s more rugged looking $95 Fossil chronograph.

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Contest: Predict the Hammer Price of the Graves Supercomplication

If you are reading this, then you probably already know the basics.  The Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication watch is the most complicated watch ever produced by humans (without the aid of computers) and holds the record as the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, achieving a “hammer price” of $10 million at a Sotheby’s auction held in 1999 (or $11 million, including the buyer’s premium).  The experts among you may be able to count off the watch’s 24 complications, tell us the details of Mr. Graves’ life and recite the ownership history of the watch.  Everyone knows that this amazing watch will again be sold by Sotheby’s on November 11, at an auction in Geneva.

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The Reader's Guide to the Upcoming Patek Philippe Auctions

The Reader’s Guide to the Upcoming Patek Philippe Auctions

Over the next eight days, we will witness two historic auctions, in Geneva, Switzerland, that will offer for sale the most legendary Patek Philippe watches that our generation is likely to see under one (or two roofs).  On Sunday, November 9, 2014, Christie’s will celebrate the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe with an auction of 100 Patek Philippe watches.  On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, Sotheby’s will hold an auction of “Important Watches”, which will include what is thought by many to be the most important watch of all, the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication watch (shown below).

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I Said: Wanna Have Lunch? He Said: Sure. Wanna Buy a Watch?

One of the special pleasures of this watch collecting hobby is that, every once in a while, we get to actually meet the wonderful people that we chat with all the time, by e-mail, on discussion forums, through Twitter and Facebook, and by telephone.  Over the years, one of my favorite “pen pals” has been Ken Jacobs, the owner of Wanna Buy A Watch, a watch store in Los Angeles.  Based on his selection of watches, I can say that Ken and I have the same eye for watches. Over the years, I have bought several watches from Ken, gotten some good advice from him, and enjoyed all our conversations.  In addition to having a great “eye”, I have always found Ken to have good integrity.  When he describes a watch and answers your questions about it, you will know what you are buying.

Ken sent me a message a few weeks saying that he would be visiting Atlanta, and we decided that we would get together for lunch.  I promised Ken that I would bring a few Heuers for “show and tell”, and he asked whether there were any particular watches that I might like to see, from his store.

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Determining Authenticity -- Vintage Heuer Monacos

Of all the vintage Heuer chronographs that we see, the Monaco Reference 73663 B (three register, manual wind Monaco, with a blue dial) may win the prize for being the model with the highest percentage of fakes, refinished dials, replacement hands and other issues of authenticity.  In some instances, only one element has been replaced, while in others it is difficult to find any genuine Heuer components in the watch.  It is difficult to arrive at a general rule for valuing the samples that have these issues, but it would be fair to suggest that the value of these troubled watches is typically less than one-half the value of an authentic one.

This posting focuses on the Monaco Reference 73663 B, because so many of them are fake and because the information that is useful in authenticating this model (or in spotting a fake) will be useful in evaluating other versions of the Monaco.  Toward the end of this posting, we look at samples of other fake Monacos — a Caliber 12 automatic model and a two-register manual-wind model.  No doubt, however, that the lessons learned on the Reference 73663 B will be useful in examining other models.

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Heuers on the Sea -- 25 Years of Yacht Timers (1959 to 1984)

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Although today’s enthusiasts associate Heuer most closely with motorsports, over the years Heuer developed and marketed a vast array of stopwatches and chronographs for timing all sorts of sports events.  Glancing at Heuer’s 1970 /71 catalog of timers and chronographs, we see timepieces for over 40 sports, ranging from bobsledding to boxing, and from and rodeo to rugby.

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The Definitive History of the Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer Chronograph

It’s Summertime . . . Seafarer Season

The world of vintage watch collecting is marked by relatively few “seasonal” trends, but as surely as the dark skies of winter will turn to the blue of summer, vintage Heuer collectors will observe an increased interest in a certain series of watches. The watch is the Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer, manufactured by Heuer for A & F on a private-label basis from the early 1950s into the 1970s, and also sold under the Heuer “Mareographe” and Orvis “Solunagraph” names. (We will generally refer to all these chronographs as “Seafarers”, as the Abercrombie versions were produced in the highest quantities.)

Three Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarers

With its special dial to show the times of the high and low tides, vivid colors and stout case, the Seafarer is the perfect vintage Heuer chronograph for the beach.

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Discovered: Transitional Version of 1960s Autavia

Our vintage Heuer community has been online for over a decade now.  We have assembled thousands of images, created reference tables covering hundreds of models, and written articles, blogs, books and forum postings covering the most intricate (and obscure) details of the vintage Heuers.  Sometimes, we may convince ourselves that there is little remaining to be learned, in terms of cataloging the models that Heuer produced from the 1950s through the 1980s.  Ironically, this abundance of information makes it all the more exciting when we discover a new version of a favorite watch.

Transitional Autavia -- Dial Detail

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Heuer Timepieces in the Film Le Mans

In the community of vintage Heuer enthusiasts, the story of how Steve McQueen came to wear a Monaco chronograph in the film Le Mans has been told many times.  Indeed,  Jean-Christophe Babin, ex-CEO of TAG Heuer (2001-2013) has proclaimed that “Jack [Heuer’s] greatest achievement is to have succeeded in placing a ‘Monaco’ chronograph on the wrist of Steve McQueen during the shooting of the film Le Mans in 1970”.  Jack Heuer’s narrative of this story, in his recently published autobiography, is the authoritative version of this story.

McQueen Le Mans Banner

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Introducing the Best (Looking) TAG Heuer Carrera Ever

As a vintage watch enthusiast, I will admit that our community can be tough on the companies that produce modern watches, especially when it comes to how today’s brands re-issue some of their legendary watches.  If the brand is too literal in re-issuing one of its classic watches, we say that the company lacked creativity or imagination.  If the new watch strays too far from the original one, we accuse the brand of misusing a legendary name.  As much as members of the vintage community sincerely want to embrace the modern watches offered by our cherished brands, it can be difficult.  Why are registers so close together?  Why can’t we have a 12-hour recorder?  Why is the watch so thick?  Why is the watch so expensive?  Sometimes I wonder whether it is even possible for the old-timers to be genuinely enthusiastic about a modern watch.

TAG Heuer Carrera CH80 -- Four

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The Dirty Dozen – 12 Questions to Ask When You are Buying a Vintage Watch

With this morning’s news that celebrity watch collector John Mayer is suing celebrity watch dealer Bob Maron, for $656,000, in a dispute regarding the authenticity of some vintage Rolex watches, there came the reaction, “That’s why I don’t buy vintage watches.”  While I will not suggest that any simple list of questions could have brought peace and understanding between Mr. Mayer and Mr. Maron, I offer the following 12 areas of inquiry to assist the average purchaser in evaluating a vintage watch that she may wish to purchase.

Questions

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What’s It Worth? Heuer Autavia Sold on Pawn Stars

Pawn Stars is an American “reality” television show that presents events occurring at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Episodes typically feature customers coming into the shop with a rare or collectible item (or perhaps something entirely worthless), and negotiating with the shops owners / employees to sell or pawn the item.  Sometimes, a customer seeks to sell a valuable item, and is pleasantly surprised to discover its real value.  In other instances, the customer believes that he has an item of great value, and is disappointed when the owner suggests that the item is common or even a counterfeit.

Pawn Stars Autavia -- Header

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Vintage Heuer -- The Best of 2013

2013 was a fantastic year for the community that collects vintage Heuer chronographs.  The community had 30 members participate in a Summit in La Chaux-de-Fonds, TAG Heuer celebrated “50 Years of the Carrera”, we saw new books and websites dedicated to the vintage Heuers, and activity on our discussion forums reached an all-time high.

Heuer -- Best 0f 2013
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Spotted: Nick Saban Wears a $95 Fossil Chronograph

As a lifelong Alabama football fan and occasional celebrity watch-spotter, I knew that I would face the question, “What kind of watch does Nick Saban wear?”  A celebrity coach, in nationally-televised games, standing on the sidelines, often in a short-sleeve shirt, with his arms crossed across his chest, wearing a large watch.  Yes, I faced the question several times over the years, but had resisted the urge to find the answer.  Having spent five years tracking Barack Obama’s watch, a few weeks identifying John Glenn’s stopwatch, days studying photos of Mick Jagger’s vintage Heuers, and a few hours examining Bo Derek’s wrist, the last thing I wanted was another celebrity watch to follow — more hours checking photos on the Getty Images and Associated Press websites.

Nick Saban (Alabama) on the Sidelines

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Vintage Heuer Collectors Summit 2013 -- Two Reports

The 2013 version of the Vintage Heuer Collectors Summit took place on September 1 and September 2, 2013, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the home of TAG Heuer. In this posting, we present two reports from the Summit, the first by event organizers Paul Gavin, Ron Henselmans and Abel Court, and the second by our regular contributor, Mark Moss.

Vintage Heuer Collectors Summit 2013 -- Group Photo

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Forum Classic: Five Friends Visit TAG Heuer Headquarters

This is the first in a series of postings in which we will take some of the most interesting postings from the OnTheDash Discussion Forum, and present them here as blog postings.  The following is derived from a posting on our forum on April 20, 2012, reporting on a March 2012 visit to the TAG Heuer headquarters, in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.  You can click on any of the 120 photographs to see a a high resolution version.

We sincerely thank Laurent (“Noodia”) for this fantastic posting and hope that you will enjoy his report.

Jeff Stein
August 13, 2013

Five Friends; Six Heuers

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Longitude -- Coverage of Vintage Heuers on Christie's Watch Blog

Last summer, I became a contributor to “Longitude“, Christie’s blog about watches.  One year later, it’s interesting to compile the postings about vintage Heuers that have appeared on Longitude.  The following provides an overview of these postings, most of which were written by Meehna Goldsmith, the Editor of Longitude, although I am happy to have added a few postings along the way.

Christie’s conducts six major auctions per year, and has also recently opened its “Private Sales” division.  It’s great that Christie’s is paying attention to the vintage Heuers.  Of course, Meehna’s personal passion and respect for the brand also explains the very favorable coverage!!

Here are summaries of nine of the Longitude postings that have focused on the vintage Heuer chronographs.

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Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback Chronograph -- Full Review

Of all the imagery being used to market watches, perhaps none is more overused than motorsports.  Watch brands create special models that will be offered with high performance cars, they plaster their logos on racing venues, cars and drivers, and new watches pay tribute to champions, even long after they have passed away.  The fact that a brand has history in racing is hardly an obstacle at all, as images of legendary races and racers are readily available for licensing.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback with Stopwatches

Against this cluttered landscape of brands claiming a pedigree in motorsports, TAG Heuer stands alone as the brand with the strongest connection to the golden age of motorsports.  Back in the 1960s, racers wore Heuer chronographs, racing teams used Heuer equipment, and races and rallies were timed by Heuers.  Andretti, Rindt, Villeneuve, Siffert, Bell and other racing heroes all wore Heuers, well before the era of paid ambassadors.  Talk to the old-time racers, and they will confirm that the Heuers were the watches that everyone wore. Read more »

Everything Old is New Again -- Inspirations for the New Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback

In a posting just prior to Baselworld 2013, we pondered the question of what the new Carrera Caliber 36 chronographs would look like.  We had some excellent clues, from the “Teaser” image posted by TAG Heuer in the run-up to Basel, and were able to make some good guesses about the appearance and features of these new chronographs.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback Racing -- Detail

Now that TAG Heuer has introduced the the Carrera Calibre 36 at Basel, and released photographs and specifications, we can provide an introduction to these chronographs.  We will begin with a description of the watches, and then explore some Heuer history, to understand the origins of these watches and place them in the context of Heuer’s heritage.

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Watch in the Wild: Bo Derek, Wearing Nothing But a Heuer (and a Smile)

There have been rumors that Bo Derek wore a Heuer dive watch, but now OnTheDash is happy to share the story and the photo.

Of course, we start with the photo, taken on a beach in 1979 and provided by Bo’s father to Jack Heuer, then CEO of Heuer Leonidas.

Bo Derek Wearing Heuer Dive Watch (and a Smile) Read more »

Introducing the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback Chronographs

In yesterday’s posting, we pondered the question of what the new Carrera Caliber 36 chronographs would look like.  We had some excellent clues, from the “Teaser” image posted by TAG Heuer in the run-up to Basel, and were able to make some good guesses about the appearance and features of these new chronographs.

Now that TAG Heuer has released photographs and descriptions of the new Carrera Calibre 36 chronographs, we can provide a quick introduction to these chronographs.  Initially, we will post only a few photos of the new chronographs with brief descriptions, and we will soon add some background and more detailed descriptions to this posting.

Three Versions of the Carrera Calibre 36 “Flyback” Chronograph

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback -- Three Versions

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Arriving in 36 Hours: TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Chronograph

The BaselWorld fair, the biggest annual event in the watch world, opens on Thursday, April 25.  BaselWorld 2013 promises to be especially important for TAG Heuer, as the brand continues its year-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Carrera and introduces new watches that will push the frontiers of “haute horologerie”.

This year’s fair will also mark the last Basel fair for TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, as he will soon depart to become CEO of Bulgari.  Since his arrival at TAG Heuer 13 years ago, Babin has focused on Heuer’s unique heritage in motorsports and its accomplishments in precision timing.  We can expect to see more of both these themes in the watches TAG Heuer will introduce at Basel.

TAG Heuer Calibre 36 Carrera

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Manifesto -- Benefits of Twitter for Watch Enthusiasts

I have been on Twitter for around three years — which probably makes me something of an old-timer in that world — and have also been a strong advocate of Twitter for people who collect watches.   A recent posting on our discussion forum, and the responses to that posting, have left me thinking about the real benefits for watch collectors.  In the spirit of Twitter, I will keep the “bullet items” brief.

Benefits of Twitter for watch collectors and enthusiasts:

  • Find Watches Listed for Sale:  Increasingly, retailers and individual sellers are using Twitter to list watches for sale. Because Twitter is so quick and easy, it may be the very first channel in which a watch is listed. In other words, a retailer prepares a “For Sale” listing on its website, then “Tweets” the listing.   Read more »

Satisfaction -- Mick Jagger is a Heuer Guy!

Watch freaks are . . . well, come to think of it, “freaks” is a pretty good way to describe them.  And surely one of the most bizarre habits of the watch freaks is “watch spotting”.  Watch freaks watch (and re-watch) movies and TV shows, and put their 10X loupes on the weekly issue of People magazine, all in an effort to determine the watches that the actors, actresses, celebrities, athletes and politicians are wearing.

Jagger Autavia Header

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Geneva Scrapbook: Carrera 50th Anniversary Celebration, January 21, 2013

On Monday, January 21, 2013, I attended the opening of TAG Heuer’s “50 Years of Carrera” celebration, in Geneva, and on Tuesday, January 22, I visited TAG Heuer’s Museum, archives and factory, in La Chaux-de-Fonds.  I will cover these two amazing days in two separate “Scrapbook” postings, with this posting covering the Carrera celebration in Geneva and a second posting covering the visit to TAG Heuer’s headquarters.   In addition to these Scrapbook postings, I will also post more detailed write-ups covering specific interviews, watches and experiences.

The Celebration – 50 Years of Carrera

There are two major watch exhibitions each year, January in Geneva and March (or April this year) in Basel.  TAG Heuer chose to launch its “50 Years of Carrera” celebration in Geneva, on January 21.  Hey, if you’re going to have a year-long celebration, better to start in January than in April!

TAG Heuer 50 Years of Carrera Celebration

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Autavia 50th Birthday Scrapbook

Heuer introduced the Autavia chronograph in 1962, as its first 1960s chronograph to feature a model name (“Autavia” being a combination of “AUTomobile” and “AVIAtion”).  The Autavia would be followed by the legendary Carrera in 1963 and Monaco in 1969, as well as numerous new models in the 1970s (Montreal, Silverstone, Daytona, Monza, etc.).  With TAG Heuer not having an Autavia in its current model line, we could not expect that the company would celebrate the 50th Birthday of the Autavia during 2012.  Still, in this era of crowd sourcing, crowd funding, flash mobs, Facebook, Twitter and discussion forums, we realized that the community of vintage Heuer collectors should not let 2012 draw to a close without staging its own 50th Birthday Celebration for the Autavia.
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Watching Twitter -- Recommendations for Watch Enthusiasts

I’m a big fan of Twitter, and believe that it is an especially worthwhile channel for watch collectors.  “Readers” can keep up with news in the watch world and find interesting postings and articles, as soon as they are published.  “Writers” can Tweet when they have published new blog postings, webpages, articles or even messages on discussion forums.  In terms of finding watches to purchase, there are several reliable dealers who post notices whenever they list interesting watches for sale, and we are seeing more watches sell very quickly by means of Twitter.

On a couple of occasions, folks have asked me “Who are the best people to follow on Twitter?”, and there was recently a thread on a leading discussion forum, in which participants listed their favorite people to follow in the world of watches.  Accordingly, I believe that it will be useful to publish a list of “recommended” people to follow on Twitter.

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The Chronomatics -- Rarest of the Vintage Heuers

For vintage watch collectors, the difference between a “grail” watch and an ordinary watch is often a matter of small details. The texture of the paint, the length of a hash mark, the style of the serifs or the aging of the lume can all affect the collectability and value of a vintage watch. The 10x loupe has become standard equipment for examining the rare ones; sometimes, we need the extra power of a microscope, just to be sure. We showed you how little details can make a difference in the Black PVD Heuer Monaco.

It’s not so nuanced, however, for those pursuing the rarest of the vintage Heuer chronographs. There is one word — located at the top dead center of the dial — that evidences the rarest of the rare in the world of vintage Heuers. The word “Chronomatic” alerts the collector that he or she has found the ultimate vintage Heuer chronograph. In this posting, we will consider where the origins of the word “Chronomatic” and provide an overview of the four (or five) models that bear this special designation.

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Four More Photos of Felix (and His Zenith Chronograph)

With Felix Baumgartner’s amazing “Mission to the Edge of Space” having been completed this past Sunday, October 14th, the last few days have been very exciting for those interested in space exploration, daredevils, or chronographs.  There has been an amazing flow of website updates, videos, articles, blog postings, press releases, press conferences, Tweets and all other manner of communication.  Of course, the watch freaks are proud of the fact that Zenith was one of the sponsors of the mission and Baumgartner and his team have been wearing Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th chronographs.  [You can read all about the Zenith Stratos Flyback, in this Hodinkee posting.]

Today, I received some images in a press kit from Zenith, which I want to share with our readers.  As you might imagine, these images do a great job of showing the connection between Felix and his Zenith El Primero chronograph, especially immediately after the landing.  I hope that you will enjoy these photos!  Click on any of them for a high resolution version (1,550 pixels wide).

Felix Baumgartner Landing

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On a Roll -- Vintage Heuers in 2012

On A Roll Header

The community of vintage Heuer enthusiasts is a great place to be right now.  Over the past two years, the community has celebrated Heuer’s  150th anniversary, high profile auctions, the publication of books, blogs and websites, and even the discovery of new models.  Prices for the old Heuers have been strong, even through the depths of the global recession, with vibrant public and private markets.

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Spotted: Bill Clinton Wearing JLC Diving Alarm Navy SEALs

Bill Clinton addressed the Democratic Convention last night, and soon after he started speaking,  I started receiving e-mail messages asking “What’s that watch that Bill Clinton is wearing?”  Clinton has a nice collection of watches, and I am familiar with a few that he has worn over the years (AP, Panerai, etc.), but I had never seen him wearing this watch.

A bit of quick research this morning has confirmed that Clinton was wearing the  Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Alarm Navy SEALs watch.  [Here’s a link to a forum on which this was discussed.]

Photo: Harry E. Walker/MCT via Getty Images

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Heuer Autavia GMT -- Why the Red Needles Were Changed to Black

We sometimes puzzle about the smallest details of the vintage Heuers, from the shape of the serifs to the grain in the “midnight blue” paint.  We often construct theories — or even guess — as to why certain elements were changed, from one execution of a watch to the next.  But every once in a while, we receive some rock-solid information that explains one of these changes.  Shown below is an e-mail message that I received explaining why the little red chronograph needles on one execution of the Autavia Reference 1163 GMT were changed to little black needles.

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Absolutely Everything About the Heuer Autavia Viceroy Chronograph

On August 14, 2012, Hodinkee.com published an article that I authored covering the history of the Heuer / Viceroy Autavia promotion — “How the Number Three Cigarette in America Made Heuer a Household Name“.   This posting will provide links to additional resources and information relating to the Viceroy Autavias.

Galleries of Viceroy Autavias – Our OnTheDash Galleries shows samples of the early Reference 1163 Viceroy Autavia from every angle, as well as the later Reference 11630 Viceroy Autavia.

Autavia 1163V  Heuer Autavia Reference 11630V

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