Green Flag -- A Preview of TAG Heuer's Newest Racing Autavia

Three days from now, on March 23, 2017, TAG Heuer will introduce its new Autavia, at the Baselworld show. Today, we provide the essential background information to introduce the newest member of the TAG Heuer family. While we are confident that the new Autavia will stand on its own, it may look even better to those who appreciate the watch’s rich history.

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Jean-Claude Biver Introduces the New Autavia (and the Past and Future of TAG Heuer)

On September 11 through 13, 2016, TAG Heuer hosted its first Collectors Summit of the Jean-Claude Biver era, at company headquarters in Switzerland. To open the Summit, Mr. Biver (CEO of TAG Heuer and President of the LVMH Watch Division) welcomed the Summit participants at the Hotel Palafitte, in Nauchatel.  The following day, Summit participants would be the first to see TAG Heuer’s new Autavia and, to open the Summit, Mr. Biver provided his introduction to the watch.

More than introducing the new Autavia, Mr. Biver’s remarks describe how TAG Heuer will use its unique portfolio of historic chronographs to inspire the development of new watches for the brand. His remarks introduce the new Autavia, but more importantly they introduce a new era for the TAG Heuer brand.

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About OnTheDash

About OnTheDash

Online since 2003, OnTheDash is the most comprehensive source of information about vintage Heuer chronographs, dashboard timers and other timepieces.  OnTheDash presents images of over 500 different models and executions of vintage Heuer chronographs, and scans of over 60 original Heuer catalogs covering the period 1935 through 1985. OnTheDash also includes registries of some of the rarest Heuer models, reference tables providing detailed information about the various chronographs, and blog postings about vintage Heuers and other timepieces. Here, you can see some of the “Best of OnTheDash“.

In addition to serving as a reference for vintage Heuer timepieces, OnTheDash serves as the hub for a vibrant community of collectors. Our vintage Heuer discussion forum currently has over 80,000 postings, with these fully-searchable postings providing information about watches and events of interest to collectors. Our discussion forum also provides a social experience for participants, as collectors share their watches, information and life experiences. Our ChronoTrader forum provides a platform for collectors to buy / sell / trade / seek interesting watches and chronographs, with no fees to buyers or sellers.

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The Match-by-Match Guide to the Autavia Cup -- Round One

Today, TAG Heuer has launched the Autavia Cup competition, a month-long event in which enthusiasts will cast votes to determine which Autavia the company will re-issue in 2017.  The competition consists of a series of head-to-head, knock-out matches, in which each winning model will advance to the next round of the competition. Sixteen Autavias are included in the competition, 12 of them being historic models produced by Heuer in the 1960s and 4 of them being newly-created, as Fantasy Autavias, for purposes of the Autavia Cup. After enthusiasts have narrowed the field to four Autavias, TAG Heuer will select the model to the re-issued.  Visit the Autavia Cup website to cast your vote!

This posting will serve as a Guide to the Autavia Cup, highlighting the key features of each of the 16 competing models.  Click on the [High Res] link at the end of each description to see high resolution photos of each of the models.  For comprehensive information about the Autavias from the 1960s (and the 1970s and 80s, as well), you will want to see the book, Heuer Autavia Chronographs 1962-85, by Richard Crosthwaite and Paul Gavin.  Paul supplied the photos for the Autavia Cup competition and also created the four “Fantasy” models. You can order the book HERE.

AutCupMatchImage16Mar17

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The Enthusiast's Guide to the Autavia Cup

On Thursday, March 10, 2016, TAG Heuer announced that the brand would launch a social media based contest, to allow enthusiasts, collectors and customers to select the model of 1960s Autavia chronograph that TAG Heuer will re-issue in 2017. This contest, called the “Autavia Cup”, will commence on March 17, at Baselworld, with the winning watch to be announced in April 2016.

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This posting will provide a Guide to the Autavia Cup competition, pulling together anything and everything enthusiasts will need to follow the action, and — more importantly — to cast their vote to determine the next Autavia to be offered by TAG Heuer.

The 16 Autavias Competing in the Autavia Cup

Click on the image below to have a closer look at the 16 Autavias that will compete in the Autavia Cup.  The top 12 are “real” models that Heuer produced in the 1960s and the four on the bottom row are “Fantasy” models produced by collector Paul Gavin, operator of HeuerWorld.

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Registry of Early Autavias

The Autavia Chronograph

Heuer introduced the “Autavia” dashboard timer in 1933, with this 12-hour stopwatch designed to be mounted on the dashboard / panel of an automobile or airplane (thus the name is derived from the words “AUTomobile” and “AVIAtion”). Heuer introduced the Autavia chronograph in 1962, making it the first Heuer chronograph to have a model name on the dial; the “Carrera” was introduced one year later.

The Autavia chronograph made its first appearance in a 1962 brochure of chronographs. In this brochure, Heuer proudly declared that the “most useful feature of the new Autavia is the outside turning bezel with either a 60 minute or 12 hour division”. Indeed, the Autavia was the first Heuer chronograph with a rotating bezel, a feature that defined the Autavia throughout its production life, into the 1980s.

The First Execution of the Autavia — Key Elements

The first execution of the Autavia chronograph is defined by (a) a screw-back case, (b) larger registers than subsequent executions of the Autavia, and (c) dauphine hands. Collectors sometimes refer to these first executions of the Autavias as the “Big Register” Autavia.

First execution Reference 3646 and 2446 Autavias

First execution of Reference 3646 (two-register) and Reference 2446 (three-register) Autavia chronographs, circa 1962

 

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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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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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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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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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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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