. . . and the Orange Boy Makes Five -- TAG Heuer's New Autavias

Writing about watches (or just about anything else) can be frustrating.

In February, I was excited about the four Autavias that TAG Heuer has introduced over the past year, and have two of them in my collection.  I wanted to write a review of all four models, so I borrowed the two that I didn’t own; spent a couple of evenings with my camera; tapped out the first thousand words of a posting; and seemed ready to post the definitive review of these four TAG Heuer Autavias. It was mid-March and I was half-way done with the posting . . . this was smooth sailing, all the way.

It would be a fun posting.  Others have written detailed reviews of these four Autavias, but I was enthusiastic about publishing the first posting to cover all four of them, side-by-side.  And I couldn’t imagine that anyone else had strapped all four models to a box level, suspended them with Magic Arms, put them under 2000 watts of light, and taken the family photo.  Yes, I was excited about this posting.

The first sign of trouble came with the request from a friend at Hodinkee to borrow my vintage “Orange Boy” Autavia for a photo shoot.  Suspicion morphed into alarm when the crew at Hodinkee shared a photo showing the fifth Autavia to be introduced, on May 31, 2018 — the TAG Heuer Autavia for Hodinkee, which we all know will forever be called called the “Orange Boy”.  Just a few minutes ago, Hodinkee officially announced the availability of the new “Orange Boy” Autavia for Hodinkee.

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Ronnie's Carreras -- TAG Heuer Pays Tribute to a Hero

In the Pantheon of Heuer racing gods, we are accustomed to seeing Mario Andretti, Steve McQueen Jochen Rindt and Jo Siffert at the top of the roster. Yes, if there were a Mount Rushmore of the Heuer heroes, we could expect to see these four faces. Indeed, it is fitting that collectors refer to four specific Heuer models, as the “Andretti”, “McQueen”, “Rindt” and “Siffert”.

Lengthen the list and widen the mountain, and Ickx, Lauda, Regazzoni and Villeneuve might be the next racers named by today’s collectors. But to make these lists is to face the problem – what are our criteria for deification? Are we looking for the best drivers? Those who wore the Heuers most often? Those who supported the brand? Or perhaps the most romantic (or tragic) figures?

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Heuer Parade -- An Overview of Phillips' Sale of 42 Vintage Heuer Chronographs

On November 11, 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland, Phillips auction house will offer for sale 42 vintage Heuer chronographs, assembled as “The Crosthwaite & Gavin Collection”.  Almost all these watches span the period from the early 1960s through the mid 1970s, the period when Jack Heuer was at the helm, as the fourth generation leader of the Heuer brand.  A 43rd watch will be included in the sale, Serial Number 1 of a limited edition TAG Heuer being offered on the occasion of Jack Heuer’s 85th birthday, in November 2017.

Phillips is presenting this auction as the “Heuer Parade”, and has produced a magnificent printed catalog with full details and photographs of the watches.  This printed catalog is presented in seven chapters, each of which presents a different aspect of Heuer’s history (for example, motor sports, race timing and military-issued watches).

The following is an overview of the 43 watches included in the “Heuer Parade”.  Click on any of the thumbnails for a high resolution photograph of the watch.

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TAG Heuer 2017 Autavia -- Detailed Look

TAG Heuer introduced its new Autavia in March 2017, at Baselworld, and the watch is now available worldwide through TAG Heuer dealers.  I purchased my new Autavia in May, and have provided my impressions of the watch — through the first eight days on the wrist — in an interview with Stephen Pulvirent, which has been published on Hodinkee.   The posting below offers some  basic information about the new Autavia, as well as some “live” photos from my first month with the watch.


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It's Here -- TAG Heuer Introduces the 2017 Autavia

On March 10, 2016, TAG Heuer announced that it would re-issue the Autavia in 2017, and that it would stage the “Autavia Cup” competition for enthusiasts to select the vintage Autavia that would inspire the new model.  This morning, 377 days after this announcement, TAG Heuer has released the first images of the new Autavia, along with full details about the watch.

The winner of the Autavia Cup, the “Jochen Rindt” Autavia, circa 1966, alongside the new 2017 Autavia. Images sized to scale, with the Rindt being 39 millimeters and the new Autavia being 42 millimeters.

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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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Anatomy of an Invoice -- McQueen's Monacos

There are few associations between a hero and his watch that have the enduring strength of the connection between Steve McQueen and his Heuer Monaco, worn in the film Le Mans. Introduced in 1969 and worn by McQueen in 1970, the “McQueen Monaco” has been re-issued in numerous configurations over the last 20 years.  Pick up a magazine or visit a mall, and we see the images of the “King of Cool”, his Porsche 917, and his racing suit and racing watch.


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An In-Depth Look at the Early Autavias (1962 through 1969)

By Rich Crosthwaite and Jeff Stein

Images by Paul Gavin/heuerworld.com

On March 10, 2016, TAG Heuer announced that it would re-issue the Autavia in 2017, with enthusiasts selecting the model to be re-issued from among 16 choices dated 1962 through 1969.  There is great interest in these “Early Autavias”, and at the request of TAG Heuer we present this detailed look at these models. 

Fifty four years after Heuer introduced the Autavia chronograph, we can put this watch into its proper perspective.  The Autavia was Heuer’s first chronograph to have a model name, as the previous chronographs were identified only by their reference numbers.  The Autavia was Heuer’s first chronograph to incorporate a rotating bezel, a useful tool for measuring elapsed time, for determining speed over a measured distance, or for tracking time in a second time zone.  Perhaps we explain these first two attributes by the third unique aspect of the Autavia – it was the first wristwatch that Jack Heuer, the great grandson of company founder Edouard Heuer, personally created for the company, at age 30.

These 10 Autavias cover the range from the very first models, introduced in 1962, to the first automatic Autavia, introduced in 1969

These 10 Autavias cover the range from the very first models, introduced in 1962, to the first automatic Autavia, introduced in 1969

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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.


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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.


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

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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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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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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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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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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Mark Moss Explores Serial Numbers and Batches of Viceroy Autavias

This post is supplementary to Jeff’s article on the Heuer / Viceroy Autavia promotion, which has been published on the Hodinkee website.  In this post, I use dates and figures from Jeff’s article and attempt to reference those against serial numbers to provide further context.

The First Three Batches of Reference 1163 Autavia Cases.  There are three clear batches of automatic Autavias before we routinely start seeing the characteristics of the watches sold through the Viceroy promotion.

At launch in 1969, ranges are clearly defined for the three launch models (Autavia, Carrera and Monaco). It is worth noting that the allocated ranges also allow for numbers of manual watches in each of the ranges too (2446s in the case of the Autavia, 73353/73453/73653 Carreras and the 73633 Monacos).

The Autavias range from 141xxx through 143xxx, Chronomatic dials only appearing in the 141xxx part of that range. White dials with black registers (aka “Sifferts”) dominate the Chronomatic dials but the  mix between these and black dialled MHs tends to even out as serials get deeper into the range, with dials now marked “Automatic Chronograph”.

Chronomatic Autavia -- SN 141206  Chronomatic Autavia -- SN 141206 (Detail)

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Heuer Monaco, Worn by McQueen -- Part Two

As described in our first posting covering the McQueen-worn Monacos, I am aware of four Heuer Monacos said to have been “worn by McQueen” during the production of the movie Le Mans, as follows:

  1. worn by McQueen during the filming of the movie, Le Mans; sold by the property master in the early 2000s; now in the TAG Heuer Museum, in Switzerland.
  2. worn by McQueen during the still photography / promotional shots for Le Mans; sold by the property master in the early 2000s; has been in the hands of four different collectors since then; to be auctioned July 31, 2012.
  3. worn by McQueen while at Le Mans and then given by McQueen to his management consultant, Bill Maher, as a gift; sold at an Antiqourum auction in June 2009, and now in private hands.
  4. worn by McQueen . . . further details not known, at least for the moment.

We started this series of postings with “Part Three” — the third Monaco listed above, the one given as a gift by Steve McQueen to his business consultant, and sold at auction in June 2009.  Today, we publish “Part Two” of the series — the second Monaco listed above, the one worn by McQueen during the still photography / promotional shots for the movie Le Mans.

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Heuer Monaco, Worn by McQueen -- Part Three

I am aware of four Heuer Monacos said to have been “worn by McQueen”, as follows:

  1. worn by McQueen during the filming of the movie, Le Mans; sold by the property master in the early 2000s; now in the TAG Heuer Museum, in Switzerland.
  2. worn by McQueen during the still photography / promotional shots for Le Mans; sold by the property master in the early 2000s; has been in the hands of four different collectors since then; to be auctioned July 31, 2012.
  3. worn by McQueen while at Le Mans and then given by McQueen to his management consultant, Bill Maher, as a gift; sold at an Antiqourum auction in June 2009, and now in private hands.
  4. worn by McQueen . . . further details not known, at least for the moment.

The story of the “worn-by-McQueen” Monacos is mysterious, with conflicting versions of the facts and as many twists and turns as the Le Mans circuit.  Thus it is fitting that we start this series of postings with “Part Three” — the third Monaco listed above, the one given as a gift by Steve McQueen to his business consultant, and sold at auction in June 2009.

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Detailed Review: Autavia 2446C GMTs (and Standard 2446Cs)

Heuer made two executions of its Autavia Reference 2446C (compressor) snap-back case and although these cases may — at a glance — appear to be identical, upon closer inspection we see that they are very different in their construction.  The differences between seemingly similar watches become even more numerous when the Autavia 2446C case houses the Autavia GMT chronograph, as Heuer used multiple varieties of dials and hands on the GMTs.

This posting is derived from a discussion forum posting by Paul Gavin, in which he shows us the 10 differences between two of these Autavia 2446C GMT chronographs.  Huge thanks to Paul for this discussion forum posting, as well as his assistance in preserving it in the form of this blog posting.

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Mark Moss Articles -- History of Heuer

Our friend, Mark Moss has been writing a “History of Heuer”, which is being published on Calibre11.com. This page will provide a series of links to the installments of Mark’s articles.

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Field Guide to the Heuer Autavia, Reference 1163 (Black Dial)

Yesterday, on the TZ-UK Watch Talk discussion forum, I posted a photo showing four versions of the Heuer Autavia, Reference 1163, each with a black dial.  A reader of that forum (under the name “even neve”) posted a message, stating, “Very nice – but don’t see the point in having four watches looking all the same. Maybe you could mod some of them ?”  Well, that would be an interesting idea . . . “modding” (modifying) a vintage Autavia.  Two of the watches have the same polished steel hands, so perhaps I would replace one set with some bright orange or red hands?  Three of them have the same black Minutes / Hours (MH) bezel, so perhaps I could find a more colorful bezel for one of them, perhaps something in the “Pepsi” colors?  Four stainless steel cases?  Maybe one of them would look nice in black PVD. 

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Viceroy Advertisements from 1972, Including the Autavia Promotion

In 1972, the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company ran a promotion through which customers could purchase a Heuer Autavia chronograph for $88, with proof of purchase of a carton of Viceroy cigarettes (which consisted of 1o packs).  At that time, Autavia chronographs were being sold for $200, through the normal dealer channel.

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Heuer's Innovation -- The Rotating Tachymeter Bezel for Race Timing

Two popular versions of the Heuer Autavia from the 1970s, the Reference 1163T (known as the “Siffert” model) and the Reference 1163V (known as the “Viceroy” model), are distinctive among vintage chronographs in having rotating tachymeter bezels.  So it came as no surprise when one of our readers asked about the “functional benefit” of having a rotating tachymeter bezel on a chronograph.   He asked, “ . . . would one ever rotate the Tachy bezel?”  A simple question . . . exactly seven words.

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