AN INTRODUCTION TO THE EARLY AUTAVIAS: 1962 TO 1969 BY JEFF STEIN
On March 10, 2015, TAG Heuer launched the Autavia Cup, a unique event to allow brand enthusiasts to select the historic Autavia model that will be re-issued in 2017. Interest in the Autavia Cup was been exceptionally strong, with thousands of enthusiasts casting their votes in the [three] rounds of the competition.
To provide today’s enthusiasts with comprehensive information about the Autavia chronographs that were included in the Autavia Cup competition, TAG Heuer commissioned vintage Heuer experts Rich Crosthwaite and Jeff Stein to provide an in-depth description of the Autavias produced by Heuer from 1962 to 1969. Rich and Jeff published a detailed posting that covers approximately 25 models and executions produced by Heuer over this period. To provide today’s enthusiasts with a brief introduction to these models, we provide this overview.
Before turning to the watches themselves, we will put the Autavia into its historic perspective. The Autavia marked three “firsts” for Heuer. First, the Autavia was Heuer’s first chronograph to have a model name, as the previous chronographs were identified only by their reference numbers. Second, the Autavia was Heuer’s first chronograph to incorporate a rotating bezel, with this bezel providing a useful tool for the racer or pilot and also dramatically increasing the size of the Autavia, compared with Heuer’s earlier chronographs. Finally, the Autavia was the first wristwatch that Jack Heuer, at age 30, created for the company, as he designed the Autavia to meet the specific needs of the racers. These factors, combined with the beautiful style and solid construction of the Autavia, resulted in this new chronograph becoming the watch of choice for the racers, navigators and pilots, throughout the 1960s, continuing with over 80 models produced through the mid-1980s.