THE PAST IN THE PRESENT
A feature of Formula 1 racing since the 1960s, the Autavia model by TAG Heuer has been reborn 55 years after the original watch, but equipped with contemporary aesthetic and mechanical codes
In 1933 Heuer produced its first Autavia chronograph, used as an on-board counter in car races. Its name comes from the contraction of “automobile” and “aviation”. It reappeared 30 years later when Jack Heuer created the first Autovia chronograph wrist watch in 1962. Much appreciated by racing drivers, especially by the German-Austrian F1 driver Jochen Rindt (1942-1970), whose last name was given to the watch as a nickname, the Autavia timepiece has been brought to life for a second time this year.
In 2016, TAG Heuer organised a kind of online contest during which 50 000 participants were asked to choose which watch to recreate from among 16 Autavia models. And it was the Autavia “Rindt” from 1966 that won the vote. But although it has kept some of its more striking signs, such as the revolving bezel and the white counters, other elements make it different to the fifty-year-old version, especially the size of the model and the mechanism inside it.
The steel case of the Autovia has gone from 39mm in diameter to 42. It is topped by a notched and revolving bezel, including a black aluminium ring inscribed with a 12-hour scale. The watch is waterproof down to 100m, and the case back is fitted with a sapphire glass window partially unveiling its mechanism. This an automatic mechanical movement made by TAG Heuer, the calibre Heuer-02, which provides the various hour, calendar and chronograph functions while supplying a big power reserve of 80 hours.
On the black dial, with its white second markers, the applied metal indices have been highlighted with a luminous beige coating. The hour markers are crossed by two stick-type hands showing the hours and minutes. The seconds are set apart, in one of three white and blue counters, brought together with the date at 6 o’clock. The chronograph, meanwhile, is shared out between the seconds at the centre, the minutes at 3 o’clock and the hours at 9 o’clock.
Price: 4 800 CHF (leather strap) – 4 950 (steel strap) www.tagheuer.com
By Sharmila Bertin