Today is Jack Heuer’s 85th birthday, and the watch company his family founded in 1860 has invited you to help celebrate. One way to join the party is to wear one of the limited edition Autavia watches TAG Heuer just launched to celebrate Mr. Heuer’s birthday. The honor is fitting in many ways. Not only is Mr. Heuer a fourth-generation member of the firm’s founding family (and currently TAG Heuer’s Honorary President), he designed the original Autavia wristwatch in 1962.
TAG Heuer, with Jack Heuer’s input, has tweaked his original Autavia design for today’s market demands. Fortunately the new design, a re-issue limited to 1,932 pieces to reference Mr. Heuer’s birth year, retains the watch’s original racing spirit.
The new Autavia is slightly larger than the original, measuring 42mm in diameter (compared to 39mm), and offers a 12-hour graduated bezel and a new Heuer-02 caliber proprietary chronograph movement with automatic winding. The caliber offers a long power reserve of 80 hours, a date at 6 o'clock and water resistance to 100 meters. In black aluminum, the bidirectional notched bezel—a defining feature of the original Autavia (it was Heuer’s first rotating bezel on a wrist chronograph) – here encircles a silver dial with three black snailed counters.
To retain a vintage feel, TAG Heuer has coated the new Autavia’s hands and applique indexes with beige Super-LumiNova. In addition, the watch’s vintage ‘mushroom’ style pushers, ridged crown, Heuer logo and a so-called "grains of rice" steel bracelet have been employed for a similar nod to the 1960s Heuer Autavias. Even the minute track is retro as it features subdivisions using "1/3-2/3" ergonomic rule of the era created by Jack Heuer to enhance legibility and accuracy.
TAG Heuer explains that in 1933, Heuer designed the original Autavia chronograph as a dashboard counter for racing cars and aircraft. The name was a contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion. In 1962, Jack Heuer, the fourth generation head of the company, re-activated the name as he created his first wrist sports chronograph, adding the aforementioned rotating bezel. TAG Heuer most recently reissued the Autavia at Baselworld this year with a specific historic design chosen via an online contest. See our On The Wrist review here.
This latest chapter in the Autavia story is as compelling as the original. With limited production and a case back engraving proclaiming “Jack Heuer 85th Birthday Edition,” customers will likely be racing to get this special Autavia onto their wrists very quickly.
Specifications: Jack Heuer 85th Birthday Edition Autavia
Reference: CBE 2111.BA0687, limited edition of 1,932
Movement: Heuer 02 Manufacture - automatic chronograph with date, and 80-hour power reserve
Case: 42mm polished steel with polished steel horns (2 facets), notched black aluminum bezel with hour gradations, bidirectional rotation, sapphire crystal with double anti-reflection coating and fluted steel crown, polished steel ‘mushroom’ push buttons, caseback with special engraving, water-resistant to 100 meters.
Dial: Silver sunray, date, 3 black snailed counters:
- Chronograph minute counter at 3 o'clock
- Chronograph hour counter at 9 o'clock
- Small second counter at 6 o'clock
Rhodium-plated applique indexes with polished and satin-finished top, white SuperLuminova highlights, rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with white SuperLuminova, rhodium-plated chronograph seconds hand, "Heuer" logo and "AUTAVIA" inscription at 12 o'clock, "HEUER-02" inscription at 6 o'clock
Bracelet: seven-row bracelet in polished steel and polished ardillon buckle with Heuer logo