Back by popular demand - 1966 "Rindt" Heuer Autavia
No other manufacturer in watch-making history can match TAG-Heuer/Heuer's long love history with motorsports. The brand's dedication to motor racing has never faded. Some were making watches for divers, others were building watches for pilots, meanwhile Heuer was busy with pit lanes and racetracks and racers. A few years ago, TAG-Heuer decided to bring back one of its most iconic watches: the Autavia.
here's the original Autavia next to the 2017 Autavia. Can you tell which one is which?
Heuer was founded in St-Imier, Switzerland in 1860 and, in 1985, the brand was acquired by TAG Group, thus becoming TAG-Heuer. Heuer became one of the first manufacturers to sponsor races and to gift race winners and top qualifiers with wristwatches. If you look at photographs taken anywhere near a racetrack in the 60s and 70s, during the golden era of motorsports, chances are you're going to see watches made by Heuer worn by racing drivers. The Heuer Monaco 1133, as worn by Steve McQueen in its 1971 film 'Le Mans', is possibly the most iconic car+watch combination ever. Steve McQueen was an actor, but he was also a racing driver, having taken part in the British Touring Car Championship and the 12 Hours of Sebring, among other things. However, there's another watch that's even more relevant: the Autavia.
In 1933, Heuer designed the first dash counter for racing cars and aircraft, the Autavia (AUTmobile + AVIAtion) chronograph. The actually wristwatch was created in 1962 with an innovative rotating bezel. Over the years Jo Siffert, Mario Andretti, Jochen Rindt, Clay Regazzoni, Gilles Villeneuve, Jacky Ickx, Emerson Fittipaldi, Graham Hill, and even Steve McQueen all wore one.
In 2016, Heuer decided to build a modern reboot of the Autavia and the Swiss brand launched an online public vote to decided which Autavia should provide the inspiration for this revival. In the end, the 1966 Ref 2446 Mk3, as worn by Australia F1 driver Jochen Rindt, got the most votes. For the occasion, TAG-Heuer decided to drop the "TAG" in the name, so this is actually called the "Heuer Autavia".
The 2017 Autavia features modern adaptions of all the elements you'd find in the original model. There's a 3-counter "panda" dial, with a 3-6-9 layout, and a 12-hour rotatable bezel. The new case is marginally larger than the original case, measuring 42mm instead of 39mm.
The 2017 Autavia is an automatic chronograph, "powered" by a Calibre Heuer 02 with an 80-hour power reserve. When it came out, it was available with both stainless steel or black or brown leather strap. The price was 4,800 Swiss Franc (around $4,900 today) for the leather strap.