TAG Heuer Releases a Trio of Autavias to Mark the Line’s 60th AnniversaryBy Suan Futt Yeo
Derived from “automobile” and “aviation”, it’s not far-fetched to say that TAG Heuer’s Autavia collection embodies much of what TAG Heuer is all about. Making its debut as a wristwatch in 1962 (the name was initially used for dashboard/cockpit timers from 1933) the Autavia was designed for daredevils and adventurers who were naturally drawn to the business of speed on land and in the air. These watches had to be reliable, readable, unbreakable: fine ideals by which to build a tool watch brand. The appeal of the Autavia is not only attested to by prices on the vintage watch market, but also the excitement generated within the watch community when then-CEO Jean-Claude Biver revived the Autavia name in 2017 by polling the community on which vintage Autavia chronograph reference to base a re-issue. This was followed two years later in 2019 with the release of vintage-inspired (yet aesthetically modern) three-hand Autavias.
Some action on the Autavia front would be timely now or indeed even a little overdue; one supposes TAG Heuer had been waiting for an auspicious/rounded anniversary number and is releasing three new Autavia models for 2022.
It’s been a while, but the Autavia line now has a chronograph; a flyback chronograph no less, and also a COSC-certified chronometer. This is courtesy of the Calibre Heuer 02 COSC Flyback movement that enables the chronograph to be reset and subsequent timings initiated without having to first stop the chronograph.
While the flyback function makes elegant work of recording a series of timings, casual time measurements can be made through the rotating bezel, which being bi-directional, takes far less effort to use than unidirectional ones.
Two colour ways are offered for the chronograph: with silver dial and panda counters; and another all in black. Both chronograph models have crystal display backs that show off the movement, with the column wheel prominently marked in red.
The third model in the 2022 Autavia line-up is also a COSC-certified chronometer GMT watch; used with its 24-hour bidirectional rotating bezel, the wearer can track up to three time zones without breaking a sweat. It features an attractively engraved solid caseback.
All three watches are cased in 42mm steel that is water resistant to 100 meters and in keeping with current expectations, strap/bracelet are easily interchangeable.
We note that TAG Heuer has chosen to refresh the Autavia line with very useful complications. Well, a chronograph is not often used but the addition of a timing bezel makes less demanding measurements a breeze, thereby raising the everyday utility of the chronograph by a fair bit. Being COSC-certified is also added assurance that whatever extras these watches do – counting seconds to a fraction or tracking varied time zones – they are at the base very accurate timekeepers. Moreover, the tool watch DNA of the Autavia line imparts very important benefits too: as far as we can tell, they look robust enough, and the large Arabic numerals with a good lick of Super-LumiNova makes reading the time easy and fuss-free. We know the particular knurling of the crowns point back to that found on the vintage Autavia timers used in race cars and planes; would collectors consider it sacrilege to have something more discreet? In any case, TAG Heuer looks off to a great start in 2022.
TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary Chronometer Flyback
Movement: Calibre Heuer 02, COSC-certified chronometer, flyback chronograph, 80 hours power reserve
Functions: Minutes, seconds, hour, date, 30-minute and 12-hour counters
Case: 42mm steel, polished case with black counters or black DLC case, ceramic bidirectional rotating bezel, sapphire crystal caseback, water resistant to 100 metres
Strap: Black alligator leather strap
Price: USD 6,300 (silver dial); USD 6,950 (black dial)
TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary GMT 3 Hands
Movement: Self-winding Calibre 7 COSC GMT, 50 hours power reserve
Functions: Minutes, seconds, hour, date, GMT
Case: 42mm steel, ceramic bidirectional rotating bezel, water resistant to 100 metres
Strap: Stainless-steel folding clasp with double safety pushbuttons
Price: USD 4,200