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The Complete History Of The Heuer Autavia

The History Of Heuer Autavia 3


The Heuer Autavia model was first introduced in 1962, at a time when the world was changing rapidly. As the space race captured the imaginations of people all around the world, watchmakers were racing to create watches that could keep up with the demands of the modern world.

The first Autavia was a chronograph designed for use in motorsports, and it quickly became a favourite of drivers and enthusiasts alike. With a rich and colourful history, the Autavia has earned a place among the most iconic chronographs of all time. In this article, we’ll explore the complete history of the Heuer Autavia, from its early beginnings to its modern-day reissue.

DNA of the Autavia

The Autavia was powered by a manual-winding Valjoux movement, and it was available in a variety of configurations, including a GMT model and a version with a full calendar. The watch was also available with a range of different dials, including black, white, and even a “panda” dial, which featured contrasting sub-dials against a white dial.

The Autavia was the first watch to feature a rotating bezel with a tachymeter scale, which allowed drivers to calculate their speed over a measured distance. This feature made the Autavia an indispensable tool for drivers who needed to time their laps accurately.

What does the name mean?

The name Autavia is derived from the combination of two words: “automobile” and “aviation.”

The Golden Age of the Autavia

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Heuer Autavia continued to evolve and improve. In 1963, the Autavia was equipped with a new movement, the Calibre 11, which was one of the first automatic chronograph movements in the world. This new movement made the Autavia more accurate and reliable, and it solidified the watch’s reputation as a top-tier watch.

In 1969, the Autavia was further improved with the addition of a new feature: a date display. This made the watch even more useful for everyday wear, and it helped to cement its status as a true classic.

The Autavia became a favourite with the superstars of the time with actors like Steve McQueen and F1 drivers like Jo Siffert regularly seen wearing the watch. The Autavia became a symbol of style and sophistication, and quickly became highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts around the world.

Jo Siffert wearing Heuer Autavia
Jo Siffert wearing a third generation AutaviaSource

The Decline of the Autavia

By the 1980s, the Autavia’s popularity had begun to decline. Changing trends and new technologies had made the watch seem dated, and it was eventually discontinued in 1986.

However, the Autavia remained a beloved timepiece among collectors, and its reputation continued to grow.

The Reissue of the Autavia – 2003

In 2003, TAG Heuer (who had purchased Heuer in 1985) announced that it would be reissuing the Autavia. The new version was designed to capture the essence of the original, while also incorporating modern materials and technologies.

The Reissue of the Autavia - 2003
2003 Vintage-inspired update to the Autavia in collaboration with Jack Heuer – Source

The new Autavia was a huge success, and it quickly became a favourite among collectors and enthusiasts. The watch was designed to be versatile, with a range of interchangeable straps and a bezel that could be easily removed and replaced. This made the Autavia perfect for anyone who wanted a watch that could adapt to their changing needs.

Heuer Autavia Chronograph 55 Anniversary – 2017

In 2017 and with the input of the brands fans, TAG Heuer releases a faithfully modernized Autavia collection for the watch’s 55th birthday based on a popular vintage model from the 1960s.

This new version featured a larger case, a bold black-and-white colour scheme, and a modern movement that was accurate and reliable. The new Autavia was an instant hit with a generation of fans, and it helped to cement the watch’s status as a true classic.

Heuer Autavia Chronograph 55 Anniversary - 2017

TAG Heuer Autavia ISOGRAPH – 2019

At the now defunct Baselworld, TAG Heuer unveiled the Autavia ISOGRAPH, which takes its inspiration from aviation. The Autavia ISOGRAPH combines retro aesthetics from the 1960s with state-of-the-art watchmaking.

Despite its vintage appearance, the Autavia ISOGRAPH features some really nice specs with its carbon-composite hairspring technology that sets it apart. This innovative material, developed in-house by TAG Heuer, offers improved precision and resistance to temperature variations, magnetic fields, and shocks.

TAG Heuer Autavia ISOGRAPH - 2019

TAG Heuer Black Dial Autavia Flyback Chronograph – 2023

TAG Heuer has introduced a black dial option for its Autavia Flyback Chronograph line. The new variant features a vintage design, a 42mm stainless steel case, a bi-directional rotating bezel, and a sapphire crystal display. It is powered by the Calibre Heuer 02 movement, and has three sub-dials for the chronograph functions, a date window at the 6 o’clock position, and luminescent hour markers and hands. This new option adds a sleek and modern touch to the classic design of the watch, providing customers with a wider range of choices.

TAG Heuer Black Dial Autavia Flyback Chronograph - 2023


Today, the Heuer Autavia remains a beloved timepiece among collectors and enthusiasts alike. It is a watch that has stood the test of time and looking as cool as ever. From its early beginnings as a tool for motosports enthusiasts, to the iconic Chronograph it has become today.

We are fortunate enough to have a Heuer Autavia 2446C Mark 1 Compressor Case Tachymeter from 1969 in stock that you check out via this link here.