The result of the “Autavia Cup”, which enabled the brand's fans to vote for the model they'd most like to see series-produced, this watch accurately reflects the motor sports universe so dear to Jack Heuer. The steel bracelet adopts the codes of the original version, yet sports a highly ergonomic contemporary design. Undeniably a TAG, but also very much a Heuer, costing less than CHF 5,000.-.
Rounding out the year of the Autavia with the new Jack Heuer Limited Edition
In celebration of the 85th birthday of the brand’s Honorary President, the La Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaker has released the new Jack Heuer Limited Edition
By Josh Shanks
Managing Editor US
At this year’s Baselworld fair, TAG Heuer released a reissue of the classic Autavia chronograph. The watch was the result of a month’s long “Autavia Cup” contest where collectors voted online to choose a favorite vintage HEUER for reissue. TAG Heuer ultimately went with the “Autavia Rindt” edition (pictured). Today, in celebration of Jack Heuer’s 85th birthday, the brand has released the Jack Heuer limited edition. Designed by Mr. Heuer himself.
The Jack Heuer LE takes design cues from the recently released counterpart. The most notable exception is the silver starburst dial with black sub-dials. This is a near reverse of the black dial with white counters. You’ll noticed the silver starburst dial creates an iconic “Panda” effect. The watch is limited to 1932 pieces, in reference to Jack Heuer’s year of birth.
The Story of the Autavia
The history of the Autavia - a contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion - wristwatch started in 1958 when Jack Heuer himself, being a co-pilot during a rally, had his team lose its first position after misreading the dial of the Heuer Autavia dashboard stopwatch. As a direct consequence, he introduced in 1962 the Heuer Autavia wristwatch after discontinuing the Autavia dashboard stopwatch who had been replaced by its improved version named the Monte Carlo. One specific feature of this chronograph was its rotating bezel allowing to set a marker for a defined interval of less than one hour.
" The story of the Autavia is a rich drama, full of twists and turns. It is one of my proudest achievements to have successfully converted chronographs into the Autavia wristwatch in 1962, so this collection has a special place in my heart: It was the very first timepiece that I designed, and today I am proud to present the last watch that I have created! "
Hidden behind a solid case back with special engraving, you’ll find the brand’s Heuer-02 automatic chronograph movement. The calibre boasts a power reserve of 80 hours. Rhodium-plated hands and indices are outfitted with SuperLuminova which reacts brilliantly to sunlight and features a long burn of luminescence well after the initial burst. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters.
Most notable on this piece is the dial, finished in what TAG Heuer calls “Silver Sunray” pattern. You’ll likely notice this effect resembles what other brands may call a “starburst” dial. The three snailed counters keep accurate track of the Hour, Minute, and Second displays. At 6 o’clock you’ll find a “HEUER-02” inscription which is just about the only other noticeable change from the original dial.
It’s worth noting that these pieces are not carbon copy clones of the original Autavia models. The watch may take design cues from the original, but the case (at 42mm) is noticeably larger with a thickness of 15.6mm. In comparison to the original’s 40.5mm thinner case. Both Autavia’s came on the brand’s “beads of rice bracelet” and for the most part the bracelet remained untouched. The modern Autavia’s case size will remain a hot button topic for years to come. I’m middle of the road on the issue, I can understand why TAG made the move to accommodate the HEUER 02 caliber. In comparison to the original’s Valjoux 72, the 02 movement is far more advanced.
We now have Autavia reissue pieces (black dial with white registers (Autavia), and silver starburst with black registers (Jack Heuer Limited Edition)). Limited to 1932 pieces, the Jack Heuer Limited Edition will be available in stores shortly. Stay tuned to Phillips Nov 11th Geneva auction for the sale of the 1st Jack Heuer Limited Edition piece.
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