At Baselworld, TAG Heuer took advantage of the absence of several high profile brands from this years exhibition to make a splash with the relaunch of the iconic Autavia as a new stand-alone collection, cementing its commitment to monetize the brand’s cool heritage. While TAG Heuer has reissued certain heritage pieces in the past, including Autavia and Monaco models, the positioning of this as a proper collection indicates that they plan to scale up such offerings in the months to come.
The TAG Heuer Autavia is now its own stand-alone collection for 2019 (Image: TAG Heuer).
Vintage Inspiration and Modern Technology
In fact, the new Autavia pieces are hybrids of old and new horology, with overall aesthetics designed to evoke the “versatility, ruggedness, and reliability” of the original Autavia wristwatches produced in the 1960s, while making use of TAG’s cutting-edge carbon-composite hairspring technology, in an effort to “appeal to a new generation of adventurers.”
The very first Autavias made from 1933 to 1957, were in fact dashboard instruments used in racing cars and aircraft, and the name was a combination of Automobile and Aviation. After production of the Autavia dashboard timer stopped, Jack Heuer decided to use the name for a new racing-inspired chronograph launched in 1962, and one of watchmaking’s most enduring icons was born.
The Autavia also became popular with various armed forces around the world before meeting an “untimely” end of production in 1985. The newly reintroduced Autavia collection is launching with seven retro-styled references sized at 42mm and ranging in price from $3,500 to $4,300. This includes five references in stainless steel and two references in bronze (with titanium casebacks), which has been enjoying something of a revival lately.
The new watches in the Autavia collection draw aesthetic inspiration from the Autavia’s aviation heritage, rather than its automobile racing pedigree (Image: TAG Heuer).
The New TAG Heuer Autavia Collection
The steel models come in the following combos: blue dial and blue ceramic bezel with a brown leather strap ($3,600); black dial and black ceramic bezel bezel with a brown leather strap ($3,600); grey dial and stainless steel bezel with a brown leather strap ($3,500); blue dial and blue ceramic bezel with a stainless-steel bracelet and a NATO strap ($3,950); and black dial and black ceramic bezel with a stainless-steel bracelet and NATO strap ($3,950).
The bronze models meanwhile come as ether a brown dial and brown ceramic bezel on a brown calfskin strap ($4,300) or a green dial and black ceramic bezel on a khaki calfskin strap ($4,300). Each features the rounded first-generation Autavia case and bevelled lugs from the 1960s, as well as oversized winding crowns. However, the general aesthetic inspiration comes from pilot’s watches, which differentiates them from the racier ‘60S Autavia watches. Additionally, the NATO straps, leather straps, and stainless-steel bracelets are also sold separately.
TAG Heuer’s new carbon-composite hairsprings are lightweight, low-density, and virtually unaffected by gravity, shocks, and magnetism (Image: TAG Heuer).
Powering the new collection is TAG’s chronometer-certified Calibre 5 featuring the cutting-edge, carbon-composite hairspring that the watchmaker first introduced earlier this year. The combination of the caliber and the carbon-composite hairspring “gives every model in this collection Isograph distinction,” TAG notes; the trademarked name comes from the Greek word iso, “which means ‘equal,’ and refers to the stable and consistent movement of the component.” Key benefits “include the fact that the lightweight, low-density hairspring is virtually unaffected by gravity and shock and is completely antimagnetic,” TAG declares, also noting that it is the exclusive manufacturer of these hairsprings, designed and produced in its in-house laboratory in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The various different straps and bracelets for the new Autavia collection are also all available separately (Image: TAG Heuer).