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Baselworld 2017: Tag Heuer reveals the Autavia

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 30 March 2017
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Perhaps you’ve noticed that this year’s Baselworld 2017 is glowing with vintage love. Between Omega and its Trilogy, Seiko and its divers, etc. the trend has been confirmed…clearly. Tag Heuer has also hopped on the bandwagon. Let’s think back to 2016 when Tag brought the 1976 Monza back to life. This year, Tag Heuer has prepared a nice reinterpretation of the one we don’t present anymore: the Autavia.

Baselworld 2017: The New Tag Heuer Autavia

It’s baaaaak. After making an apparition at the beginning of the 1960’s in the wake of famous “Stopwatch” chronographs, such as Autavia and Autorallye, integrating the dashboard. A must-have for racing drivers at that time. As a matter of fact, “Autavia” is the contraction of Automobile and Aviation. Now you know…

Baselworld 2017 - Tag Heuer Autavia dial

At first glance, a nice echo of the original model. First of all, three spacious white subdials: chronograph 30-minute totalizer at 3 o’clock, chronograph 12-hour counter at 9, and small seconds counter at 6.

Sight nuance however: the small seconds counter was originally at 9 o’clock and the 12-hour counter at 6. For us aficionados of vintage chronographs, the small seconds counter at 9 o’clock has its virtues…

For the rest, pencil-shaped hands, applied markers, white chronograph hand… the watch is a loyal follower of a certain reference 2446H. The “H” making reference to a bezel that’s graduated in hours.

The main difference, unfortunately, lies in the diameter. From 39mm, today’s dial passes to 42mm. It’s the only thing I found disappointing on this otherwise beautiful piece. Tag could have followed the original chronograph even more closely, like Omega who hit that one right out of the park.

The beating heart inside this historic piece is a caliber Heuer 02 movement boasting an 80-hour power reserve, all the while remaining a chronograph self-winding movement developed in-house.

For those who know to appreciate its finesse, the chronograph is equipped with a column wheel mechanism. Very nice surprise. The movement allows a date display at 6 o’clock. We like it…we don’t like it, at this point is about personal taste.

As for the bracelet, you have the choice between a bracelet in brown calfskin or a rice-grain type polished steel bracelet.

Interesting fact to enrich our Autavia culture, and watchmaking knowledge in general: these rice-grain type bracelets on certain Autavia watches from the period were produced by Gay Frères. It’s no surprise that we have a preference for this bracelet that fits so marvelously well under a suit sleeve.

Price: 4,800 CHF

Baselworld 2017 - Tag Heuer Autavia

Our take

You won’t find any reactionary ideas here, we are fans of innovations in the watch industry. But innovations can be discreet, as the movement inside this watch has proven to us. In my humble opinion, it would’ve been perfect if a case size less than 40mm was opted, and even 38mm… no one said we couldn’t dream.

Because beyond proportions, this Tag Heuer is more than interesting. On the one hand, this confirms an abundance of vintage ressources that Tag has to be able to take us on a journey through time. On the other hand, the movement is of the utmost quality, technically and aesthetically speaking. And shall we not forget the alluring dial that particularly moves us. We cannot but succumb to its charm.