It has been said that the key pieces in any watch wardrobe should be a fancy statement watch for formal occasions, a classic everyday timepiece for work, and something sporty for weekends.
But if you want to pare that collection down by a third, consider the TAG Heuer Autavia Jack Heuer 85th Birthday Edition. Based on the classic chronograph made legendary by race car drivers in the 1960s, the relaxed dress codes of the 2010s make wearing this polished steel timepiece equally acceptable on the racetrack as well as the office (or anywhere, really).
As for making a statement, the Autavia has quite the backstory. The original Autavia was introduced as a dashboard counter for cars and planes in 1933, (the name is a contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion). Heuer, the fourth generation to lead the family watchmaking business, was also a bit of an adventurer. In 1958, after missing out on a victory in a Swiss rally, he developed a wrist sports chronograph with an innovative rotating bezel and reclaimed the name Autavia.
While the range was discontinued in 1986, it remained a cult hit amongst collectors. In 2016, in response to requests from consumers for versions of the classic chronograph, TAG Heuer held an online competition to see which model they should reissue. Over 50,000 fans voted for the Autavia Rindt—made famous by Formula One driver Jochen Rindt—which the watchmakers relaunched earlier this year.
The demand for the reissued Rindt led TAG Heuer to create another new Autavia for 2017, this one remixed by the originator of the Autavia wrist watch, Jack Heuer. In honor of the brand’s honorary president on his 85th birthday, they created the TAG Heuer Limited Edition Autavia Jack Heuer.
What makes this chronograph so desirable is its timeless design. We’ll call the Autavia Jack Heuer a remix as opposed to a reissue because it features a few notable aesthetic upgrades. While it has the same refined, 42-mm polished steel case as the Rindt, it has opted for a more eye-popping look with a panda dial and hands and markers painted with easy-to-read Super-LumiNova. And the bezel features both minutes and 12-hour markings as well as an elapsed time scale. All of this makes for a graphic but legible, well balanced dial.
The black aluminum, bidirectional notched bezel is also handsome and hard wearing as is the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with double anti-reflection coating, and the seven-row, polished steel bracelet with the Heuer logo.
The biggest part of Jack Heuer’s legacy is the ability to adapt and evolve in the watch industry. Not only is the Autavia Jack Heuer easy to read and use, its functions are focused on modern needs. The watch is driven by the Heuer-02 calibre self-winding chronograph movement, with a power reserve of 80 hours, date at 6 o'clock, water resistance to 100 meters.
While the watch won’t hit stores until late November, it's already making a buzz on the collectors' circuit. Autavia Jack Heuer is limited to only 1,932 pieces to commemorate the year of Heuer’s birth. Each watch will be engraved with a serial number (number 1/1932 will be part of the exceptional timepieces at the auction “Heuer Parade” organized by Phillips on Nov. 11 in Geneva).
The remaining TAG Heuer Autavia Jack Heuer 85th Birthday Editions are priced at $5,900 and will be available in late November at tagheuer.com