Last spring, TAG Heuer announced an unexpected competition. As many famous Swiss watchmakers have found success by “reintroducing” classic designs in their modern lineup (we’re looking at you, Tudor), TAG Heuer decided to let the public play a role by announcing the “Autavia Cup,” a competition in which fans were able to vote on the design of a historic Autavia reissue to be released in 2017.
This not only allowed fans of vintage Heuer to look forward in anticipation of an upcoming release (and one that will likely be more obtainable than the vintage Heuers of their desires, as historical Heuers have lit the vintage world on fire in the past few years), but also allowed fans to truly impact the final design of an upcoming release, a rare instance in the tight-lipped world of Swiss horology.
The voting competition began on a special website at the start of Baselworld 2016, and offered fans 16(!) different versions of the Autavia. Some versions were faithful reproductions of actual watches made in the late-to-mid 1960’s, others were complete fantasy with tweaked panda designs.
In the end, the fans chose the Autavia 2446 Mark 3, a design from 1966 known as the “Rindt” Autavia after Austrian Formula One world champion Jochen Rindt. The Mark 3 Autavia features a second execution case with a narrower bezel, applied steel markers with luminous dots at their tips, and polished steel lume hands.
That said, the Autavia TAG Heuer will release next year will not be an exact replica of the original Mark 3. TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver did not want to compromise the integrity of the original by making a carbon copy. Furthermore, as TAG Heuer no longer makes manual chronographs, reproducing the original movement would have made the watch prohibitively expense. Instead, they increased the case size to 42mm (the original was 38mm) and added a newly designed automatic movement, the Heuer-03 calbre. The new design also features a date window in the bottom subdial, which may rankle some vintage connoisseurs, but makes the watch imminently more sellable.
Earlier this month, TAG Heuer released some photographs of the prototype, which was on display at the Heuer’s Collector Summit held at TAG Heuer’s headquarters in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. Other than the sideways date display (because it’s a prototype), the watch wowed all in attendance. We cannot wait to see one in person, and have no doubt that due to its attractive price, neo-vintage styling, and historic fan-involved development, the 2017 Heuer Autavia is going to be a winner.
from Hamilton Jewelers http://ift.tt/2cwJtO8