TAG Heuer Drops Three New Autavias!
For the line’s 60th anniversary, and perhaps with a bit of the remnant holiday spirit, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer unveils three new models in its popular Autavia timepiece line early in the new year.
First introduced in 1962, TAG Heuer’s Autavia family of timepieces has always presented a deliberate hybrid of precision tool watch functionality with an undeniable sense of timeless style and fun.
The Autavia name, in fact, is a portmanteau of the words automobile and aviation, and were first used in reference to aircraft and automotive dashboard instrumentation dating back to 1933. But as the first product line launched under the leadership of watch world legend Jack Heuer 60 years ago, these timepieces strive to capture the vibrant intersection of time-keeping and stylish motion. I mean, Mick Jagger even famously wore one.
“The Autavia has had a truly astonishing and inspiring destiny, in a very Heuer way,” Jack Heuer, now TAG Heuer Honorary Chairman, has commented about the line. And the three new Autavias TAG released late last week are certainly no exception to that emotion.
To cut to the chase, the three new Autavias feature a duet of new movement functions as a group: two flyback chronographs and one timepiece with a GMT function. Both of those complications are firsts for the Autavia line.
Flyback To The Future
A Calibre Heuer 02 COSC Flyback chronograph movement provides the precision-timing innards for two new Autavia Chronometer Flybacks that directly address the automotive side of the moniker. So-called flyback chronographs were purpose-developed to time multiple events within a single event, like the finish of a race.
For instance, a single tap to the top pusher starts the timing. But a second tap to the same pusher slings the central chronograph hand back to zero and automatically continues tallying seconds, so you can log the times for your ensuing laps or for who’s second, third, and so forth.
But there is also an aviation connection. The company’s 1960s-era reference 1550 SG timepiece, which was constructed for use by German Bundeswehr pilots, also sported a flyback chronograph function.
In both the 42mm panda-style silver dial on polished stainless steel and the more stealthily military-like 42mm black dial in a DLC-coated case, the new Autavias present an object lesson in heritage chronograph design made modern. In the silver-dialed version (ref. CBE511B.FC8279), the black sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock wink at you as they flank a lighter grey small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock that also incorporates a date window. Plus, a hefty crown and prominent pushers join the case under the bi-directional black ceramic bezel.
Traditional flat lugs, white Super-LumiNova on the hands and indices, an 80-hour power reserve, and 100 meters of water resistance pegs this version as not just an accessory but a reliable tool watch. But the exhibition caseback, superb polish on the steel case, and vibrant red backing on the sleek black gator band add an unexpected level of sophistication.
In the black execution (ref. CBE511C.FC8280), that same red-backed black band flows seamlessly into a bold black PVD steel case, black ceramic bezel, and intricate black dial with black sub-dials approach. This TAG Heuer Autavia Chronometer Flyback uses a vintage-inspired aqua Super-LumiNova coating on the hands and markers that really plays up the clean, sans serif Arabic hour indices. Its specs and functions are identical to its panda-inspired colleague, but the mean colorways create a more technical presentation throughout this timepiece.
A GMT Game Changer
A COSC-certified Caliber 7 movement powers the new Autavia 60th Anniversary GMT 3 Hands (ref. WBE511A.BA0650). Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or in pilot’s parlance, Zulu Time, is a common military time stamp and global rallying reference that provides a universal timeframe for pilots, who often fly across multiple time zones for their missions.
Presented in a brushed steel 42mm case and a matching link-metal bracelet, the new Autavia GMT 3 Hands model does mimic a classical approach for a pilot’s watch, but some of the color work design is simply unmatched. A sunray-brushed flame deep blue dial provides a vivid canvas of lighter and darker blue tones off of which both the white Super LumiNova-coated hands and hour markers and the vibrant orange GMT hand simply pop.
The ceramic bezel showcases a gorgeous gradient color, with about half the bezel in black and half the bezel in blue. Add in an Autavia-heritage etched case back, 100 meters of water resistance, and a 50-hour power reserve, and this timepiece is ready to take flight.
Here, we highlighted the “stock strap” versions of each watch. But all three feature TAG Heuer’s easy-on-the-fingers interchangeable strap system for owners who want to make these new Autavias a more bespoke choice.