Heuer Autavia 30 Ref. 7763c MH
Heuer Autavia 30 Ref. 7763c MH, c1968-71. Valjoux 7730, Compressor case.
I picked this up last year, and I’ve grown to love it a lot. It’s got a nice amount of wabi, with its faded minute/hour bezel insert, which is a beautiful blue grey that gradients paler towards the coin milled edge of the bezel. The majority of the hour baton lume had disappeared, so it went away for a minor refresh, courtesy of James, who has expertly relumed the stunning wide hour batons and hands in a perfect vintage cream colour.
It’s a big watch for it’s period, being 44mm with the crown. The (20mm) squared lugs are beautiful, they have a crisp, strong architectural quality, and the design shrugs off it’s years, it has a very modern look and feel about it with that added magic of it being 40 odd years old. This model, as referenced by the ‘C’ is the compressor snap-back case, which is signed with an large engraved Heuer logo and the Autavia lettering. (I really should have taken a photo). Shown here on a traditional style rally strap, it looks very business-like, but it also looks great on a battered pale honey strap, giving it a very relaxed ‘off-duty’ feel about it – great with lounging around on the weekend in those knackered old comfy jeans.
Although considered more of a vintage dress chrono nowadays, it was originally considered tool watch.. shown in Heuer (& Chronosport) catalogues from 1968 to 71, and has a depth rating of 330 ft. The 1969/70 Chronosport catalogue listed it (maybe a little generously) under its Diving Watches section, subtitled “Especially selected for their rugged reliability and waterproof qualities”, and describes it as…
“A top quality water resistant chronograph fitted with a rotating minute and hour bezel. 17 jewel precision movement with incabloc shock absorbers and specially treated hairspring and strengthened mainspring and glass. All stainless steel case and bezel. The 1/5 second flyback push-button operated stopwatch is fitted with a minute recording dial, and the mechanism may be stopped and restarted without zeroing the recorder. Black low-reflection dial, high retention luminosity and contrasting white secondary dials make this chronograph ideal for conditions where quick readings must be made accurately. Complete with leather strap this watch is both attractive and very strong”
See it here in the 1969/70 Brochure and description here on OTD.
This model was also available with a Tachy scale, which connects it more to it’s racing roots, and also available with a rice grain stainless steel bracelet. The Chronosport description mentions a leather strap, this is plausable, although it’s more commonly known to have been offered with a corfam strap…
It can also be seen here (bottom left) in the 1970 catalogue on steel bracelet on OTD, where the corfam strap option is mentioned.
NB. Commonly referred to as an Autavia 7763, I’m not entire sure of the absolute correct name.. the catalogue of the day list it as ‘Ref. 7763 MH Autavia 30’. Collectors seem to add the ‘C’ to denote the compressor case. It is simply stamped 7763 between the lugs. This particular example is probably early, as it’s serial no. is 112XXX.