Heuer Autavia 11630T Bianco
Heuer Autavia 11630T (Tachy) White dial, Cal. 12, c1975
Well.. what can I say.. this really is something special. This is a rarity, the consensus amongst Heuer collectors is that there are known to be three 1163 white dials and five 11630 white dials known to collectors, so this would be the 6th.
Known by various names, ‘Bianco’, ‘Great White’, whichever takes your fancy, it’s certainly a stunner. The dial isn’t flat white, it’s similar to the finish on the Siffert dial, in that it’s slightly metallic, well more of a pearl finish. But, side by side with a Siffert, is is a warm white, whereas the Siffert is a cool white – same way as you can set your monitor to warm or cool. I’m certain this is intentional, and demonstrates the fine attention to detail that Heuer gave to it’s dial designs. I noted this a while back with my 1163 Orange Boy, and Orange dial Diver – the lume is warm-white, or a pale peach, same on this dial too. It’s actually very clever. The Sifferts cool-white dial finish matches perfectly with it’s blue accents. This ‘Bianco’ with it’s warm-white dial matches the orange accents.
Another area to note is the subdials, you can see them losing their black colour and going tropical. It’s noted that the other white dials all have a degree of tropical discolouration or fading on them. One collector even has a panda white dial Rolex Daytona Cosmograph from the same period, and made by the same dial company – Singer – and this too has completely faded tropical sub dials.
This isn’t actually a totally original watch, it was once a black & orange dial, but I was very lucky to acquire the white dial separately. I could have put it in a 1163 case, but this would require an Orange Boy handset, which is just as rare as the dial itself. I decided to go for the 11630 case, as it’s my favourite and was a simple dial swap. A NOS tachy insert was sourced, a correct black glass gasket was hunted down, and here it is, in all its wonderful Bianco glory. The hour and minute hands are slightly broader than a regular 11630, I believe them to be early service hands. They actually look better on the white white, giving better eligibility.
(Thanks to George C & APE for the parts, and Jimbo for banging it all together)
For more insight, the ‘white dialers’ were recently discussed over on OTD here.