Vintage Heuer / TAG Heuer watches, and a few others. Plus Handmade straps..

Posts Tagged ‘Autavia

Heuer Autavia 11630 Tachy Black/White (Viceroy Colours)

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Heuer Autavia 11630 T Black/White, Cal. 12, c 1973-4

I already have in my collection a regular 1163V Viceroy model, so when I decided to go for a 11630 version, I knew what I was getting, so there wasn’t a great deal of excitement waiting for it to arrive… how wrong I was. I love it, it really is a very handsome watch – it oozes cool and class, fullstop. It has a certain luxury quality about it too, one thing that helps create this are the steel Monaco-esk main hands, something unique to this colourway, as (if I remember correctly) all the other 11630’s have painted handsets.  Yes, these models aren’t rare, or hard to come by, but it is a beautifully made and just goes to show that you don’t have to spend years hunting a rare piece, or a pay a kings ransom to really enjoy a vintage Heuer.

What’s really pleasing about this one, is that the surface ‘gloss’ on the tachy bezel insert has worn away over the years, leaving a very deep matt grey-black, which is just sublime – the silver tachy scale really ‘punches’ out against the matt backdrop. I hadn’t planned to put it on a ‘perlon’ NATO strap, but I think it looks wonderful on it.

This has the more common Schmitz case, with the deep-dish caseback . The Piquerez cases has more shallow stepped caseback. More info on case differences can be seen here at OTDs Viceroy guide.

Although I mention Viceroy, this model actually falls outside of the promotion dates. This model has no ‘V’ stamped along with ‘11630’ on the case, Serial is 300950, located low on the lug end, (as is the ‘11630’ on the other side).  Mark Moss, a renowned Heuer specialist, has undergone a large amount of research, as yet unpublished, into the serial numbers of the Autavias – his best guess is that this particular watch was not part of the Viceroy promotion, and was produced after the promo, in around 1973/4. Heuer continued to sell this model long after the promo ended in late ‘72, the design carrying on into the 11063 cased Autavias. Despite this technically not being a Viceroy, these watches are still referred to as such or as ‘Viceroy colours’, as it immediately identifies the colourway from other 11630s.

Despite this model being very well known, and not exactly a rare piece, the odd thing is that (as far as I know), it doesn’t appear in any catalogues that are online at the usual places (OTD or Calibre 11). The earlier 1163 and last of the Autavias, the 11063 are seen, but not the 11630. What is slightly confusing to the layman, is that the 11063 model is sometimes referred to as the 11630 in some catalogues. This is a known error amongst the Heuer community, and is attributed to an art dept. error when designing the catalogues.

Written by Heuerville

March 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Heuer Autavia 2446C GMT Mk3

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Heuer Autavia 2446C GMT mk3, Valjoux 724, c1969

This is a beautiful early edition to my collection. The large majority of which are mid 70’s to mid 80’s, so it’s nice to get a real old ‘un. This is the Mark 3 version of the manual wind compression cased Autavia GMTs. It is distinguished by its red central chrono hand, polished hands and fluted pushers. The caseback is high polished and blank, the only markings being the small concentric circles positioned right on the edge which indicate where to open the compression case (the ‘C’ references this).

This example has a lot of wonderful wabi to it. It is no safe queen and has clearly been used as a daily wearer, it’s 40+ year existence marked with scratches, fading and tiny scars. This all works beautifully with the sun bleached bezel and creamy sub dials, it is wonderful. I did have the tip of the GMT hand and the hour hands relumed in a vintage hue, as it was almost black and more than likely to flake off. The central red chrono hand had some chips in it, so that was sympathetically touched up. (Many thanks to Jimbo again). It does have marks on the outside of all four lugs, which was a bit baffling, but we reckon it has been in a make-shift case holder at some point of its life, but this only ads to the decades of wear and patina. The observant wil have spotted that the GMT hand is slightly out, so I think it’s about time the old girl gets a well deserved a service, so it’ll be off soon.

The Mk4 version is seen in the 1970/71 catalogues, so this Mk3 can be fairly accurately dated to 1969.
More details are in the OTD Master Reference Table (line D4) and see all the versions in the Photo Library.

Shown below with a NOS tachy bezel, I know it’s incorrect, but it looks great…

Written by Heuerville

February 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Heuer Autavia 30 Ref. 7763c MH

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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.

Written by Heuerville

February 19, 2012 at 11:33 am

Autavia 11630 MH Black/Orange

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Heuer Autavia 11630 MH Black/Orange Cal. 12. c1972-74

One of Heuer’s most striking Autavias, the orange/black was in the Heuer range for a long time, fairly rare for a Heuer from this period. It is seen in catalogues from 1972 to 1985. These aren’t difficult to find, but not many are in mint condition. It’s occasionally, and incorrectly,  referred to as the ‘Orange Boy’, a common mistake drawn from the striking orange hands and dial design.

Edit: I only recently (May 2013) realised that this model has two dial types.. this one is seen in catalogues 72-74. Note that the hour batons are polished with a white insert and a small lume dot on the end. The models seen in the ’77 catalogue has white painted batons with a lume strip in-between. I don’t know exactly when the change happened, but it was between 74 and 77. Further examination of the catalogues with other dial colours may pin it down, as it is noted that the silver dial version changed too.. I presume the Cal. 15 variants did too.

Seen in these Heuer Catalogues on OTD.. 1972 / 1974 / 1977

This one was bought form a US fellow collector some time ago,  the crystal was a bit scratched up, so I had no idea the dial & handset was in such amazing condition, which was a pleasant surprise.

The design, like so many late Autavias, has aged remarkably well, it looks very contemporary, and wouldn’t look out of place if it were launched today. Even though Heuer has a strong history with Porsche, this model has no direct connection to them, but if ever there was a match of car & watch, then surely this 11630 and the black/orange 911 GT3 RS is a match made in heaven. I have the watch.. maybe someday I’ll have the car to match…

Written by Heuerville

August 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Autavia 1163v (Parnelli Jones – Viceroy Racing Team)

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Heuer Autavia 1163v Tachy, Cal. 11-I, c1972-3

Unlike many Heuers, this one is slightly easier to date, as it is driven by the Cal. 11-I movement. These were only in production from 1969 to 1973. After that, Heuer replaced it with the Cal. 12. This example is likely to be towards the later part of that date range due to the Schmitz case (Serial 272xxx), identified by the cut-outs front and back that house the pushers.

The Cal. 11-I is essentially a slightly modified Cal. 11. This came about as the Cal. 11 was rushed to market in the race to become the World’s first automatic chronograph. It won, but unfortunately there were a few minor design flaws, which saw problems appearing very quickly, so the re-engineered movement became the Cal. 11-I. Click here for a comparison of the movements.

This model had no name given to it by Heuer, only the code model no. It was given its name, ‘Viceroy’, by collectors who fondly assign names to easily identify specific models or colourways. This model was used as a promotional product for Viceroy cigarettes, who sponsored the ‘Parnelli Jones – Viceroy Racing team’. The promotion was to own an official Team Heuer chronograph at a knock down price – simply send the end of a cigarette carton & $88 to buy the watch, which normally retailed at $200. More here

I’ve said it many times.. I love these Viceroys, they are the essence of Heuer to me. They have the unofficial Heuer colours, and the handset is almost identical to the iconic Monaco. Sure, the ‘Siffert’ is a show stopper, especially with its driver connection, and all that entails – motorsport, racing, bravery, the hay-day of motorsport. But.. lets not forget that the humble Viceroy also inhabited that era, with several known racing drivers of the time seen sporting one – Derek Bell and Graham Hill, not forgetting it’s role in the race to develop the world’s first automatic chronograph.

Written by Heuerville

August 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm

TAG Heuer Autavia ‘Siffert’ CY2110

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TAG Heuer Autavia ‘Siffert’ CY2110. ETA 2892 + Dubois Depraz chronograph module. 2006

This is the only modern re-issue I own, and for good reason. It is a stunner. I know many vintage lovers will baulk at it, but I think it is a beautiful watch that has superb build quality and wrist presence in it’s own right. I’m a vintage fan myself, so I try not to campare this with the original, it is fruitless!
It’s got a pleasing heft to it, the case is just under 43mm across, not including the pushers or crown and 48mm lug to lug. Still, it sits wonderfully on the wrist.The dial is astonishing, the way the stainless hour batons catch the light through the domed sapphire glass is just lovely. The dial isn’t actually flat white, it is almost pearlescent – well, sort of very slightly metallic.

Designed under the guidance of Jack Heuer, the first Autavia re-issue, the black with orange colourway was released in 2003 as a nod to the original ‘Orange Boy‘. The white/blue version seen here, often dubbed the ‘Siffert’ was introduced later, and is regarded as more desirable – who doesn’t like white dials with blue accents?! It is a nod to one of Heuers most famous watches, the Autavia 1163T white dial that racing driver Jo Siffert wore. Unfortunately, the re-issue didn’t sell in the numbers expected, which to a watch collector is sometimes a bonus, as there are fewer around. As part of the release, there were 150 limited edition sets available, which included the watch and an Autavia dash timer.. these sets were c$8k a pop!

It is driven by the same found in the 40th anniversary Monaco re-issue, an ETA 2892 paired with the Dubois Depraz chronograph module, this allowed the crown to be placed on opposite sides to the chrono buttons, giving the watch that ‘Cal. 11/12’ look.

Written by Heuerville

August 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

Autavia 11063 MH + Decompression Bezel

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Heuer Autavia 11063 MH with Decompression Bezel. Cal. 12, c1984-5

This big ol’ Autavia is one of my favourites. A huge thanks goes to Andy over at 24Heuer.com for allowing me to prise it from his hands.
As well as the stanard MH bezel/insert, it came with a NOS decompression bezel/insert, which is something of legend among the Heuer community. There has been much discussion and research into this decomp insert. The long and short of it is that they were destined for a new Autavia model, which got canned around 1985, probably due to the Autavia range being dropped when TAG merged with Heuer. A full write up about the Heuer decompression bezels can be read over on the Cal. 11 website here.
The bezel pictured in Cal. 11’s  write up is the actual one on my watch!

This was the last case design for the Autavia, being the biggest in the entire range – 42mm with 21mm lugs. Another identifying feature is the stunning deep castling on the bezel edge, which gives a very pleasing tool watch appearance. Most Autavias have matt dials.. this boasts a  gloss black dial, which is simply stunning. With the white highlights, it is a real classic stunner.
Definitely a keeper.

Autavia 11063 Decomp

Written by Heuerville

August 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Autavia 11630 MH Silver Dial

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Heuer Autavia 11630 MH  Silver Dial, Cal. 12. c1976 Serial 260217

Sublime, stunning, beautiful. These words are often banded around when commenting on a nice looking watch. I know I’m guilty of throwing around these sort of compliments at other peoples pride and joys. The problem is, when something truly gorgeous comes along, I find myself digging around my vocabulary for something more fitting, more apt. I’m struggling right now. So I’m just gonna say that the silver dialed 11630 is f*ckin’ ice cool.

While the white dialed Autavia Siffert gets all the glory, it’s cousin, the 11630 Silver dial is not far behind in my book, it is simply a cracker. The brushed silver dial has so many different looks as it catches the ever changing light conditions.

This particular example was an ebay punt and it was a bit of an ugly duckling when I opened the package from Germany. It was a mess. Incorrect pushers and crown, beaten-up case, incorrect plastic domed crystal with a silver rehaut added on top of the original rehaut, the hands were in a bad way & it needed a service too…

My knee-jerk reaction was to sell it on as quick as I could, but I decided to save it, get it back to it’s former glory. The dial was in good nick, with a lovely bit of patina. So, off it went to Belgium for a makeover. Those of you who know Abel don’t need any introduction, he worked his Jedi-like magic on it. Thanks Abel, you are a genius.

What I love about it is that it’s not ‘as new’ mint, it still retains a whiff of ‘wabi’ which suits it perfectly!

Oh, and it is very photogenic…

Prior to restoration… it was a mess…

Written by Heuerville

May 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm