The Revival Of The TAG Heuer Autavia Motor Racing Watch
A public vote resurrects the revered Autavia motor racing watch after 50 years.
BY Robin Swithinbank | Apr 24, 2017 | Feature
Tag Heuer’s latest all-consuming marketing push has seen it claim Cara Delevingne, David Guetta, the Premier League and many other next-generation favourites besides as willing vessels for the brand. In the spirit of inclusiveness, it wants the general public to come along for the ride, too. Earlier this year, the Swiss watch giant launched the Autavia Cup, an online public vote to decide which of the brand’s archive Autavia watches should become the inspiration for a (long-overdue) revival model.
The format was simple—a series of knockout rounds in which two historic Autavia designs were put head-to-head until only one remained. The winner? The 1966 Ref 2446 Mk3, known as the “Rindt” Autavia, after Austrian Formula 1 driver Jochen Rindt, who was killed in practice before the 1970 Italian Grand Prix. He’s still the only man to win the F1 world championship posthumously.
It’s not beyond the public to get such things horribly wrong, but the 50,000 voters played their hand well. The Rindt has many virtues of classic Sixties steel sports watches: the so-called “Panda dial”, the three-six-nine chronograph subdial layout, baton hour markers, a slimline black bezel with Arabic numerals, and the tapered, almost sharp lugs completing a functional, retro look.
With the re-edition, TAG’s designers have been pretty faithful to the original. Tweaks include a case enlarged to 42mm, a slightly wider bezel, adding a date at six o’clock, and a significantly upgraded chronograph movement—one of its new inhouse calibres.
Officially, this Autavia isn’t due out until the Baselworld watch show, but it’s fair to say TAG Heuer has gone early with what already looks like one of the best watches of 2017.
This article was first published in the print edition of Esquire Singapore, April 2017.