Autavia Rindt | 2446 | STEEL
Heuer Autavia Chronographs are increasingly sought-after by collectors. Part of their charm is their rarity, while boasting incredible pedigree and fantastic utilitarian aesthetics. With Heuer being one of the first makers of an automatic chronograph wristwatch, this piece has to be admired for its historically important, horological contribution. Colloquially referred to as the "Rindt Autavia”, the watch was made famous by legendary Formula 1 driver Jochen Rindt, who was often photographed wearing the reference.
Deriving its name from the combination of the words "AUTOmobile" and "AVIAtion", Heuer Autavia chronograph wristwatches from the 1960s were often found on the wrists of the greatest professional racecar drivers. Much of the cause of Autavia’s cult-like status amongst drivers was the fact that Jack Heuer personally traveled from race-to-race, trading stopwatches, timing equipment and professional racing chronograph wristwatches.
This very rare, 17-jewel manual-winding, Heuer Autavia (ref. 2446 MK3 with Valjoux 72 movement) vintage watch is in great condition, has excellent mechanical functionality and is guaranteed for authenticity.
This unpolished Heuer Autavia 2446 MK3, with serial number 95 XXX has a round, stainless steel case with large chronograph pushers and an original signed, fluted crown. The case measures 38 mm in diameter and is sharp and thick, retaining its definition. The screw-down case back features the Heuer hallmark, 'AUTAVIA' and 'STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH - WATERPROOF - GUARANTEED 300 FT UNDER-WATER' on the outside. The case has straight-line lugs with sharp bevels and it comes on a black, leather racing-strap with a vintage, stainless steel Heuer "Sun" buckle.
The case features a black, rotating bezel with a Tachymeter and is well preserved. Similarly, the black, Mark 3 dial is in excellent condition, has white minute markers and applied, faceted silver index markers for the hours. The tritium lume on the matchstick handset has been reapplied at some point, to match the untouched index hour markers, that have themselves aged to a dark yellow over time.
It features a white Heuer logo, while 'AUTAVIA' is referenced on the dial at twelve o'clock. A 'SWISS' marking is visible at six o'clock on the twelve-hour sub-register.
The chronograph hand is white, giving the dial a nice monochromatic look. The sub-registers at three, six and nine o'clock are the thirty-minute, the twelve-hour and the sub-second dials, respectively, featuring Arabic numerals and black, third-execution hands.
The watch carries the manual-winding, Valjoux Calibre 72 (labeled as "Leonidas") at its heart, beating at 18,000 A/h, with a power reserve of approximately 46 hours. The movement has been serviced to the highest possible standards by leading Heuer technical expert, Abel Court.
This Autavia 2446 MK3 represents one of the most celebrated references in Heuer’s history, a true icon sported by iconic owners. Considered a “grail” piece by many collectors, this example represents the original “Rindt” reference, and thus a special piece of horological importance. The exceptional thickness of the case, consistent aging/completeness of the lumes and original Mark 3 dial exhibit the characteristics that make some Autavia “Rindts” so collectable.
Upon his passing, Jochen Rindt became motor racing's only posthumous world champion, having won five of the year's ten Grands Prix. The championship trophy was handed to his widow Nina Rindt, on the 18th of November 1970 in a ceremony near the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Nina Rindt herself is acknowledged in her own right as one of the leading fashion muses of the sixties, and celebrated for her taste in horology, to an almost equal extent.
In response to the heightening interest in the Autavia range, Tag Heuer will be launching the winner of the Autavia Cup on March 23rd, 2017; a fan vote where one historical Autavia chronograph is to be reissued. Three rounds of voting produced a fitting result; a three-register Autavia, with a second execution screw-back case and third execution Mark 3 dial, the model worn by Jochen Rindt himself.
The overwhelming success of this popular vote, speaks volumes about the current vintage Heuer market, further reinforcing the world's growing respect and appreciation for vintage Heuers. Undoubtedly, the years when Jack Heuer was in charge of the brand, are those most cherished by collectors, continuing to be celebrated at auction in remarkable fashion. It’s hard to ignore their staggering performance, in the midst of a thriving vintage market.
The future looks exceptionally bright for vintage Heuer, with the brand's ascension into the pantheon of vintage watch collecting, having been long-awaited, and equally well deserved.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
|Model:||Autavia Autavia Ref. 2446|
|Movement:||mechanical manual-winding Cal. Valjoux 72|
|Functions:||chronograph, hours, minutes, sub-seconds|
|Features:||unrestored dial, original lumes|
|Case:||38 mm stainless steel|
|Bracelet:||black leather strap with steel Heuer tang buckle|
|Box & papers:||N/A|
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