Autavia 2446 | second execution | Steel
The design of the Autavia 2446 is famously inspired by the world of motorsport. 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 professional racecar drivers. The brainchild of Jack Heuer no less, the Autavia draws inspiration from dashboard timekeepers used in automobiles and aviation 30 years prior, fully embodying the vintage sports chronograph charm.
It is hard not to draw parallels between the race of the 1960s to create the world first automatic chronograph and that of collectors seeking the best examples of rare vintage Heuers. Their ever-increasing popularity and value can be attributed to several factors; many of which, are associated with the most collectable vintage brands in the world. Iconic owners, varied configuration, unique patina and exceptional movement quality, all contributing to a recent, but fully deserved cult status. This has built on almost a decade’s tireless documentation by the original Heuer collectors, such as Jeff Stein, founder of On The Dash and Paul Gavin, founder of Heuer World.
This very rare, 17-jewel manual-winding, second execution Heuer Autavia (ref. 2446 with Valjoux 72 movement) vintage watch is in great condition, has excellent mechanical functionality and is guaranteed for authenticity. The dial has its original tritium lume plots, but the hands are believed to have been expertly relumed some time ago.
This Heuer Autavia 2446, with serial number 59 XXX has a round, stainless steel case with large chronograph pushers and an original signed, fluted crown. The case measures 39 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 stainless steel Heuer buckle.
The case features a black, rotating bezel with a sixty-minute graduation that has faded to a dark grey. The tritium fill at 12 o’clock has aged to a dark yellow/brown patina, complementing the creamy yellow index hour markers and Dauphine hands perfectly. Similarly, the black, second-execution dial has faded to a dark grey, has white minute markers and applied, faceted silver index markers for the hours. 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, second-execution hands.
The watch carries the manual-winding, Valjoux Calibre 72 (labelled as "Leonidas") at its heart, beating at 18,000 A/h, with a power reserve of approximately 46 hours.
Where this Autavia 2446 differs from typical examples is its exceptional condition. Whilst this example’s vintage character is evident, its well-preserved condition offers a unique horological insight, owing to the exceptional thickness of the case, consistent aging/completeness of the lumes and original sixty-minute rotating bezel.
In response to the heightening interest in the Autavia range, Tag Heuer will be launching the winner of the Autavia Cup on March 23 of this year; a fan vote for which historical Autavia chronograph should be reissued. This speaks volumes about the current vintage Heuer market along with Tag Heuer’s respect and appreciation for its long standing collectors. Undoubtedly, The Jack Heuer era is the 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.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
|Model:||Autavia Ref. 2446|
|Movement:||mechanical manual-winding Cal. Valjoux 72|
|Functions:||chronograph, hours, minutes, sub-seconds|
|Case:||39 mm stainless steel|
|Bracelet:||black leather strap with steel Heuer tang buckle|
|Box & papers:||N/A|
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