Starting life as a dashboard timer for aircraft and rally cars in the 1930s, the Heuer Autavia name eventually found its way onto wristwatches in the early 1960s. With its large-for-the-time 38mm case design it was legible, and its chronograph movement and rotating bezel made it incredibly useful as a timing instrument for the motorsport community. As such the Heuer Autavia adorned the wrists of racing legends like Mario Andretti, Jochen Rindt and Jo Siffert. The Autavia eventually paved the way for the Heuer Carrera and Monaco to enter motorsport lore. Those chronographs are still sold by TAG Heuer today, but the Autavia name has been missing from TAG’s current lineup — until now.
TAG Heuer announced its intent to bring back the Autavia for 2017. This alone should make old-school Heuer enthusiasts (hell, all old-school watch enthusiasts) ecstatic, who will no longer have to deal with the headache of buying a vintage version. But it gets even sweeter. The watch-buying public will have a say in the Autavia reissue’s final design by participating in what TAG Heuer calls the “Autavia Cup.”
Essentially, TAG Heuer has selected 16 designs for the Autavia’s run and will pit them against each other. The voting works as a bracket. Between March 17 and March 31, the watches will be put into eight pairs with participants choosing their favorite in each pair. The watches will be narrowed down to eight, and voting for the four finalists will continue the next day through April 17. The winner will then be chosen from the four finalists by a committee headed by TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver.
Not only is it fantastic news that TAG will be reintroducing a true timekeeping icon, but it is huge that a big player in luxury Swiss watches is getting creative with the selection process by giving its dedicated consumer and fan base an opportunity to have their say. As for getting the style you want? Go vote now.