The TAG Heuer 1972 Special Re-Edition Autavia

Reaching Into the Past to Reimagine the Future of the Autavia


March 24, 2019 Sponsored By

Bringing back an icon is never an easy task — balancing the DNA of the old and modernizing, all while reaching persistent supporters and new fans alike.

These are just a few of the considerations that TAG Heuer had to take into account when reviving the Autavia line in 2017. Through the Autavia Cup, the public voted on which Autavia model to resurrect, and the victor was the Autavia Rindt worn by storied F1 driver Jochen Rindt. This set the stage for further legendary Autavia models to be reimagined.

Key Specs

Case Diameter: 42mm
Movement: Heuer-02 calibre chronograph
Power Reserve: 80 hours
Strap: Black calf skin leather
Water Resistance: 100 meters

The TAG Heuer 1972 Special Re-Edition Autavia is one such reimagined model. Based on the 1972 Heuer Autavia 1163V Viceroy, it impeccably straddles the past and the present while including some contemporary design updates. As another branch in the Autavia lineage, this re-edition timepiece is a worthy tribute that any TAG Heuer collector can get excited about.

Heritage of the Autavia

Insider Note: “The Autavia is a mythical sports watch of the 1960s onwards that brought together very cool watch cases, extremely readable dials and color combinations that have remained strong favorites at TAG Heuer since then.” — Guy Bove, TAG Heuer Product Director

Jack Heuer imagined the Autavia line in 1962 as a chronograph that would be the perfect tool for drivers, adventurers and the sporting types. Taking “AUT” from “auto racing” and “AVIA” from “aviation”, the Autavia line was born. It quickly established itself as a reliable timepiece that auto and aviation enthusiasts gravitated towards, with its rotating bezel and legible dials. It’s a staple in TAG Heuer’s offerings as one of the “Big Three” (the Carrera, the Monaco and the Autavia).

Balancing the Past

Insider Note: “The ‘Viceroy’ is one of the most iconic Autavias. It came out in 1972 when the Autavia was already an automatic watch with its bulky case. The remarkable codes of the Viceroy are the black dial, red accents and red chronograph hands. We kept those and managed to place them in the 2017 Autavia Re-Edition.” — Catherine Eberle-Devaux, TAG Heuer Heritage Director

The original 1972 Heuer Autavia 1163V Viceroy featured a barrel case and symmetrical dials, very much playing to the aesthetic of the auto and aviation worlds. The black dial, red accents, red chronograph hands and rotating bezel are all crucial elements to the DNA of an Autavia. While some Autavias feature a three-register dial, the original “Viceroy” featured a two-register variation — determined a necessary configuration for this tribute watch by the brand.

The Heuer-02 Calibre Chronograph Movement

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Insider Note: “We are very proud of this achievement — this 100 percent in-house movement incorporating the long power-reserve and high-end engineering is a true pride.” — Catherine Eberle-Devaux

The development of this new in-house movement began in 2013. TAG Heuer knew it wanted this original chronograph movement to power the rebirth of the Autavia line. But it also serves as a base for the TAG Heuer Carrera Tourbillon (2015) and the Chronograph GMT (2018), showing off the movement’s capabilities.

Modern Design Updates

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Insider Note:“The 2017 Autavia has a date window at 6. It is a feature of the Heuer 02 calibre and a standard expectation for today watches.” — Catherine Eberle-Devaux

Making a tribute watch is all fine and well, but if it’s not up to snuff for the modern wearer, there would be little point in producing it. Balancing the past (and the future of the Autavia line), TAG Heuer astutely updated this model with a self-winding calibre, the use of a date window at 6 o’clock (the original Heuer Viceroy also featured this) and water resistance to 100 meters. The 12-hour bidirectional black aluminum notched bezel also provides a modern look.

This tribute Autavia squarely fits into the modern familial fashion of the collection while still doing justice to the original Heuer “Viceroy” that it’s based off. TAG Heuer has done well to be inspired by the past while forging the future of the Autavia in this timepiece.