Restoring a Heuer Autavia 11063 GMT

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   10 February 2010   |   15 Comments  

A while back I bought this Heuer Autavia 11063 GMT on eBay. It’s the first time that I’ve bought a watch for a restoration project, although I hasten to add that I will be doing none of the work myself due to a complete lack of relevant skills.

The 11063 GMT is the last of the Autavia series from around 1984. Its my favourite Autavia type due to the larger case size and sunken bezel.

Somewhat mysteriously, these GMT watches actually have 11630 stamped on the case, despite being a 11063 series. The catalogue also refers to it as a 11630 GMT- not the only time that Heuer catalogues have referred to a 11063 as a 11630.

The 11063 GMT is also the rarest of the GMT series, with only a few examples coming on to the market each year- which also explains why I was happy to buy one that needed some work. It’s always hard to tell the true condition of a watch until it arrives in your hands, and this was especially true in this case due to the average quality of the photos that the seller had provided.

So, in the time-honoured tradition of restoration projects, here is an overview and a few photos of the “Before” watch.

Case

The case is not too bad- although if anything these photos make it look better than it really is. Yes, most of the original case grinding is still present and there aren’t too many deep scratches. However, the surfaces that should have a polished finish are quite dull and there are lots of small scuffs and marks, so I think that a gentle re-finishing of the case is in order.

Dial and Crystal

The dial is in good shape, with the only problems being a loss of colour on the orange hour-markers and the loss of the luminous spots. The crystal itself is very poor, with multiple lines and marks. A new crystal will make a huge difference to the watch.

Bezel

As with all GMT Autavia’s, the uni-directional bezel is perhaps the most important part to get right, as it’s the hardest to repair/ replace. The colour on this bezel is OK, but it is pock-marked in several places with small holes that have begun to rust.

Fortunately, I have found and bought a mint condition bezel- an expensive slice  of fortune which represents about 40% of the initial cost of the watch.

Hands

Like most of the watch, the hands are OK without being great. The Lume on the white hands has turned a shade of green and the orange of the central hand has dulled considerably, as has the yellow of the GMT hand. I have some NOS white + GMT hands that I could use, so that should be an easy fix.

Movement

The Calibre 14 movement appears to be keeping fairly accurate time, but judging by the condition of the case, it’s not unreasonable to guess that its been a while since the last service.

My sense is that a new glass, bezel and hands plus a light case re-finish should make a huge difference to the watch- the only thing missing is the correct jubilee bracelet with 21mm end pieces, so if you have one, please let me know.

Today the watch is on its way to Belgium and I look forward to Abel’s expert view on what can be done to bring this classic back to life.

For more photos of the “Before” GMT, take a look here and see below for a copy of the catalogue showing the “11630″ Autavia GMT.

***

Catalogue photo: http://chronomaddox.com/heuer/catalogs/model_cards/full/yachting_GMT.jpg

Home » Autavia, Restoration Projects
  • Nick Stevens

    I have an 1163 Autavia with the 2 x subdials. The watch is all good except the crystal. can you give me any advice as to where I might be able to get a new crystal?

    many thanks

    kind regards

    Nick

  • DC

    Hi Nick,

    try placing a "WTB" ad here:

    http://www.chronocentric.com/forums/chronotrader/

    dc

  • http://www.InRodaggio.com Thomas

    If have read your resto story with great interest. Would you be so kind to tell me where this job was done?

    thank you

    Thomas

  • Maxwell

    For many years I have looked for someone that could bring back my Autavia GMT to be as new. Thru the web I ran across your post and your mention of Abel in Belgium. Do you have a web or e-mail address?

    I am very attached to this watch as it was a present from my mother back in 1966. I truly want this fixed instead of sitting in my safe.

    I appreciate your help.

    Maxwell

  • DC

    Hi Maxwell- I've sent you an e-mail.

    Regards

    David

  • Bill Wyckoff

    Hello David,

    I have a HEUER AUTAVIA GMT from 1981. It keeps time and the functions all work. The crystal needs to be replaced and the waterproof seals need to be replaced. The rotating bezel is faded and will not rotate. It is not pitted. I was able to have it cleaned many years ago. When I contacted TAG HEUER they told me parts (crystal, seals, etc.) were no longer available. Were you or the person/company doing the restoration successful in obtaining parts. What costs are associated with your restoration? I am attached to this timepiece because my wife gave it to me when I got my pilots license in May of 1981.

    Bill

  • DC

    Hi Bill- I'll send you an e-mail

    David

  • Javier

    Hi, i have in my hands an Autavia GMT 11630 Black With the caseback engraved with the emblem of Argentina Air Forces.

    I know is very difficult and very collectible, do you any any aditional info ??

    The blue red bezel is in bad conditions.

    Javier

  • Pingback: Autavia 11063 GMT « Heuerville

  • DC

    Hi Javier,

    These come up for sale every so often- and yes, the bezel is almost always the problem.

    Try http://www.onthedash.com for more info.

    David

  • hayes

    I have an Autavia GMT I purchased in the 70's when learning to fly. I would like to have it restored so I can give it to my son. Can anyone refer me to a reputable shop. Many thanks. hasalley@gmail.com

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Hi- Abel Court worked on the watch is this post and the after shots are here:

    http://www.calibre11.com/autavia-gmt-restored

    His e-mail address is: abel@heuertime.com

    Cheers

    dc

  • George Spencer

    I have an old Heuer Autavia that my wife bought for me in the mid-70's. It was serviced by the factory in the mid-80's when I was stationed in Germany. In 2006 it stopped keeping accurate time. I tried to get it serviced by a jeweler (Tag-Heuer Dealer) in Charlotte, NC but the repair was less than satisfactory. Can anyone give me contacts for a competent repair person? The watch looks fine cosmetically. It just doesn't keep good time.

  • James

    I just ran across this website and also have an Autavia GMT that I really want to get restored. I have seen Abel mentioned many time but have not been able to find contact information for him. Could someone point me in the right direction. Thank you, James.

  • http://www.calibre11.com Calibre 11

    Hi James. Abel can be contacted at abel@heuertime.com

    dc