Restoring a Heuer Autavia 11063 GMT
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.
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.
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.
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.
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