We are proud to announce today the details of the first collaboration watch that we’ve developed in conjunction with TAG Heuer. Welcome the 2018 Heuer Autavia Jo Siffert Collector’s Edition, the first time that the Jo Siffert name has appeared on a Heuer Autavia, vintage or modern. Just as the Monaco is forever linked to Steve McQueen, for Heuer collectors the Siffert name is synonymous with the white, black and blue Autavia 1163T launched in 1969: the “Siffert” Autavia.
Two legends of the 1960s- Jo Siffert and the Autavia- are back in 2018.
And it’s for the collectors that we have made this watch, sweating every small detail, from the Heuer logo on the mainplate of the Calibre Heuer-02, through to the bespoke box. To ensure exclusivity, we’re only making 100 watches, each individually numbered.
The new watch is an official collaboration between TAG Heuer and Calibre 11, with the Jo Siffert name licensed for this watch by Calibre 11 in an agreement with the Siffert family- we are grateful for their support in this project.
Jo’s son Philippe operates the official Jo Siffert website and has designed several of his own watches with his father’s name and signature. You can view the full collection of Jo Siffert watches here and check out the Siffert merchandise available here.
Jo Siffert and Heuer
Jo Siffert was one of the first Formula 1 drivers to be sponsored by a watch company when he signed his partnership deal with Heuer in 1968/9. Jack Heuer recounts the story behind the deal in his autobiography:
“During the final phase of Project 99 (the development of the Calibre 11 Chronomatic movement- C11), I became slightly nervous about how Heuer was going to finance the advertising for its new chronographs in all the markets in which we were active. It had struck me that our advertising budget was far too modest for us to make any real worldwide impact. The solution came from a totally unexpected source. One day I was at my golf club practising my putting together with an old friend of the family called Claude Blancpain who ran the Cardinal brewery in Fribourg. Out of the blue Claude suggested I should sponsor a young motor racing driver called Joseph (“Jo”) Siffert, who he admired and supported.
Siffert, who was also from Fribourg, had shot to fame by winning the Formula One British Grand Prix in July 1968, beating drivers such as Chris Amon, Jacky Ickx and Jackie Stewart, and Claude considered him one of the greatest talents in Formula One racing at the time. Jo was also the factory driver for Porsche and drove for them in long duration events such as the “24 hours of Le Mans”.
This idea immediately appealed to me and a few days later I made an appointment to meet Jo in Fribourg. We got off to a very good start and quickly agreed on the following:
- During all races Jo would wear the Heuer logo patch on his overalls and one of our chronographs, preferably the “Autavia”, on his wrist
- He would put a red Heuer sticker on the front or the side of all the cars he raced
- Heuer would allow him to buy its products at wholesale prices and he would be free to resell them privately to colleagues in the pits and anyone else attending the races
- Heuer would pay him an annual fee of CHF 25,000
- The initial contract would be for 2 years.
Although I didn’t realise it at the time, this relatively simple sponsoring contract with Siffert was probably one of the best marketing moves I ever made, because it opened the door for us to the whole world of Formula One.”
– Jack Heuer, “The Times of My Life”
Siffert did indeed wear an Autavia- but rather than switching between the numerous colour options available at the time, he settled on one particular model which he made his own: the white-dial 1163T Automatic (below right) that collectors refer to simply as the “Siffert Autavia”.
Heuer would later launch a 3-register 73633 Autavia with the same colour-scheme and together, these two watches form the inspiration for the 2018 Siffert Autavia.