Everything you need to know about the 2017 TAG Heuer Autavia Heuer-02

The wait is over. The most highly anticipated TAG Heuer model in recent years is finally here, with the return of the Autavia. From the time that The “Autavia Cup” project was announced at Baselworld 2016, the Autavia has had a highly public development period, with a public vote informing the selection of the final design (the project received a total of 55,000 votes!) and then the unveiling of the first prototype late last year to collectors.

2017 TAG Heuer Autavia ReissueWe’ve even had several interviews with TAG Heuer CEO where he has explained in detail the thinking behind the watch and why the decision was made not to simply copy the historic model. In short, there has been no shortage of build-up to the relaunch of one of TAG Heuer’s most famous historic models.

Not familiar with the history of the Autavia? You can read all about the background of both the vintage and modern Autavia here:

2017 TAG Heuer Autavia CBE2110

Photo by Oomiya

But all the analysis and speculation can now be put to rest, because we now have all the details of the changes made for the final production model, which differs only in a few small details to the prototype shown last year.

2017 TAG Heuer Autavia 02

Design

2017 TAG Heuer Autavia Chronograph

2017 TAG Heuer Autavia ChronographThe Autavia features a 42mm stainless steel case with a thickness of 15.6mm. Let’s stop at this point to consider these dimensions, because the larger size of the 2017 Autavia relative to its historic inspiration has been one of the most hotly debated aspects. By way of comparison, the Carrera 1887 with a 41mm case has a thickness of 15.78mm, while the 43mm Carrera Calibre 36 hits the tape at 14.93mm.

TAG Heuer Autavia ChronographWhat this tells us is that while the new Autavia certainly has a thicker case than the historic model (partly because of the switch from a manual-wind movement to a thicker automatic movement), it is in line with modern TAG Heuers. Would we prefer the new watch if it was say 40mm with a slimmer case? Yes. Would we pass on the Autavia because of its larger dimensions? No.

TAG Heuer Autavia 2017The dial itself is a flat black with printed Heuer logo, complemented by three white registers with circular “azurage” finishing. The curved & polished indexes are hand-applied (double index at “12”) and house the lume markers. The lume is what TAG Heuer calls “Orange Superluminova” and is the same as used on the 2016 Monza. The coloured lume gives an “aged” look to the dial, right on point with current trends.

TAG Heuer has kept the dial clean, with the date window integrated into the 6 o’clock sub-dial and the “Swiss” label tucked in under the lume mark at 6 o’clock. Sitting proudly above the date window is the text “Heuer-02”, the final name for the new in-house movement powering the Autavia.

TAG Heuer Autavia CBE2110.FC8226The bi-directional rotating steel bezel has a black aluminium insert, the width of which has also been a topic of debate. This sense of size is not just because of the bezel’s width, but also down to the large silver numerals on the hours bezel. We feel the same way about the bezel as the larger case size: better if smaller, but it still works

The final element to give the watch a vintage feel is the domed sapphire crystal, which sits proud of the bezel as you can see below.

Heuer Autavia CBE2110.BA0687 Bracelet

Photo by Oomiya

Autavia CBE2110.FC8226

TAG Heuer Autavia leather strapThe new Autavia initially comes in a single flavour with a choice of either a steel bracelet or the camel/ tan strap shown here. The strap has an aged/ vintage look, with a “distressed” finish and white stitching. Securing the strap is a pin buckle, the first time that TAG Heuer has offered a pin buckle on a steel model for around 20 years.

Autavia CBE2110

TAG Heuer CBE2110There is no doubt that the vintage look strap is right on the mark fashion wise, so it’s more likely that we’re simply behind the curve in that we’d rather see a rally style black leather deployant strap- still, that’s an easy change to make.

The screw-in case back has a clear sapphire window showing the Heuer-02 movement. Interestingly, there is no mention of TAG Heuer on the watch and to add to that vintage feel, the water-proof rating is expressed only in feet (330).

TAG Heuer Autavia Sapphire Caseback

Autavia CBE2110.BA0687

TAG Heuer Autavia CBE2110.BA0687The second option is the 7-row polished steel bracelet. And if we’re luke-warm on the strap, then we’re red hot on the bracelet. The design is an update on the wonderful Gay Frères “Grains of Rice” bracelet that was an option with the 1960s Autavias. The design has been perfectly recreated and is a wonderful fit with the watch.

TAG Heuer Autavia Bracelet

TAG Heuer AutaviaWhat’s Changed from the Prototype?

TAG Heuer Autavia Prototype

PHOTO BY BRICE GOULARD- MONOCHROME WATCHES

So what’s changed from the prototype (above) to the final model? Well, not much:

  • Correct date wheel (prototype had a dummy movement- the date was never intended to sit horizontally)
  • Silver registers replaced by white registers with a more subtle azurage pattern
  • Newly designed camel/ tan strap
  • Production-standard finishing and polishing

All the key elements of the design presented last year have survived to the production model.

Movement- Calibre Heuer-02

TAG Heuer Calibre Heuer-02We broke the news last year that the new Autavia would use TAG Heuer’s own Calibre 1969/ CH80, a movement whose history has been a saga since it was first unveiled in 2013. Developed under the code name “Calibre 1888”, first brought to market as the Calibre 1969, it was then re-named the Calibre CH80, but cancelled/ delayed before any more watches were produced.

TAG Heuer Calibre Heuer-02

But there were 1000 movements produced before the line was stopped, and these formed the basis of the Heuer-02T tourbillon movement. While there was a plan to call the new movement the “Heuer-03”, it will in fact be branded as the “Heuer-02”. Expect to see production of the Heuer-02 ramp up in the coming years as it becomes the main TAG Heuer chronograph movement.

TAG Heuer Autavia Heuer-02

TAG Heuer Movement

TAG Heuer in-house movement

TAG Heuer Calibre Heuer-02

TAG Heuer Heuer-02The Heuer-02 has a frequency of 4Hz (28,800 bph) and is a 13 3/4 ligne calibre, with a thickness of 6,9mm. The power reserve is 80 hours- up from 70 hours for the original Calibre 1969- from the self-winding movement, which comprises 233 components including a pillar wheel and a vertical clutch.

Heuer-02

In a way, the return of the Autavia has overshadowed the relaunch of the Heuer-02 movement, but make no mistake that in the long run, it’s the movement that will play a much larger part in TAG Heuer’s future than the Autavia itself.

On the Wrist- Live Shots

TAG Heuer Autavia Re-edition

2017 TAG Heuer Autavia

2017 Heuer Autavia Heuer-02

Heuer Autavia 2017

TAG Heuer Autavia Grains of Rice

Heuer Autavia Chronograph

TAG Heuer Autavia on the wrist

Price and Availability- TAG Heuer Autavia CBE2110

New TAG Heuer AutaviaThe 2017 TAG Heuer Autavia Heuer-02 on the leather strap retails for CHF4,800 (Switzerland), or €4,600 in Europe. We expect deliveries to begin in the next few weeks.

***

Join the Discussion

TAG Heuer Forum Banner

  • Sebastian Chrome

    It’s a bit too retro for me. When I saw the original pics I thought it might come out looking a bit more modern, bizarrely the 90s Autavia looks more up to date. But then I guess it’s aiming for the retro market so fair enough.

  • mascor

    Nice watch and good mixture of “old” and “new” elements. The bezel is not fixed and uni-directional, I guess. What I dislike is the construction of the two “pins” for the stopwatch-mechanism: they are prone to failure and ripp off from the case when you for example dress yourself while wearing the watch. The neck of the pins should be more embedded in the case to avoid this.

  • Róbert Timár

    Would love to have a few scans about the steel bracelet clasp. And see it in the flesh of course…

  • K.C. Ng

    Two words: too big.

    Sure, 36mm would have been way too small for modern standards. But 40mm would have hit the sweet spot for a modern interpretation of a classic mode, while the 43mm modern Carreras have got that size bracket covered, and with a suitably modern case and dial to boot.

  • Philmo

    Love it! Though would have preferred less polish and more brushing. The return of Grains of Rice is welcome but still prefer the 2003 Autavia execution of GoR and the overall muted presentation of that edition. Guess I must be old-school.

  • So the bezel is definitely ceramic? I was hoping so.

    • Apologies- just double-checked and confirmed that it’s aluminium. Article now updated.

      • No worries, Tag tho; making me sad.

  • Lee Douthitt

    Any idea if an Aquaracer bracelet would fit? I really wanted to like the GOR bracelet but dont think it works with the dimensions; the bezel overpowers it IMHO. I think a stronger-looking bracelet like those on the Aquaracers could make this really work.

  • Had such high hopes but since the summit; 😞 One word: disproportional.

  • chesirecat77

    Am I the only one who is bothered by the lack of minute marks on the chrono minute counter?

    • fair point!

      • chesirecat77

        Other things I can justify (to a point): size, thickness, bezel – I don’t need an exact copy of a historic original, it just has to work with given technical characteristics of the new piece. I had this watch on my list, because I thought it was quite fine until I noticed this faux-pas.
        But this un-necessary intervention into functionality of a chronograph is beyond my ability to understand. Why on earth …?! Did they want to make a cleaner dial? If that is the case why did they add the not-so-necessary half hour marks on the 12 hour counter?!
        I know we don’t really need chronographs and from this point of view this nagging is groundless. But we also don’t need watches for that matter. But overall good design is one that follows function. Why have a fancy movement if a simple decision not to print something on a stupid dial undos every effort. Dial in a non-dress watch should always reflect the functionality of the movement. If it has hands that jumps every minute – there should be a dot or a line there to corespond. Otherwise this chronograph is as legitimate as any fashion chronos that put looks before function.

  • Gary-John-Reed

    Fantastic watch. Just purchased on one with the leather strap. Only niggle is the strap is too short by only 1/2″ – do they do a longer version of the same strap? Seems odd to market a £4k watch and make a strap too short.

    • Hi Gary-John- no, I’m not aware that they do, but yours is not the first comment I’ve read on it being too short. Have you asked your dealer?

  • anthony raimondo

    Anyone know the bracelet width ?

    • David

      21mm