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The Heuer Siffert Autavia is the real deal. During the golden age of sports car racing, a chronograph watch was an essential piece of kit, and the Siffert is the watch that was worn by many of the greats. This one, ladies and gentlemen, is the real McCoy.
These were the days of Bell, Elford, McQueen. The days of Porsche 917s with no traction control. The glory days of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This was a special time in history, and Heuer chronographs were used to mark it, track it and record it.
Jo Siffert was a Heuer enthusiast (not to mention amateur pit-lane dealer) in the late 60s and early 70s, and also happened to be one of Formula I’s best drivers. He taught Steve McQueen his track secrets and was the very man who introduced McQueen to the Heuer brand. When McQueen was filming Le Mans, he insisted on imitating Siffert’s uniform down to the smallest details, including the prominent Heuer patch.
The Monaco is the best-known Heuer chronograph to many, but for collectors like us, the Autavia is the one to own. Rolex has its Submariner, Breitling its Navitimer. Blancpain has its Fifty Fathoms and Audemars Piguet its Royal Oak. As far as we’re concerned the Siffert is Heuer’s monolith, it’s pièce de résistance. From its steel cushion case, panda dial, twin subsidiary registers and date function, to the fact that it's powered by one of the world's first automatic chronograph movements, the Siffert has it all.
You’ll find a couple of Sifferts in our archives, but this is the first time that we are able to offer such an early and special execution of this great watch.
Known as the “small logo” Siffert, you’ll notice that the Heuer shield is slightly smaller than in other versions. Additionally, you'll note that the hour indices are serrated, the hands are plain polished steel and the hour subsidiary register only shows numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12. These features are marks of the earliest regular production Siffert, the 1163T. It is exceedingly rare, especially in this condition.
This is truly a remarkable watch, and a favorite of the analog/shift team. Chances to own one of these early Sifferts do not come around often, so if you're looking for something really special, don't miss out.
For the full story on the history of the Jo Siffert Autavia, check out a great article over at Hodinkee, HERE.
And for a comparison of early Autavia models, check out this great reference HERE at OnTheDash!
Personal Note: A few years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Jack Heuer - Honorary Chairman of TAG Heuer and former President of the Heuer brand. During that memorable encounter, I happened to be wearing my own "Siffert" Autavia, and Jack noticed immediately, commenting on how great a driver Jo had been. If that doesn't speak volumes about the iconic nature of this special timepiece, I don't know what does. - James Lamdin
Steel case is is approximately 42mm (excluding the crown). Heuer Reference 1163. Calibre 11 Automatic-Winding Chronograph Movement.
Overall condition: Case is in unpolished original condition with wear consistent with age. Original dial in excellent condition. Luminescent plots on dial and on original hands have developed a lovely cream patina. Original crown and pushers.
Includes black leather strap with period Heuer buckle and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.