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As far as chronographs are concerned, and specifically mid-century chronos, Heuer is king. They're best-known for their racing chronographs, such as the Carrera, Camaro, Monza, and perhaps most iconically, the Autavia. The Autavia (a portmanteau of "automotive" and "aviation") was first introduced in the early 1960s and graced the wrists of such Formula 1 legends as Jo Siffert, Jochen Rindt, and Derek Bell.
Throughout the Autavia's 20-year run, it saw several different case and dial configurations. The first Autavias had screw-down case backs, unusual for racing chronographs of the period, before shifting to snap-back compressor cases in the late 1960s, and cushion cases in the 1970s and 1980s. While there's something to be said for the distinctive look of the cushion case Autavias, the earlier snap-back compressor case models, Reference 2446C ("C" denoting "compressor"), are among the most desirable of Autavias, typifying for many collectors the ideal racing chronograph.
While that's without a doubt the most notable association of Autavia, it also served as a General Issue timepiece in the German Bundeswehr. Additionally, starting in the late 1960s, Heuer also supplied Autavias to the Argentinian Air Force. These military-issue pieces utilized the snap-back compressor case of the 2446C and the rotating bezel, and bore the insignia of the Argentinian Air Force on the case back.
Military-issue Autavias certain command attention when they emerge on the vintage market, and these--due to their relative rarity, as they were only produced from roughly 1969 to the 1970s--are no exception. With an attractive "reverse panda" dial configuration set off with a red chronograph hand, this is certainly a handsome and visually-appealing watch. Either on a leather "rally" style strap or on a nylon strap, it exudes character and a certain sportiness that only an Autavia can possess.
Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown and pushers). Heuer Reference 2446C. Valjoux 72 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa late 1960s-early 1970s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition over all, with sharp bevels on the lugs and no sign of over-polishing. Case does have some signs of use and wear in keeping with its age, including some light nicks and scratches throughout. Rotating bezel is in very good condition, with some slight signs of wear, particularly at 12 o'clock. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and no signs of discoloration or hand-drag. Luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands have gained a fine even patina over time. Heuer crown. Heuer case back is stamped with AAF insignia and case number 736.
Includes one 20mm black leather rally style strap and two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle