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We've said it before, and we'll say it again: If you're looking for a watch that sums up the true essence of the golden age of sportscar racing, the Heuer Autavia is IT.
Launched at the very end of the 1960s, the 1163 Series Autavia featured one of the world's first automatic chronograph movements, changing sports timing forever. The beefy 1163 has come to symbolize the badassery that was international motorsports at that time...
Think Bell, Elford, McQueen.
Think Porsche 917s and no traction control.
Think 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Rolex has its Submariner, Breitling its Navitimer. Blancpain has its Fifty Fathoms and Audemars Piguet its Royal Oak. You could be forgiven for thinking that the Monaco is the icon of Heuer's line of motorsports chronographs, but we'd argue that these great 70s cushion-cased watches take that title. This was the watch designed by Heuer for the real race car driver. If you haven't ever worn one, you are truly missing out. Pair a beefy steel case with a rotating bezel, twin subsidiary registers and a date function, and power it with the an automatic winding chronograph movement, and you have yourself a sporting timepiece for the ages.
Autavias from this era were offered in a multitude of dial configurations, but the 1163 "Siffert" is far and away the crowd favorite. The "Siffert" Autavia was named after the legendary Swiss Formula I driver Jo Siffert, who wore the iconic Panda Dial variant constantly before his death at Brands Hatch in 1971. Siffert, who was a steadfast enthusiast (and pit-lane dealer) of Heuer in the late 60s and early 70s, is generally regarded one the of the greatest racing drivers of all time, and shared his skill on the track - and his affection for Heuer - with friend and fellow driver Steve McQueen.
While Autavias are relatively plentiful on the market, finding quality examples that have been serviced and maintained properly is becoming difficult. We are constantly on the lookout for survivors and are very pleased to present this tremendous example of the most desirable version. Just back from a full spa treatment by Heuer guru Abel Court, it is ready to wear to your next track day!
On a 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 the 1960s and 70s. 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.
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!
Steel case is is approximately 42mm (excluding the crown). Heuer Reference 1163. Calibre 11 Automatic-Winding Chronograph Movement.
Overall condition: Case is in excellent condition overall, recently refinshed by a Heuer professional, with sharp lugs and factory-quality brushing. Original dial is in outstanding condition, undamaged with no signs of spotting or scratching. Original hands are excellent, with a small section of blue detailing missing from the original hour hand. Luminescent elements have been professionally restored. Original case back with service sticker still in place and genuine Heuer pushers and crown.
Includes black perforated leather rallye strap and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.