Heuer Autavia
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Heuer Autavia

Why We Love It

The Heuer Autavia, in all its forms, is one of our favorite chronographs around Analog/Shift HQ. From the early screw-back designs to the totally 70's cushion case and even their latest contemporary offerings, Heuer brought their A Game to each generation, instilling them with great design, comfortable proportions, and a series of quality mechanical movements. These were and are watches for professionals by professionals, and are a fantastic alternative to some of those other motorsports chronographs, at virtually every price point.

In the late 1960s, the Autavia moved from its original screw back case design to a new compressor case design with a snap-on case back. This watch, a Reference 7763, is one of those variants. The case is capped with a rare 12 hour bezel, one of the three variants Heuer fitted to the Autavia; the others being minutes/hours and a tachymeter.

Dating to the late 1960s, this full-bodied Autavia is powered by a Valjoux 7730, the workhorse of the series, featuring a manual wind movement, 30-minute counter, and crisp pusher feel. This particular example shows a warm patination throughout, as well as characteristically thick beveled lugs. With a reverse panda twin-register dial layout offering a balanced symmetrical layout, the Reference 7763 is one of the more conservative of the series, and hasn't yet exploded in value the way the triple-register versions and traditional panda dials have. 

To sum it up, this is everything a Heuer Autavia from the golden age should be - nothing less.

The Story

In the 1960s, the watch market was fast-paced and ever-changing. Freed from the economic constraints and austerity following World War II, the world roared into a future filled with promise. People turned from warlike pursuits to more sportsmanlike ones: flying, sailing, and, of course, driving.

It was in that last arena that Heuer really shined. Even in the company’s earliest years, when automobiles themselves were new, Heuer made clocks for race cars and stopwatches for those who timed the laps. Starting in 1933, Heuer released a line of stopwatches called the Autavia—a clever combination of the two purposes in which Heuer envisioned these watches would be used: automobiles and aviation.

But it was a dashboard clock in a rally car that would serve as the genesis for this watch, the Autavia wrist chronograph.

When he was acting as navigator for Swiss driver Samuel Heuer (no relation) during a rally in 1958, Jack Heuer misread his 12-hour Autavia stopwatch by a full minute, causing his team to come in third.

By 1961 he’d come to the conclusion that the Autavia stopwatch was redundant, and that it was ripe for a reinvigoration.

When the Heuer Autavia wrist chronograph blazed onto the scene, it was a move that for Heuer was entirely unprecedented. It was the first time that a wearable chronograph made by Heuer would have its own designated model name. And the watch itself was a watch unlike any Heuer had released before.

Heuer took great pains to ensure the Autavia’s suitability for all manner of sport, whether on or beneath the waves, tackling turns at a race track, or doing barrel rolls miles thousands of feet in the air. The “new pressurized stainless steel case,” or so an advert ran, guaranteed perfect functionality “at altitudes up to 35,000 feet or depths of 330 feet under water.” This was made possible with a screw-down case back (rarely-seen in racing chronographs), Incabloc shock protection, and a mainspring that Heuer’s adverts touted as being “unbreakable.”

For Jack Heuer, newly-made head of the company that his great-grandfather found in 1860, the new Autavia chronograph represented a new era for Heuer, blazing a trail for its enduring partnership with Formula 1 racing.

With tremendous looks and robust internals, it would be a tall order to find any vintage timepiece that’s more perfectly suited for a vintage motorsports enthusiast-and with demand for Heuers of this era reaching stratospheric proportions, time to find one before they go any further is fast running out.

Details

SKU: AS02857

Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown and pushers). Reference 7763. Valjoux Calibre 7730. Circa 1967.

Overall Condition: Case is in strong condition overall with crisp bevels and factory finishing, save for some polish on the upper right lug. Dial is in very good condition with light signs of age and patina throughout. Signed crown. Case back engraving is crisp and legible.

Includes one 20mm blue perforated rallye strap with Heuer "B" Buckle.

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We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

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