Heuer Autavia Bund

Heuer Autavia Bund

Think of military watches and your mind might drift to those worn by GIs during the Second World War. During the war, the wheels of industry turned out hundreds upon thousands of sturdy little watches, all stamped with a particular design ethos that all subsequent military watches would follow. But the history of watches meant for combat did not end with that great and terrible conflict.

After the war, as the militaries of the world replenished their greatly-depleted stores, watch companies were once again called-upon to outfit soldiers, sailors, and airmen with robust and accurate timepieces.

Starting in the mid-1950s, West Germany was allowed to reconstruct its military, following the example of the brave officers of the Wehrmacht who stood in open resistance to Hitler and his minions. Members of this force, the Bundeswehr (“Federal Defense”), took a solemn oath to defend the “right and freedom of the German people” with bravery. As the Soviet Union grew more powerful, the Bundeswehr served as a bulwark against the threat of Communism once the Iron Curtain was drawn over Eastern Europe.

As the Bundeswehr outfitted its army, a corresponding Luftwaffe—or Air Force—was built up using the same principles. Using mainly Soviet-built jets, the Luftwaffe participated in air defense coordinated by NATO. Since everyone in the Luftwaffe—both pilots and personnel—required watches, the wheels of the watch industry turned once again.

Starting in the 1960s, Heuer supplied these individuals with timepieces robust enough to withstand the rigors and shocks of use in an airplane’s cockpit.

The chronograph that Heuer made for them, known affectionately as the “Bund” by collectors, was of mammoth proportions: a 43mm monocoque case of brushed steel surmounted by a rotating bezel. Over this watch’s lifetime, it saw many different dial configurations—some with military markings, some without—but all using that same 43mm case.

However, starting in 1974, a new type of Autavia was produced, using the same cushion case as late-1960s Autavias. But this Autavia and featured a dial with bold luminous Arabic numerals that many collectors deem to be military-inspired. This gave rise to the nickname "Bund."

Details on this version of Bund—Reference 73663—are murky. No one knows exactly when it went out of production or even how many were made. And it was rarely seen, only appearing in obscure German brochures.

Its military inspiration is clear in the design: a triple-register dial layout with large luminous Arabic numerals. The MH bezel drives home the watch’s time-keeping capabilities, indispensable for a pilot.

The Reference 73663 Bundeswehr has an incredible combination of features: the cushion case, which is as comfortable as it is visually-stunning, and a reliable hand-cranked Valjoux 7736 movement.

Coming from a close friend of Analog/Shift, this Bund is blessedly free from the mistreatment—read: hard wear—of most vintage pieces, with a crisp case and a weathered look to the handset.

Flying more under-the-radar than other military-inspired watches, this Bund is one you’ll never see coming, but now that you have, you’re not likely to forget.


SKU: AS02264

Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown and pushers). Reference 73663. Valjoux 7736 Manually-Wound Movement.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition with crisp bevels and moderate signs of wear. Bezel is in very good condition. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and patina to the luminescent elements. Signed crown. Case back has some signs of wear.

Includes one 20mm dark brown leather strap.

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