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To us here at analog/shift, the Heuer Autavia (short for "Automotive" and "Aviation") means racing. It was worn by greats like Jo Siffert, Mario Andretti, and Jochen Rindt. And the reference 11063, the last incarnation of the Autavia, is seen by many collectors as the embodiment of Heuer's mastery of the racing chronograph.
Heuer first released the Autavia in 1962. The earliest models had screw case backs, unusual for racing chronographs of the period. Then, around 1969, Heuer shifted to a snap-back compressor case for improved water resistance. But in the 1970s Heuer shifted to the large, cushion-style cases that are most often associated with the model. This increase in case size was to accommodate their new Caliber 12 movement.
The cal. 12 took the previous cal. 11 and gave it a higher beat, which required Heuer (in partnership with Debois-Depraz and Buren) to change the gear train, escapement, and balance wheel. They also improved upon some weaknesses with the chronograph mechanism in the cal. 11 that allowed the hammer cam jumper to slip out of place. The result was a more accurate chronograph movement that would become the creme de la creme of Heuer's chronograph calibers.
The ref. 11063 was first introduced in 1984 and was the last of the Autavias. It saw several different dial and hand configurations, such as the "Viceroy" with its reverse panda dial (which also came in a black case, which was used in military service); a black dial with grey indices; and even a GMT. But among the rarest of these are the Diver 100 models, the ref. 11063P with its distinctive scalloped "Rolex-style" bezel and Mercedes hands.
Development of the ref. 11063P probably began in the early 1980s, but it has been suggested that it was never actually intended for sale to the general public. The early 1980s were a time of financial crisis for the Swiss watch industry. Faced by the encroaching Japanese Quartz technology, SSIH (the holding company that owned Tissot, Omega, and Lemania) was forced by the Swiss banks to merge with ASUAG, forming SMH, the ancestor to the Swatch Group. SSIH lost Lemania in the merger, having to sell it to a holding company owned by Piaget. This new company, Nouvelle Lemania, then bought Heuer-Leonidas from Jack Heuer.
To soften the blow of being let go, several executives at Heuer were given carte blanche with watch parts and watches instead of a traditional severance package. This is most likely the origin of the Diver 100, which has parts that can't be found on any other Heuer watches, such as a bezel similar to that found on Rolex Submariners, as well as Mercedes hands - an incredibly rare feature for a Heuer Chronograph. Speaking of the bezel, it's rumored that some of these watches were fitted with a decompression bezel (notable for the accents of red at 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock), but the facts are thin and even many top Heuer collectors share different opinions on the matter. While Heuer did release the Autavia ref. 1163P and the ref. 11630P with that bezel, it was never really intended to go on the Diver 100, and examples that bear it cannot be decisively traced back to Heuer.
That said, whether the Diver 100 has a decompression bezel or not, it remains an über rare execution of Autavia that has been coveted and zealously searched-for by many an Autavia collector; we're thrilled to be able to offer you one here.
Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown). Heuer Reference 11063P, Heuer Automatic Calibre 12 Movement. 1984.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition, with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing, and only light signs of wear and use in keeping with its age, including some light scratches on the front of the case. Dial is in excellent condition with no major blemishes, discoloration, or signs of hand drag. Luminescent elements on the hour markers have gained a beautiful even patina that is matched by the hands. Signed crown; unsigned case back.
Includes one 21mm Tropic strap with Heuer buckle.