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There are some watches that have become, for lack of a better word, legendary. Whether technically or historically significant, beloved of a famous person, or just plain cool, each watch brand has one model that’s regarded as quintessential. For Heuer, that model is without question the Autavia.
Heuer released its first Autavia dashboard timer in 1933. This clock used the Valjoux 59 movement and had a large pusher at 9 o’clock. Released from 1933 to 1958, the somewhat cluttered appearance of the dial led to its complete redesign by the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Jack Heuer.
A year after joining the family company, Jack found himself in the cockpit of a racing car as navigator. The dial of the Autavia dashboard timer in the car proved too hard to read in the car’s bone-shaking interior, and he misread the dial by a minute. Infuriated, Jack set about to make the Autavia easier to read, giving it a large central minute hand.
When he assumed leadership of the company a few years later, he saw the potential for the dashboard timer to transition to the wrist. What followed was the Autavia wrist chronograph, the first wristwatch Heuer ever released to have a model name. The Autavia also made waves in that it was the first automotive-inspired watch to be released with race car driving as its sole inspiration.
After all, the Rolex Daytona was a few years from existence, and even though the Omega Speedmaster was initially advertised as a racing watch, it found applications in less terrestrial pursuits.
Soon the Autavia attracted the attention of Formula 1 drivers, with people like Jochen Rindt sporting Autavias on the wrist. And the cushion-case variants powered by the Chronomatic movement found even more notoriety when a certain Swiss driver started hawking them on the racing grid. In fact, his enthusiasm for one particular reference of Autavia led to its being known by his name in collector circles.
For many collectors, the “Jo Siffert” Autavia—Reference 1163—is the Autavia to own. Aesthetically and technically, it has it all. It combines the game-changing Chronomatic movement with a cushion case that’s eminently comfortable on the wrist, as well as a sprightly color way marked by the bright blue of the chronograph hand.
But it’s perhaps best-loved by petrolheads for its association with Jo Siffert. Simply put, Siffert loved racing. His humble beginnings—paying race entry fees by selling wildflowers or scrap metal—as a privateer in the Formula 1 racing circuit, plus his dogged persistence, made him one of the sport’s most popular icons.
And he was one of the first drivers to adopt Heuer’s new chronograph design, appearing with it in press conferences, even selling it to other drivers right on the race track.
This particular Reference 1163 is often referred to as a Mark VI dial. The case shows sign of honest wear. It comes complete with a Gay Frères beads of rice bracelet.
With an incredible case retaining strong factory brushing, this is truly a remarkable piece, and a favorite of the Analog/Shift team.
Stainless steel case is 42MM, excluding crown. Circa 1970's. Heuer Reference 1163. Heuer Caliber 11 Automatic Chronograph movement.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in good condition, showing even wear from age and use. "Panda" dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing and showing a fine, even patination across the hour markers and handset. Bidirectional tachymeter bezel shows a chip between 300-400. Heuer signed crown. Unsigned screw down caseback.
Includes 20MM GF "Beads of Rice" style bracelet with Heuer signed clasp.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options