If you haven’t been following along on HODINKEE Live, I’m over in the UAE for what is quickly becoming an unmissable event on the global horological events calendar – Dubai Watch Week. It’s been an absolute blast hosting a few sessions (with the likes of Christian Selmoni and Kurt Klaus), sharing what it is we exactly do at HODINKEE, and meeting tons of new friends. Of course a highlight of coming all the way over to Dubai for Watch Week are the watches. And though I’ve seen my fair share of the high-comps, this TAG Heuer is the one I’m still thinking about.
DWW host and seminal retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons have launched a few products to commemorate this year’s event – all of them cool – though this one being a standout for me. Taking the successful TAG Heuer Autavia 02 (full review + video by Jon Bues here), they’ve made some aesthetic changes that make a world of difference.
First, the dial is no longer black like the traditional version or even silver like the Jack Heuer Edition, but a beautiful cream color dial that I have never seen on a TAG Heuer. The color and texture are milky white, and really remind me of something like you’d find on a 6239 Daytona with a serial number in the 9xx,xxx range. You know the watches, they look like this. The lume plots on this dial and on these hands are again darker than what we’ve seen on other Autavias, and they complement well.
The sub-registers aren’t black here either, instead taking a stunning caramel “tropical” color that to me, is the nicest rendition of an artifically sun-kissed dial I have ever seen. The color, the texture, and the over all pattern of this “desert sand” dials on these is just spot-on, and in homage to not only the sands of the UAE, but the types of dial often found on the great chronographs sold in the region in yesteryear.
The bezel is no longer black, but again “faded” to brown which completes the complete tropical, aged look. And because the Seddiqis don’t do anything without going all the way, the strap on this limited edition? Yup, it’s camel leather.
The look of this watch is simply fantastic – I saw it on the press preview day and immediately fell in love with the organic brown earth tones of it. The look is proper vintage, and as I said above, I think it’s the nicest execution of faux-aging I’ve seen to date, across all brands. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Mr. Mohammed Seddiqi himself was involved with the development of the project, and he himself as you may remember, is a very serious vintage watch collector. You can feel the touch of a connoisseur on this watch.
Only 150 pieces of the UAE Autavia will be made by TAG Heuer and they will, of course, only be available in the UAE. Just ten pieces are available this week during the Dubai Watch Week, while the remeining 140 will be delivered throughout December and January. The price of the watch is AED21,500, and the technical specs on the watch remain the same as the standard Autavia (in-house 02 caliber, etc). If you are interested in purchasing one, they will be available exclusively at TAG Heuer retailers in the UAE. I would recommend calling the Seddiqi-owned TAG Heuer boutique in the Dubai Mall as I can imagine they will be receiving the largest allocation. Another option it to contact one of these retailers in the region. As I mentioned, I saw some incredible pieces this week in Dubai, but this is the one that I felt had the most charm of them all. This is a really special watch, for sure.