Have you ever caught yourself staying up way, way too late, looking at vintage watches online and wishing they would make a return to the market? I know I have – and a long time before my job made it acceptable. Well if you’re part of that club, there’s good news on the way from TAG Heuer.
Following a conversation with Jeff Stein at On The Dash – a must read for vintage Heuer fans – TAG Heuer has announced a campaign asking the public which vintage Autavia chronograph they want to see re-launched in 2017. A racer’s watch, developed in the 1960s, it’s one of the Heuer’s “Big Three,” along with the Carrera and the Monaco, and both reference 2446 and reference 3646 have been gaining momentum in the secondhand market.
Born in 1962, the Autavia Chronograph is named after a series of “Automobile” and “Aviation” dashboard timekeepers launched 30 years prior. Made for racing enthusiasts, it was a popular choice among Formula One drivers, who adopted the watch during the 1960s and 1970s for its sleek and sizable case – that’s right, 38 mm was once considered large – and its useful rotating bezel.
TAG Heuer have now selected 16 Autavias – 12 first generation models and four “fantasy” models created through Photoshop – for “The Autavia Cup,” a single elimination playoff competition designed to pick four finalists. The competition starts on March 17th, the first day of Baselworld 2016, and will be hosted on autaviacup.com.
Voting will take place over three rounds – two of which will be led by the public. The first round takes place between March 17th and 31st, followed the next day by a second online round to determine four finalists by April 14th. At that point, an internal Products Committee led by the TAG Heuer’s CEO and the President of the LVMH Group Watch Division, Jean-Claude Biver, will pick the winner – a decision which they will announce online on April 18th.
The competition will include the following models: Ref. 2446 Mk1, Ref. 2446 Mk1-SN, Ref. 3646 Mk1-SN, Ref. 2446-Trans-SN, Ref. 2446-Tachy, Ref. 2446c-NS, Ref. 2446 Mk2, Ref. 2446 Mk4, Ref. 2446c-SN, Ref. 3646 Tachy, Ref. 3646 Mk3, Ref. 2446 Mk1 Steel, Ref. 2446 Mk1 Steel-M, Ref. 3646 Mk1 Lume, Ref. 2446 Mk1 Lume, Ref. 2446-Mk3.
And so the waiting game begins, but already we know the winning watch – and hopefully the re-issue in 2017 – should have a rotating bezel, a screw-back or compression case, a manually wound movement (our guess is that TAG Heuer will replace the winning Valjoux movement with one of their own), and either a black or a panda dial.
While TAG Heuer will have the ultimate say, giving consumers the chance to weigh in on a future release 12 months before it is unveiled is a novel approach, and a big deal. Not only does it give TAG Heuer very little time to react, it gives the public unprecedented access to their future plans. Heck, we’re anxiously waiting to find out about the watches they’ll release in just a few days. More from TAG Heuer here.
Don’t have the HODINKEE App yet? Get years of amazing watch content plus new stories, breaking news, and access to great new features like HODINKEE Live, free on iOS.