With a practical design backed by robust specs, TAG Heuer's latest Autavia is an ideal daily-wear option.
The Autavia name, a contraction of "automobile" and "aviation," has been associated with TAG Heuer, née Heuer, since the early 1930s, when the Swiss company produced a series of dashboard timers suitable for use in both cars and planes. It wasn't until Heuer ceased production of dashboard timing devices, though, that the Autavia name was first used in relation to wristwatches when Jack Heuer unveiled the Autavia chronograph in 1962.
Autavia Calibre 5 Chronometer WBE5114 Blue Dial On Leather Strap
And that's how most collectors and enthusiasts recognize the name today, as a chronograph. Yet, last spring, TAG Heuer revealed a collection of watches that reimagined how the classic chronograph should be perceived. Which means, just like the Autavia's chronograph sibling from the 1960s, the Carrera, the Autavia is now available as a three-hander with date, with a modern design and an entry-level price tag of around $3,000.
The TAG Heuer Autavia Calibre 5 Chronometer
While the Autavia's name may give the impression that the watch historically has spent equal amounts of time on the wrists of pilots and drivers, it's more accurate to say that it's seen more time at the track than above the clouds. This has all changed with the TAG Heuer Autavia Calibre 5 Chronometer, however, as it incorporates design elements associated with both traditional pilot's watches as well as military field-style timepieces. Take, for example, the bidirectional 60-minute bezel, enabling the quick and precise calculation of elapsed time, or the chunky sword hands and applied Arabic numerals on the dial, all filled with a significant amount of green Super-LumiNova, allowing for clear-cut legibility whether day or night. The knurled crown is oversize without being over-the-top, a reference to the larger crowns commonly found on watches meant for flight.
Autavia Calibre 5 Chronometer WBE5114 Black Dial On Bracelet
Protected by a domed sapphire crystal that has undergone an anti-reflective treatment, the gradient and textured dial of the new Autavia is complemented by a polished ceramic bezel that, when rotated in either direction, appears to display different shades of its rich color. At three o’clock, the crisp edges surrounding the bezel flow into two layers of knurling on the crown, which sits between the beveled lugs of the sleek stainless steel case that is water-resistant up to 100 meters. The brushed case profile gives off a matte feel that is appropriate for the watch's practical nature, especially compared to the fully polished case used to house the contemporary Autavia chronographs.
Autavia Calibre 5 Chronometer WBE5114 Blue Dial On Bracelet
These modern iterations of the Autavia wear smaller than their 42mm diameter might indicate, thanks to an overall slim case profile. The watches are available on either a brown leather strap or a robust stainless-steel bracelet constructed of fine-brushed and polished links with a double push-button deployant clasp. TAG Heuer has also outfitted the collection with a modular system for changing the watch band, similar to what's found on the brand's line of Connected smartwatches. This makes switching between the strap and bracelet a tool-less process.
Autavia Calibre 5 Chronometer WBE5114 Black Dial On Leather Strap
TAG Heuer has turned to its tried-and-tested caliber 5 for use here, a reliable workhorse of an automatic movement with 38 hours of running autonomy and accuracy specced by COSC, the official Swiss governing body of accuracy and precision in wristwatches. Currently, not many TAG Heuer watches are offered with a chronometer certification; in fact, these new Autavias will be the only COSC-certified watches from the brand in the HODINKEE Shop. Protecting the movement is a stainless steel case back engraved with a unique propeller and tire motif that pays tribute to the watch's historic identity.