Here's a fun fact about the Heuer Autavia in 1972: initially it wasn't a good seller. But its slow acceleration to popularity - no thanks in part to a timely sales promotion with Viceroy cigarettes - does not fake watches Tag Heuer diminish the fact that it was, and still is, one of the most beautiful automatic chronographs ever made. And after a couple of first Autavia reissues in 2016 and 2017, the TAG Heuer heritage collection has finally drawn inspiration from the Viceroy with Heuer Heritage Caliber Heuer 02, a special reissue of that classic 1972 sport.
As a portofanteau of "automotive" and "aviation", Autavia appeared for the first time in 1933 as a chronometer and chronometer for racing cars, boats and airplanes. It would not have taken the form of a wristwatch until almost 30 years later, in 1961, when Jack Heuer introduced the first Autavia watch with the characteristic rotating bezel, a novelty for Heuer. As already mentioned, the TAG Heuer inheritance line has already revisited the versions of the first Autavi ones, first with the Caliber Heuer 02 (reviewed here by Ariel), then with a limited edition variant built to celebrate Jack's eighty-fifth birthday Heuer. But both editions pay tribute to hand-wound chronographs in the Autavia archive. This watch is the first time we see a reissue of an automatic version, the first of which appeared in 1969 equipped with the new Cal. 11 movement.
As the story goes, there were two key Heuer automatons from the early seventies, and Heuer's collectors both knew them quite well. Crown on the left, buttons on the right. A tonneau-shaped stainless steel case with black dial and double bi-compax white register, completed by a framed date opening at 6:00 am. A special version could be purchased at a considerable discount through Viceroy, sending the boxtop from a carton of the brand's cigarettes. This fake watches special variant embellished the 1163 standard a little, adding red inserts and red triangle tips both for the brushed steel hour hands and for the minute hands. The Viceroy edition was also equipped with a tachymetric bezel, instead of the most desirable and functional 60 minute / 12 hour bezel. Everything else between the two versions - case, Cal. 11 movement, applied dials, etc. They were otherwise the same.
TAG Heuer seems to lean towards the sportier partnership variant for this reprint (without going so far as to say it is the "Viceroy", probably for brand or trademark reasons), but with some slight updates - that is, with the ring nut, which is a 12-hour bi-directional aluminum bezel with oversized numbers, which differ a little from the original which overlaps both 12-hour and 60-minute scales on the same frame. It is a strange choice to use a different bezel than the original material, since the minute / hour variant has already been reproduced in the Jack Heuer edition. But it is likely to be deliberate - ensuring that the new Viceroy is more "inspired" than a direct reissue of the original.