You could argue — convincingly — that motorsports enjoyed their heyday in the 1970s, when racing flicks were the toast of Hollywood and iconic leading men like Paul Newman and Steve McQueen took respites from their acting careers to compete in endurance races like 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Baja 1000.
And now there’s a chronograph that perfectly captures auto racing’s most colorful period.
A collaboration between TAG Heuer and online watch bible Hodinkee, the revamped Autavia Calibre Heuer 02 sportswatch is an homage to the rare “Orange Boy” racing chrono from the Me Decade, now with some slight design tweaks and a modern in-house movement.
As Hodinkee notes, “Heuer was the automotive timepiece for much of the late '60s and early '70s.” It was certainly a favorite amongst motorsports stars during that time frame (as seen on the wrists of “Driver of the Century” Mario Andretti, as well as racing icons Jo Siffert and Niki Lauda). But the auto-inspired Orange Boy was so rare it was actually considered an “aberration” during the production process; fewer than 30 of the original timepieces are known to the collector community.
Hodinkee’s update maintains the orange accents on the dial and racing stripes on the minute counter, as well as a tachymeter (to calculate speed) and an automatic watch movement; however, the crown has been moved to the right-hand side. The Autavia features a stainless-steel case with an exhibition caseback and an old-school “beads of rice” style bracelet that harkens back to the bracelets you find on vintage Heuers. It has a power reserve of 75 hours and water resistance of 100m.
The 42mm Autavia, an exclusive to Hodinkee, is available for preorder at $6,050. Fitting of its heritage, this is an extremely limited edition — act fast.