While Basel is full of brand new surprises this year, one of 2017’s biggest stories really started last year. Back in 2016, TAG Heuer announced a contest to design a reissue of the classic Autavia line, allowing the public to vote on their favorites between a wide selection of classic Autavia models. After long deliberation, the winning choice was the 2446 Mk. III “Jochen Rindt”: a stunning three-register made famous by the only man ever to win the Formula 1 World Championship posthumously. The new 2017 Autavia not only pays tribute to this classic design, it also shows off some of TAG Heuer’s latest in-house manufacture expertise and exhibits a bold new sales strategy for the brand.
Like so many modern reissues, the new Autavia has been upsized from the original. This can be the downfall of a heritage-inspired design, but the TAG wears the new size better than most. It’s only a modest increase from the original 39mm to 42mm, and the proportions remain somewhat balanced. The case finish remains pure vintage as well, eschewing more modern mixed surfaces for a flashy 100 percent polished look.
Case shape is similarly classic Autavia, although the long straight lugs of the 2446 “Rindt” might be less instantly recognizable than the later tonneau-cased Autavias. The bezel, however, is as always the Autavia’s signature dish. Big, coin-edged, bi-directional and with a bold diver-style hours scale, this black aluminum piece has always set the Autavia apart from other racing chronographs of the era. It shouldn’t work, by all means, but it does brilliantly as it has for the past 55 years. Finishing off the case are midsize mushroom-style pushers and a beautifully signed crown.