Baselworld 2019: TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph

You would be forgiven for forgetting that the Autavia was originally conceived as a type of dual purpose motorsports and aviation watch. The big Autavia releases of recent years are very much in keeping with the Heuer racing tradition. But, of course, the -avia in Autavia is a reference to aviation, and TAG Heuer has reinvigorated this historic mark with a new collection of traditional pilot’s watches bearing the Autavia name. Designed with a vintage aesthetic, these new Autavias have state of the art movements, a budget friendly price point, and plenty of dial and case material variation throughout the range.

TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph

Case Material: Stainless steel, bronze
Dial: Blue, black, grey (steel); green, brown (bronze)
Dimensions: 42mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 meters
Movement: Calibre 5
Strap/bracelet: brown leather strap, stainless steel bracelet
Price: $3500-$4300


Let’s break the collection down a bit. We have a total of five distinct references in stainless steel, with three dial colors (blue, black, and grey) on a strap, and two (blue and black) on a bracelet. The blue and black dialed watches have matching ceramic bezels, but the grey has a striking steel bezel. The presentation of this watch in particular is winning me over, with the color tone of the bezel matching up nicely with the innermost section of the smokey dial. It’s a nice effect.

The evolution of the Autavia

In addition to the steel cased watches, TAG is also introducing the watch in a bronze case with brown and green dials. Green is emerging as a trendy dial color in Basel, and combined with the rugged bronze case, this watch has a distinct military inspired feel. All watches in the collection have the same 42 mm case shape.

Carbon-composite hairspring

So, we have a presentation here that is a definite throwback in terms of appearance, but under the hood ticks some thoroughly modern technology. The Isograph designation on the dial of this watch refers to the carbon-composite hairspring and accompanying custom balance wheel that TAG has developed, which should result in greater rate stability due to the hairspring’s lightweight and low-density material, making it impervious to magnetism and shock. All “isograph” designated watches are also chronometer certified. The Calibre 5 movement at work here is, at this point, pretty well battle-tested, and based on Sellita SW200’s, so this new Autavia should be reliably accurate for years.

Few brands have archives as deep as TAG Heuer, and it’s nice to see them come up with a new collection this year that isn’t strictly a rehash of the racing chronographs we have all become so familiar with. This collection could conceivably appeal to a completely different TAG customer with wildly different interests. TAG Heuer

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.