TAG Heuer presented this year at Baselworld a three hands models related to the historical Autavia Collection. While purists have argued that Autavia should be a chronograph, TAG Heuer announced the intentions for a chronograph to be launched later this year. The new TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph collection is inspired by their vintage, original Autavia Collection. Leaving controversies aside, the new Autavia Collection brings the Calibre 5 and its carbon-composite hairspring in the game. With the occasion of GPHG nomination in the “Chronometry” Category, I present you the three hands collection.
Hands-on Review TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph Collection
Leaving aside any controversies that the new Autavia Collection has sparked in March, the timepieces had tremendous success. Many of the European dedicated pages have the Autavia watches sold out. And I can understand why. The appearance is rather lovely and the price balanced.
First Autavia wristwatches were based on the success of two and a half decades of dashboard instrumentation for aircraft and racing cars. In 1962, CEO at the time Jack Heuer launched the Autavia wrist pieces. The success of the chronograph was impressive. The Autavia pieces gained popularity between the armed forces and also racing enthusiasts. The Autavia Collection was available until 1985.
Graceful in stainless steel
The Autavia Isograph Collection is cased in a 42mm diameter stainless steel case. The has a robust look with relatively long lugs. The case is decorated with a predominant brushed finish. The lugs present a polished chamfering with a more pronounced cut at the end.
The case is covered by a bidirectional rotating bezel. Depending on the watch, the bezel insert is blue or black ceramic or stainless steel. The bezel’s minute/seconds register, including the 12 o’clock triangle is identically marked on all bezel variants. Autavia is fitted with a raised sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment.
The crown is relatively large, but still well proportioned with the rest of the watch. The crown’s TAG Heuer logo makes a nice show with its black background.
On the backside, we found a beautiful stainless steel caseback. The screwed-in caseback is nicely decorated with automotive and aeronautical motives: the propeller and the racing car wheel.
To notice the fast-changing proprietary system. The system permits to change between the leather straps and/or bracelet in a matter of seconds. The metal bracelet is fitted with a nice folding clasp. Actually, the entire bracelet is interesting. The finish is a matt brush that confers a good hideout for fine scratches – true sports intended feature.
The leather straps are fitted with a polished/brushed pin buckle decorated with the brand’s name. To appreciate the fact that the brushed side is realised in the most exposed area – for increased scratch protection (or better said, for less visible scratches).
The Autavia Collection has a water resistance of 100m.
Good looking grained-fume dial
Regardless of the colour scheme used, blue, black or grey, the dial is a winner. The light centre that gets darker going to the exterior is beautiful. The added grain makes it even more interesting, highlights the vintage-inspired character.
The dials are complex decorated. At first, the Arabic numerals with rich, volumetric SuperLuminova stands out. Even more in the dark. The hands are skeletonised and generously filled with luminescent.
The dial features an external ring with three-dimensional hour indexes and an outer railtrack as minutes/seconds register.
TAG Heuer opted for a 6 o’clock position for the date. The sloping aperture with printed frame reveals a white on black date ring. The date window visibility is good and the position on the dial is well balanced in watch’s face layout.
The TAG Heuer logo is printed on the top of the dial. The lower side of the dial bears the print of “Autavia Isograph, Chronometer” – a sign of what hides behind the dial, the Calibre 5.
An important movement for TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph Collection is powered by the new and extraordinary Calibre 5. The main features of this new movement are the aluminium alloy balance wheel and the carbon-composite hairspring.
The carbon-composite hairspring is produced with the collet already attached. That means an antimagnetic lightweight, low-density hairspring that is almost unaffected by gravity and shocks. Moreover, the balance wheel is mounted with antishock springs on both sides. TAG Heuer is the exclusive manufacturer of these hairsprings, which are designed and produced in its in-house laboratory in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The movement is chronometric certified and brought Autavia in the Chronometry category of GPHG.
The movement is decently decorated for the price (having in mind also the technological novelty). The Calibre 5 presented at Baselworld presented perlage, Geneva stripes, brushed and sandblasted surfaces.
Final thoughts and considerations
I have to admit I was a bit sceptic about the TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph Collection. I asked myself if another vintage-inspired collection is what the market and TAG Heuer needs. Even if we talk about the well-known Autavia. But seeing and having them in my hands, I can understand why they had such a success. The watches are well built. They offer innovation and exceptional chronometric characteristics. And moreover, TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph Collection is based on a legend. Plus, the look is very eye-catching.
Autavia Isograph feels good on the wrist. The 42mm and long lugs sit well on the wrist. I usually wear pieces in the 39-41mm territory but Autavia with its slightly curved lugs looks more than ok. It was kind of unexpected.
The legibility is very good on all dial variants. The choice of colour stays only in personal preferences. I was charmed by the blue dial variant. I have to admit though – if I need to choose a variant for me, as a favourite, I am in trouble. The metal bracelet also looks good.
I am asking myself if part of the TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph success can be attributed to the McSteamy (Patrick Dempsey) association. Regardless of the answer, the collection is beautiful and I am glad for its success and for the GPHG nomination.
TAG Heuer Autavia Collection Technical Specifications and Price
Reference WBE5112.FC8266: blue dial and bezel, brown leather strap – 3.500CHF, 3.600USD, 2.900GBP
Reference WBE5110.FC8266: black dial and bezel, brown leather strap – 3.500CHF, 3.600USD, 2.900GBP
Reference WBE5111.FC8267: grey dial, steel bezel, brown leather strap – 3.400CHF, 3.500USD, 2.850GBP
Reference WBE5112.EB0173: blue dial and bezel, stainless steel bracelet and NATO strap – 3.850CHF, 3.950USD, 3.200GBP
Reference WBE5110.EB0173: black dial and bezel, stainless steel bracelet and NATO strap – 3.850CHF, 3.950USD, 3.200GBP
- Automatic Calibre 5 with new in-house Isograph hairspring, chronometer-certified, diameter 26 mm, 25 jewels, balance oscillating at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), 38-hour power reserve
- Date, hour, minute and seconds
- Diameter 42 mm, case in stainless steel, bidirectional rotating bezel in blue or black ceramic or stainless steel, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, water-resistant to 100 m (10 bar)
- Blue, black or grey smoked dial, rhodium-plated indexes and hands filled with SuperLuminova®
- Light or dark brown calfskin strap or stainless-steel bracelet, pin buckle in stainless steel