New Watch! • 31 May 2019
TAG Heuer Revives The Autavia
One of the most important releases from TAG Heuer in recent years occurred at Baselworld earlier this year, with a watch that looks to reshape current notions of what an every-day timepiece offers. The new TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph revives the Autavia name (a portmanteau of Automotive and Aviation) that has been in use since 1933. While Autavia’s history has been in the production of dashboard gauges and chronographs, this new family member has a three-handed setting. Isograph is in reference to something contemporary, and even more interesting – a new vision for movement reliability.
Isograph is TAG Heuer’s new proprietary regulation system, which uses a carbon composite hairspring that significantly improves the performance of the Caliber 5 movement. Improvements are found in it being lighter and less prone to irregularities in its oscillation, the material is anti-magnetic making it unaffected by electromagnetic fields, and it is also highly unaffected by the changes in temperature that can cause uneven timekeeping.
This new hairspring was first seen in the Carrera Caliber Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph, quietly released in January of this year as a proof of concept for the technology. It is exciting to see such cutting edge movements being unveiled at an affordable price point so quickly after their initial release, a trickle-down that can sometimes take years in the watch industry. It has also been hinted that this technology will be used for other watches in TAG Heuer’s stable, including a chronograph.
Not only does the new Autavia Isograph collection feature some serious engineering, but there are a range of different colour options that mean there is something for everyone. The cases measure 42mm in diameter, with five different coloured steel references in total, and one in bronze, with all of the dials being finished with a fumé-esque radial smokiness. This eye-catching gradient plays nicely with the symmetry of a date-window at 6 o’clock. The dial also features bold and instantly readable Arabic numerals, which are printed with Super-LumiNova, adding another feature for day-to-day practicality in low light settings.
The bronze reference follows the precedent set by a number of brands over the last 12 months, by combining the warm-toned metal with a green dial and calfskin strap option. The case has an attractive brushed finish, and a solid caseback made in hypoallergenic titanium, so as to prevent any skin irritation.
Another surprising but very exciting feature for a watch at this price point is the option for a ceramic bezel. Most watch brands spare the use of this highly scratch resistant material for their professional diving watches, meaning they are in a price point several multiples of the new Autavia Isograph. The combination of a ceramic bezel with the new Isograph movement makes this collection excellent value relative to other watches of similar cost.
One other very practical feature included is a quick-change strap system, which requires only the push of a button at the rear of the strap near the lugs. This is another feature seen increasingly on every-day watches across a range of brands (notably Cartier), meaning the owner is able to change the look of their watch without specific tools or a visit to the boutique. There are options for a steel bracelet (on the steel models) with a NATO strap, or a calfskin strap with pin buckle.
In this new collection, TAG Heuer have breathed new life into a watch family that was once focused only on the chronograph, and at a price point which offers significant value for what is on offer. The Autavia Isograph paints a picture of quality modern watchmaking, expressed through a ton of practical every-day features. In this new three-handed format, the Autavia is appealing to everyone, not just vintage collectors and automotive enthusiasts, but those who want their daily watch to be both robust and attractive.