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Heuer Autavia 'Viceroy' - Ref. 1163


Straight Facts

While the Carrera gets all the attention - the Heuer Autavia is actually the ‘OG’ Heuer. A combination of ‘Automotive’ and ‘Aviation’ - the Autavia line originally started as dash mounted rally timers made for motorsport and aviation applications. It was not until the early 1960s that first Autavia wrist chronographs came around. The first generation Autvaia - known as the 2446 - used screw in cases with Valjoux 72 movements - while the second generation case with used a snap-back case or ‘Compressor’ Case - hence the model shift to 2446C. This watch, however, comes from one of the models most iconic series - the Third Generation ‘Cushion Case’ Autavia, which was the first to get Heuer’s Cal 11 automatic winding chronograph movement.,

Not only does the present example use the iconic Cushion Case - but this is also one of the most fascinating back stories of any watch ever. This was the watch that SAVED Heuer. You read that right. During the 1960s Heuer cemented its reputation with auto racing - and cigarette brand Viceroy came to them seeking a collaboration on a seven-month promotional offer: anyone who bought 10 packs of cigarettes were to be extended a special price of $88 for its Autavia chronograph - which was typically a $200 watch! As is still the case, cigarette brands have incredible marketing reach and budgets - and could bring the Heuer brand to an entirely new segment of the American market.

On Heuer’s end of the bargain was the Autavia ref. 1163V model. The brand based the model on the standard Autavia ref. 1163, which featured red painted hands and 12 numerals in the left register. It was typically fitted with a tachymeter bezel, but this present example is fitted with a bezel featuring both hour and minute markers. It was not uncommon for buyers to request a bezel change; many examples of this same reference are seen fitted with this type of bezel. Our friends at HODINKEE wrote an incredible full-length story on this marketing promotion and you can more about it here.

TLDR; this promotion - and this watch - saved Heuer and the present example in virtually new old stock condition is one of the best modern watchmaking (and marketing stories) that can be accessible to anyone at any price!

*Some marks or spots on the dial are reflections or dust on the crystal and are due to high intensity strobe lighting used while photographing. They are not actually on the watch or visible in natural lighting.

Stainless Steel 1970's Automatic Sport

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From Rolex & Patek Philippe, to Cartier & Audemars Piguet. As collectors first, we love the small details that separate the Submariner from Daytona and Calatrava from Royal Oak. This is why you'll find our curated assortment spans decades of generations of models and brands. We believe that watches don't just tell time, they tell history - and life is too short to wear a boring watch.

Oliver & Clarke

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