Ah yes, the Autavia, the return of a legend, the born again king the– wait, we’ve done this already? Oh yeah, we did. Back in March of 2019, we saw TAG Heuer release the Autavia Isograph watch, a fantastic looking timepiece with a brand new movement that promised to be extremely accurate. The hairspring of the movement was made of a secret carbon-composite material, the formula for which was as closely guarded as the 11 secret herbs and spices used in the recipe for KFC’s chicken.
However, a few months later, the Autavia Isograph disappeared from shop windows and from TAG Heuer’s website too. We reached out to TAG Heuer themselves who, rather unsurprisingly, gave us a meandering committee-style answer. Some rumours came around that the alloy used for the spring hadn’t been perfected by the time it was due to sell (or TAG didn’t expect there to be an issue), and the Autavia Isograph was pulled from sale altogether.
Happily, though, it’s back! The Autavia is back in business sans the Isograph moniker. The new watch uses the tried and tested TAG Heuer Calibre 5, just like the Isograph, without the fancy hairspring material. The Calibre 5 is based on either an ETA 2824-2 movement or a Sellita SW200, depending on the supply at the time. Luckily, that and the retail price are the only things that have changed on the already amazing-looking Autavia collection.
With Autavia being a portmanteau of Autosport and Aviation, the design language seems quite clear with these watches. They mostly feature distressed gradient dials which give a distinctive ‘vintage aviation’ look, while bold text and a strong case shape give the motorsports-style touches. Motorsports and aviation are two themes that take up entire watches by themselves, so putting them together into one watch and keeping the identities present in the design is quite a challenge.
The watch will now cost between $3000 and $4000, depending on your choice of case, strap and bezel material. You can have either a steel or bronze case, with either a leather strap or steel bracelet (a NATO is also included) and you can have either a steel or ceramic bezel. The old watch costs between $3500 and $4300, which undoubtedly covered the value of the Isograph spring. Hopefully, we’ll see a return of TAG Heuer’s hairspring, it had real potential and was a sign of another influential brand upping the stakes in the watch market just like Rolex and Omega have done in the past. Until then, the Autavia still has its great looks.