BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
TAG Heuer’s just dropped a new Autavia variant with no warning at all, not that I pay a huge amount of attention to marketing the emails in my inbox anyway. Reference CBE511A.FC8279 is a classy addition to the range of Autavias that, on the whole, look good. I remember when TAG Heuer’s designs missed the mark for me, but these days I think their watches look classy and attractive, and they haven’t fallen into the trap of adding too many foibles or decorative elements. Better to leave those to brands with better-equipped and more experienced departments.
This new watch will be exciting to some because of its new features, but some parts stay the same, which is also a good thing. For example, the case is still made of stainless steel and is 42mm in diameter. It still has a rotating bezel, too, complete with a black ceramic insert to match the black insert of the crown. A thick and comfy-looking leather strap secures the watch to the wrist, while a quick change system makes it easy to change the watch’s look in seconds. The case is water resistant to 100m.
The dial is clear and unfussy. This watch can be used as a pilot’s watch with ease (Autavia is a portmanteau of Autosport and Aviation, so it’s definitely a pilot’s watch if you want it to be). The hands and markers have SuperLumiNova applied, and TAG Heuer has refused to put a date window in the mix, which keeps it balanced.
Inside the watch is the calibre Heuer 02, which packs specs that other watches at this price point could only dream about. It has an 80-hour power reserve, a 4Hz beat rate, a flyback chronograph and a vertical clutch for the column-wheel-controlled chronograph. That means the chronograph experience is stutter-free, uninterrupted by resetting and can run freely without fear of damage over time. It’s also made in-house by TAG Heuer as well.
If you’re deciding between this watch and another big-name brand, then the TAG Heuer should favour well. A similarly-priced Breitling Navitimer also has a column-wheel movement with a vertical clutch but isn’t a flyback. A self-winding Omega Speedmaster doesn’t have a flyback function or a vertical clutch, and you aren’t getting any of the above from a Chopard Mille Miglia (the movement of which is not in-house, although that’s not a huge deal).
So, if you want a little piece of horology which could win you a game of Top Trumps, this could well be the one. The price is reasonable for what you get, especially when compared to what I’ve mentioned above. The price is €6550.
Visit TAG Heuer here.