The explorer within all of us is inescapable. As we walk city streets and gaze endlessly out of office windows, we crave adventure. Be it exploring ancient ruins for a lost artifact or crossing the desert in search of a hidden city, we seek to journey to new and exciting places. And for our expeditions, we only need a rucksack on our shoulders, a good looking hat, and a watch meant for it all: the TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph.*
Heuer Autavia dashboard timer, c. 1950s; Heuer Autavia ref. 2446 chronograph, c. 1960s.
First mounted on the dashboards of cars and planes, the Heuer Autavia has evolved into one of the most iconic chronographs ever built. Earning its name from the contraction of "automobile" and "aviation," the Autavia was the instrument for timing vehicles that wished to defy the human standards of velocity, on the ground or in the air. And now, tuned up for our modern world, the legendary timepiece returns ready to conquer new turf.
Recast as the Autavia Isograph, this famous timepiece now bears a rugged yet refined style in four new models available here in the HODINKEE Shop. At first glance, the Isograph’s deep smoky dial is alluring and commands attention that cannot be ignored, as a beautiful haze seems to float above it in wavering rays of light. Atop the dial rest bold Arabic numerals and sword-shaped hands, all emitting a warm green glow in perfect darkness.*
Protected by a domed sapphire crystal, the dial of the Autavia is complemented by a polished ceramic bezel that, when rotated in either direction, appears to display different shades of its rich color. At three o’clock, the crisp edges surrounding it flow into two layers of knurling on the signed crown, which sits between the brushed and mirror-finished beveled lugs of a sleek 100 meter water resistant stainless steel case.*
Powering the new Autavia is a chronometer-certified automatic caliber featuring a calendar complication— which displays the date at the bottom of the dial – and a stop-seconds function when setting the time. However, the crown jewel of the movement (no, it's not a diamond endstone) is TAG Heuer’s new proprietary oscillator, dubbed the Isograph. Unlike traditional oscillators comprised of all metallic alloys, the Isograph utilizes a carbon composite hairspring that is more resistant to temperature fluctuations and magnetism, thus resulting in superior precision timekeeping.
These modern iterations of the Autavia are engraved with an honorary propeller motif on their casebacks, and are designed in exceptional color variations of blue and black. They wear smaller than their 42mm diameter thanks to a slim case profile, and can be sported on either a brown leather strap or a robust stainless-steel bracelet constructed of fine-brushed and polished links with a double push button deployant clasp. Included with the bracelet is also a NATO strap for a more vintage aesthetic and utilitarian purpose.*
So, if you’re about to set out on your next adventure this summer and haven’t yet decided on a watch to bring, the Autavia Isograph is hands down the one to grab. Durable and luxurious at an affordable price, this is one of the best valued timepieces out there. Shop all four variations right here.