A very rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with transitional screw-down caseback and tachometer scale

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  • Manufacturer: Heuer
    Year: 1968
    Reference No: 3646
    Case No: 82'848
    Model Name: Autavia
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, 92, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Steel buckle
    Dimensions: 38mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed. Outer caseback further stamped C2412-3

  • Catalogue Essay

    Deriving its name from the combination of the words “automobile” and “aviation”, the Heuer Autavia chronograph wristwatches from the 1960s were often found on the wrists of professional racecar drivers. First came the 1st execution, Autavia, presented in 1962, which was the first chronograph wristwatch by Heuer to be given a model name.

    The present Autavia Reference 3646 bearing serial number 82848 (from the mid to late 1960s) is particularly special, as it is believed by scholars to be the first known example to be fitted with a transitional screw-down case back.

    The other important difference on this rare example is the tachymetre dial. Most reference 3646 have plain dials, and research shows that only about 15-20 examples of the 3646 with this outer tachy scale are known to date. It was thought to have been a special order dial, hence why so few are seen today. Although serial numbers and case back engravings once seemed insignificant to your average collector, in today’s world of collectible wristwatches it has been seen time and time again that those numbers could in fact prove a watch’s origin.

    During the evolution of the Autavia screw back case model, the case, dial, and hands saw many subtle changes, known in the community as “executions”. This watch is the third execution “transitional case”, which covers a short period of circa 500 or so serial numbers. The biggest difference between this case and the standard third execution case is the straight finish on the lugs, the standard cases having bevelled edges. The other thing to note is the transitional case has a wide bezel, which is similar to the first execution (Note the transitional case does not take a thinner bezel, normally found on the third execution).

    This watch is a true treasure for any Heuer enthusiast with its combination of a transitional case with a tachometer dial, making it a very rare and highly collectable watch.

  • Maker Bio

    Heuer

    Swiss • 1860

    This iconic chronograph manufacturer has a long tradition of precision timekeeping. As early as 1882, founder Edouard Heuer held a patent for a chronograph watch; in 1887, he received a patent for an oscillating pinion, which is still in use today. These specialized timepieces have been at the heart of the firm's success, enabling the brand to be chosen as early timekeepers for the Olympics. In 1969, the company introduced their first automatic chronograph watch, the Monaco Heuer, which celebrated the Monaco Grand Prix. Other key chronograph models include the Autavia and the Carrera, all of which having become iconic models of the firm.

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Heuer

Ref. 3646
A very rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with transitional screw-down caseback and tachometer scale

1968
38mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed. Outer caseback further stamped C2412-3

Estimate
CHF10,000 - 15,000 

sold for CHF21,250

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: TWO

Geneva Auction 7 & 8 November 2015 6:30pm