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  • Manufacturer: Heuer
    Year: Circa 1962
    Reference No: 3646M
    Case No: 48'886
    Model Name: Autavia ' Big Sub' 1st execution dial, 2nd execution hands
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Valjoux 92, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Original Heuer Corfam strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Heuer "sun" buckle
    Dimensions: 39mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Literature: The present watch is illustrated in "Heuer Autavia Chronographs 1962-85" (2nd edition) by Richard Crosthwaite & Paul Gavin, pages 44-46.

  • 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. The reference 3646 was designed to deliver highly legible, accurate and consistent timekeeping in any situation. That said, the design changes that the watches underwent were subtle and intuitive, resulting directly from the experiences of the sportsmen themselves.

    This particular watch exhibits all the correct first series reference 3646 attributes; the large sub dials, the shallow Ed. Heuer "one step" case back, the small pushers and domed crown, with the second series steel Dauphine hands. The rotating outer 60 minute division bezel (with lume piece) was yet another invaluable instrument to pilots. This bezel is in stunning condition and has turned to a beautiful metallic grey.

    Widely acknowledged to be one, if not the finest surviving example of the reference 3646 known, this present lot and its appearance on the market are hotly anticipated. With its vibrant dial and spectacular untouched condition, it is a superb trophy piece that ticks every box for the collector.

    The reference 3646, two register first execution, Autavia was produced and marketed at the same time as the reference 2446 and was powered by the Valjoux 92 movement (as opposed to the Valjoux 72 found in reference 2446). Unlike reference 2446 it carried no serial number on the movement, but like all first execution models it was signed Ed. Heuer on the bridge and inside the back case. These early two-register models had 30 minute chronograph counters, which was later extended to 45 minutes.

    The "named" series of wrist chronographs started in 1962 with the Autavia models and continued in 1963 with the Carrera. They were arguably the pinnacle of Heuer's output and remain the focus of serious watch collectors' attention today.

    Jack Heuer was quoted as saying, "Looking back I can say that the Autavia wrist chronograph was the first real wristwatch product I personally created for the company. It was a success, and with every new production series we made small technical changes, for example by altering the size of the registers, the shape of the batons or the color of the luminous bars.”

    It's only speculation, which one out of the references 2446 or 3646 in the Heuer line sold the best back in the day (similar small numbers of each are known in the collector community today). Visually they differed of course, but their usage was not too dissimilar, but what is known, is that the first execution range are now some of the rarest watches in existence.

    However, with all vintage pieces from this era it is no longer just about rarity but quality as well as desirability and, above all, the extraordinary condition that make this timepiece "the one”.

  • 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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5

Ref. 3646M
An exceptional stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with a 30-minute subsidiary register, black dial and minute bezel.

Circa 1962
39mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF50,000 - 80,000 

sold for CHF87,500

Contact Specialist
Virginie Liatard-Roessli
+41 22 317 81 89
[email protected]

The Crosthwaite & Gavin Collection: Exceptional Heuer Chronographs from the Jack Heuer Era

Geneva Auction 11 November 2017