2446C Heuer Autavia GMT Second Execution
How many truly water resistant GMT Chronographs from the 60s can you think of? My guess is one, although there are a few others. The C or compressor case Autavia is possibly most useful 60s Heuer and it’s not difficult to image the lifestyle it was made for. This GMT offered the ability to fly to to your favorite track while keeping local and home time, record laps on the chronograph, and relax in the hotel pool afterward with a martini. You’d have needed a Daytona and GMT-Master on two wrists to do the same under the Rolex brand in period. That is innovation as Marc Andreessen defines it: doing more with less.
The 40mm Heuer compressor was a unique design that was meant to be superior to screw-backs. They were constructed in such a way that as water pressure built on the case exterior, gaskets would be more firmly compressed. In effect, the deeper one went the more water resistant the junction became. For this reason, the crowns and pushers are not even screw-down.
But this watch isn’t all practicality, it’s equally about audacious design and details. The 24-hour bezel is more bold than Conor McGregor after a few Guinness. The chronograph pushers are fluted. Its dial has bright red accents and a stark white chronograph hand. Underneath beats a modified Valjoux 72, probably the most storied chronograph calibre of all time. While very collectible, the valuations on these aren’t nearly as crazy as some other Valjoux 72 peers. I don’t understand most of the watch market these days, but the 2446C GMT seems like a outsized bit of loud 60s motorsport lifestyle for not much more than a standard Carrera.
This example has a lovely dial, truly. The tritium is all there and all cream everywhere. There’s no water damage. The register aren’t even spotting. The bezel is just very slightly ghosted and showing light wear. There’s light to moderate wear on the case, but strong factory lines. It comes from a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this 2446C Autavia GMT here from The Vintage Watch Lad for 14000 GBP.