In 2016, TAG announced a tournament to pit classic Heuer Autavia designs against each other in an online voting tournament. The winner, by a landslide, was what you see here today. It’s not difficult to understand the charm. The 2446 worn by German F1 legend Jochen Rindt was simple three register chronograph with one of the most recognizable 12-hour bezels ever. While the Daytona and Speedmaster receive a majority of attention, I don’t know a single collector who dislikes this design. It’s classic, distinct, and practical. The Jochen Rindt is to vintage chronographs what Nirvana is to classic rock: a bit alternative or niche in its time, but generally accepted as stratospheric genius today.
The Autavia series began as a range of dashboard timers in the 1930s. The wrist-ready variety of horology began in the early 1960s. As soon as the chronograph was released, it was heavily advertised in association with motorsport and aviation. Not everyone noticed. Jochen Rindt, a German-Austrian F1 driver (and only driver to ever win the championship posthumously), did notice. This exact style of 2446 was seen on his wrist extremely frequently after release until his tragic accident in 1970. His story, particularly his rise to driving, is inspirational to say the least. His choice of watch, unsurprisingly, was fit to character. To me, the 2446 appeals in unpretentious, charming, thoroughly considered, and well-executed design.
TAG, unfortunately, did not reissue the model with a 1960s pricetag. The days of any affordable Autavia seem to be well behind us. If you’re investing in the thousands, might as well put it in the right place. This example is not perfect, but certainly good. The dial, in particular, is gorgeous. The subs are un-rusted, its lume is a creamy yellow evenly matched to the handset, and the matte black shows no spots. The case, by contrast, is certainly polished. That said, the lugs hold their shape. Its side opposite its pushers shows a small amount of misshaping. I wouldn’t fret. This is a 2446 you could wear frequently without fearing ruining anything. The components are all correct including a signed crown. There are no documents but it comes from a well-established retailer. I’d try to get a glance at the movement from them first, but if that checks out it seems a strong value today.
Find this Jochen Rindt here from Xupes for 15000 GBP.