At Baselworld 2019, after years of seeing many new releases from the brand, the TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph was the primary focus.
That’s right, we walked into the TAG Heuer booth, sat down in the conference room and aside from seeing a digital presentation of a new Golf watch, we physically saw one watch. Ok, that’s not exactly true. We saw a handful of different variants of the same watch and that ought to tell you how important the new TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph is to the brand. And what’s more, this new piece kicks off a new lineup with more models to come. A new chronograph will be announced later this year and in a case that differs from the current retro Heuer Heritage Autavia that is on the market. The fact that the debut model within the Autavia line is a three-hander is also a real surprise.
A lot has been written about the TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph already but we think it’s worth another look. While most associate the Autavia name with solely an automotive background, the “avia” in the name points to aviation and I’d actually argue that there’s a whole lot more airplane at work here than automobile. Whether it’s the big fat double crown that recalls the dash-mounted stopwatches on cars or planes or the embossed prop plane on the case back, TAG wants you to know that they’re not all about race cars.
The new TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph comes in at 42mm in diameter, but unlike the Heuer Heritage Autavia that’s on the market, this case contains far slimmer lugs. There are triangular chamfers and finishing that looks a heck of a lot better in person than on the original press shots.
The case on the new piece, by the way, reminds me a lot of the 1960’s Heuer Autavia 2446 that I own. You’ll also see that the bezel has some similarities.
The TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph is fitted with a bi-directional bezel. That bezel can be chosen in either steel or in polished ceramic. That ceramic comes in black, brown, blue, or green depending on the dial color. We saw a grey dial with a steel bezel, blue dial with blue bezel, black dial with black bezel, green dial with green bezel and finally a brown dial with brown bezel.
With the latter two dial colors, TAG jumps on the bronze train and uses the material to good effect. Some call bronze trendy, but I actually think it’s here to stay. It provides a nice warm look and there’s something about seeing the watch literally age before your eyes. No matter what case material is chosen, water resistance is 100M.
The dials on the TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph, again, look far better in person than in the original renders. They give off a fumé effect – another attribute that seems to be cropping up across a number of brands. The Autavias also bring in a detailed rehaut that wasn’t at all obvious in the embargo shots we had received. The dial design itself looks good and harkens back to the earliest of Autavias in using Arabic numerals. Even the printed font works here and that’s a good thing because my initial thoughts on the printing weren’t all that positive. Even the date at 6:00 looks fine to me and recalls vintage Heuer chronographs with the complication. The weakest part of the design, in my book, is the lumed handset. They’re a bit soft and anonymous (well, they remind us of 90’s Citizen hands) and not quite up to the sharpness of the rest of the watch.
The TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph with either a stainless bracelet (on stainless case models) or a brown calfskin strap. Bracelet models will also ship with a NATO. TAG showed us a new system that allows easy strap removal. One just slides a lever and lifts the strap off – that’s all.
The bracelets also contain a sort of quick release system as well, but that actually removes the spring bar. You can see that the clasp has a couple push buttons for release and I commend its relative overall thinness.
The TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph utilizes the Sellita SW200 (the Calibre 5 in TAG speak) and TAG brings it up to chronometer certified spec. For the first time, though, it adds a carbon-composite hairspring and that brings with it some serious anti-magnetic and shock properties. The hairspring is made in-house and the “Isograph” name symbolizes the use of such technology.
In basic form – steel bezel and leather strap, the TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph will cost $3,500. Bring it up to $3,600 for a ceramic bezel and $3,950 for the ceramic bezel and steel bracelet models. Apologies for mixing currencies, but the bronze models are not yet on the US site, but we’ve seen that they’ll run roughly 4,200 Euros depending on your country within the region. TAG expects models to ship in June.
I went into the meeting thinking that there’s no way I’d like the new TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph, but I was wrong. No, it’s not some crazy groundbreaking design, but it is a nice, relatively slim watch from a company that’s made some large, pretty wild ones over the last several years. I could wear this watch! Sure, there are nits to pick such as with the hands and I’m not completely sold on the big crown, although it’s growing on me. But, again, the fact that TAG designed its entire show around this one model shows how important they feel it is to them and to the market. I’d call it a successful start to what I hope will become a highly desirable lineup of different Autavias. Don’t forget to check out our massive gallery below with 50+ images.
For more on the TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph, visit the brand’s official site.
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became... read more