For this post, we’ll talk about the lesser-known collection of TAG Heuer, the Autavia, and its cheaper alternatives. Although not as popular as the Carrera, nor as iconic as Monaco, the TAG Heuer Autavia is actually one of the oldest creations of the company; in fact, it was first introduced back in 1933 as a dashboard timer.
The name Autavia is actually a combination of two words – automotive and aviation, which represents the watch’s target markets then. As mentioned above, the first TAG Heuer Autavia is a dashboard timer as it is perfectly fitted on a car’s or into a plane’s cockpit. However, when Jack Heuer used the Autavia during the second car rally he participated in together with Samuel Heuer, he realized that the said stopwatch can be confusing to read in a speeding car. This is why the production of the Autavia stopped and new stopwatches were introduced – the Autorallye and the Monter Carlo.
Yet, that wasn’t the end of the Autavia. Since the name is actually smart and appealing, a new Autavia was launched in 1961. This time, it is already a chronograph wristwatch especially built for pilots, sportsmen, divers, and scientists. The 1961 TAG Heuer Autavia features a rotating black bezel with different kinds of markers to choose from. You could opt for a tachymeter bezel, a 60-minute bezel, a 12-hour bezel, a minute/hour bezel, a diving bezel, a GMT bezel or a decompression bezel. It’s also resistant to air pressure up to 35,000 feet in the air and 330 feet underwater. It is also shock-proof and with easy-to-read analog display.
As with most other TAG Heuer collections, the 1961 version of Autavia has been revived and redesigned several times throughout the history of the company. Among its significant version was the one reintroduced in 2003. Unlike the previous ones that bear only the Heuer logo, the 2003 Autavia finally comes with the TAG Heuer logo. (If you want to know more about the brand and its history, you may read it on this link.)
Then, finally, there’s the 2019 TAG Heuer Autavia that boasts of “avant-garde design” and “exceptional reliability”, perfectly suited for the new breed of the adventurers. Its strap/bracelet is also interchangeable so you can instantly change the look of the timepiece.
If you want this kind of timepiece but can’t afford to spend more than $3,000, we found some great yet budget-friendly alternatives for you.
Best Affordable Tag Heuer Autavia Alternatives
Invicta 9308 Pro Diver
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The cheapest alternative that you may consider is the Invicta 9308 Pro Diver. It comes with a blue 60-minute bezel that rotates unidirectionally and is made of stainless steel. The dial is metallic blue with luminous hands and markers. The second hand even features the brand’s logo at one of the tips. It also has a date function at 3 o’clock with a magnified window. The dial window is made of mineral crystal while the case and bracelet are both made of stainless steel. It uses a Swiss quartz movement and is rated water-resistant for 200 meters, making it suitable even for recreational scuba diving.
Invicta 15205 Pro Diver Chronograph
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If you are looking for an alternative to the chronograph version of the Autavia, then the Invicta 15205 Pro Diver Chronograph is a great option for you. It features a blue military time 12-hour unidirectional bezel. It also has a blue dial with silver-toned accents, luminous hands and markers and a date function at 3 o’clock. Its chronograph functions include the 60-second, 60-minute, and 1/10th of a second. These are all powered by a Japanese quartz movement. More so, covering the dial is a synthetic sapphire crystal window. The case and bracelet, however, are made of stainless steel. This timepiece is water-resistant to 100 meters.
If you prefer a leather-strap version of the Autavia, a great alternative could be the Sekonda 1634E.27. This sleek chronograph watch comes with subdials for the day, date, and 24-hour tracking. Its top ring is metallic dark blue with 60-minute markers. Its gun-metal-plated case is also dark blue and as well as the dial. On the dial, you’ll find silver-toned and luminous hour markers and hands, and a minute tracker at the outer ring. As mentioned, the durable strap is made of black leather and it has vibrant blue stitching. The Sekonda 1634E.27 uses a quartz movement and is water-resistant to 50 meters.
Orient Ray II
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The Orient Ray II is a steel watch powered by an Orient Calibre F6922 automatic hand-winding movement with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. It is also water-resistant up to 200 meters. Its blue diving bezel comes with a 60-minute marker while its dial features luminous hands and hour markers, and a day and a date function at 3 o’clock position. The stainless steel bracelet, moreover, comes with a push-button foldover clasp. The Orient Ray II comes in three color options: IP-coated black, black, and blue.
Citizen Eco-Drive BL5470-06A
You may also consider the Citizen Eco-Drive BL5470-06A. It is a chronograph watch with a perpetual calendar and date function and is powered by a Japanese quartz movement. It is also water-resistant up to 100 meters.
The Citizen Eco-Drive BL5470-06A is built with a 44mm stainless steel case and bezel, mineral dial window, and brown leather strap. The 60-minute bezel is stationary. On the silver dial, you’ll find three chronograph subdials and a date window at 4 o’clock. The luminous Arabic numeral hour markers are partly covered by the subdials. The hands are also silver-toned and luminous. On the outer ring of the dial, you’ll also see the minute markers.
Bulova High-Frequency 98B298
Next, we have another steel watch – the Bulova High-Frequency 98B298. This timepiece features a chronograph function, a tachymeter, and a date function. It comes with a 46mm stainless steel case built with a black unidirectional bezel with 60-minute markers. The dial is also black with silver accents and luminous hands and hour markers. There are also three chronograph subdials and the date function is located between the 4 and 5 o’clock. The tachymeter, however, is located at the outer ring of the dial. All these functions are driven by a quartz movement. Covering the dial is a mineral crystal dial window. It also has a 21mm stainless steel bracelet with a foldover clasp. This timepiece is water-resistant to 100 meters.
See on Hamilton | Read Amazon Reviews
Last on the list is the Hamilton H35756735. Well, it’s quite more costly relative to the other alternatives listed here but it is still significantly cheaper than the TAG Heuer Autavia. But it is also stylish and very functional.
It is built with a 45mm stainless steel case and a black leather band with white contrast stitching. The black bezel is also stainless steel, is unidirectional and comes with a 60-minute marker. The outer ring of the dial is white tachymeter while the inner portion is black with white accents. It has two chronograph subdials for the 30-minute and 60-second tracking positioned at 3 and 9 o’clock, respectively. There’s also a date window at 6 o’clock. Both the hands and index hour markers are also luminous. The timepiece uses a Swiss-automatic movement and is water-resistant to 100 meters.