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HEUER HF Autavia 2446 Transitional 1966 Tropical Blue Ghost Bezel Valjoux 72

£9,000.00Price

HEUER HF Autavia 2446 Transitional 1966 Tropical Blue Ghost Bezel Valjoux 72

 

RARE" Is a term that's been seriously overcooked...  least not by the eBay community, it seems that every other watch on eBay is served with the word "Rare" and god forbid "Ultra rare" (Blue? Tartare?)
 Well, we believe the term has been somewhat well done... However, every once in a blue moon you find a real "chefs table" offering, a watch truly deserving of the descriptive, (Amongst the à la carte of eBay watch advertisements).

 

The Transitional
HEUER 
Autavia 
Ref 2446 
 
"HF" Huguenin Freres Case, Straight Lug Case. 
 
With a UNIQUE (secret menu seasonal offer)
Tropical BLUE Dial
& Ghosting Blue Bezel 
 
Calibre Valjoux 72. 
(& I promise all cheffing puns are over,) 

 

 

  • Full Spec

    A Unicorn, a Grail,  
    Now what is interesting about this watch is that at a glance,  it looks like a 2nd execution Autavia 2446 but is it?
     The answer - it’s not a 1st execution Autavia 2446. The dial is the only part of this watch that was used on the 2nd execution Autavia. The bezel and most importantly the case are not 1st execution. This is, in fact, a transitional piece between 1st and 2nd execution for the following reasons:
     
    Hands – definitely 2nd execution with a narrow different shape of lume area
     
    Bezel – so-called "Big Tooth" or "Square tooth"  bezel and again different and UNIQUE to the transitional 2446's 
    Almost a quarter of the Transitional 2446's have emerged with either service or latter mark 2 bezels but its now considered the "big tooth" or square tooth bezel to be correct. 
     
    Crown – large signed crown. 
    Again almost HALF of the 2446's that are transitional have emerged with unsigned crowns and are still considered "correct" alongside the signed crowns that undoubtedly do belong to the limited range. 
     
    Case – this is the interesting part. 
    The case is neither 1st or 2nd execution as defined by the standard definition. It does not have a bevel on the lugs. These are however correct Heuer cases that are rarely seen and almost all of which have a 2nd execution dial. (widely considered as the correct dial for this relatively newly identified reference) 
     
    AND it's BLUE! ....Bleu
    A "Tropical" Dial:
    The Horological community is most certainly poetic, from "Spider dials" to "chocolate dials" via "ghost bezels" and "creme brulee" spotting. "Tropical" in essence refers to fading, wear, bleaching & crazing, the term tropical is coined from the often necessary tropical climate needed to form these unique fading details, 
    Some watches, however, fade in a specific manner depending on not only their climatic conditions but original chemical specifications, Only a certain serial range of Rolex 1680's are expected to "spider web" dial, only certain serial numbered Omega Speedmasters are expected to "chocolate" fade with age. 
     
    The FIRST Truly Blue 2446?
     
    The Transitional 2446 was only formally identified as an "actual" reference point late 2013 since then and depending on which source we choose to cite there are between 8 and 15 known examples that have either come to market or been offered for citation by collectors. 
     
    Whether the blueing is due to a specific serial range of the 2446 all transitional cases brought to light are known serial range is 82xxx to 83xxx. or whether this watch has aged this colouration due to its specific climate we may never know, if there was a larger database of 2446's this information could be compiled but with the 2446 being a rare reference in and of itself and the 2446 transitional being limited to only a dozen or so known examples worldwide, well, its no understatement to say that, at large, this watch is currently UNIQUE. 
     
    Vintage
    1966
    Case material
    Stainless Steel 
    Watchcase type
    Hermetic Screw-down 
    Dial 
    Reverse "Panda" Dial, Black Now faded tropical Blue dial, White Subsidiary Dials Execution 1 "Stick" sub hands silver stick H& M Blood Red White sweep seconds 
    Bracelet
    Leather Attila Aszodi Custom Made 
    Movement
    Manual Wind Mechanical 
    Calibre Number Valjoux 72
    17 Jewels
    3 Reg Chronograph 
     
     
    A Watch That Should Need No Introduction... 
    The rarity of this specific watch aside the 2446 Autavia is a true masterpiece of horology even the more common models, say the Jochen Rindt Autavia, Is ridiculously sought after in today's market, Okay we are the first to admit the market has gone a little "Chrono Crazy" but is this a mark of things to come?
     
     ...Traditionally YES, I mean hell, we sold an Omega 2077-1 a mere two years ago at £26,000... that's a £40k+  watch today... Will it end? Will the watch market "peak out" or is it the new "art market" will you be lucky to SEE a 2446 Autavia in the future let alone be able to buy one... Well truth is we don't know, I don't know. (I sold my crystal ball shortly before that 2077-1 sale...) 
     
    Regardless of this, it's clear the Autavia is a firm investment there has perhaps never been a watch more connected to the vintage motorcar scene. Omega has NASA Rolex have the peaks, Blancpain has the depths of the world and HEUER have Speed and Style. 
     
    Formula One champions Mario Andretti and Jochen Rindt wore manual-wind Autavias in the late 1960s.
     
    Jo Siffert, Gilles Villeneuve, Clay Regazzoni and Derek Bell wore automatic Autavias in the 1970s.
     
    And Just about every Driver worth note has been pictured wearing a HEUER at one time or another, and all this well before the age of the "Brand Ambassador" 
     
     
    Technical, The Basics:
     
    The Case 
    A stunning Huguenin Freres case a uniquely marked HF case limited to only the handful known examples worldwide, 
    Almost Ironically this case is "Missing" the normal associations we would expect to see on an HF case whether we imagine the Ω Speedmaster the UG Nina (oh see other listings!) or the Polerouter the first thing we conjure to mind are those deep "Twisted" or beveled lugs, Likewise the Gen 1 and 2,  2446 Autavias are characterised by those beveled lugs.  
     
    Completely Absent in the straight lugged "transitional" no less Huguenin Freres case. 
     
    The case is a large 39mm in diameter, excluding crown & pushers, 42mm inclusive. 
    47.75mm lug tip to lug tip & 19mm lug spacing. 
     
    Screw-down case back, "Pump" pushers & Original signed crown. 
     
    The case finish of the Huguenin Freres marked 2446's is also interesting,  none have been found with any brush or polish finishing no flamboyant finesse to the case, always a simple almost "raw" steel finish,often mistaken (and perhaps the reson these watches took so long to be charecterised at all) as aftermarket "polished" 
     
    This is not the case (at all in fact) and this lack of a speffic polishing style adds to the prototypal effect of the the transitional Autavia. 
     
    The case is in excellent condition, not without the odd scuff and ding in places but quite pleasingly UNPOLISHED & ALL ORIGINAL 
     
    The Bezel 
    Again specific note to be given to the transitional Autavia bezel, much like the Gen 1 "big sub" Autvia's the bezel is a "square" or "big" toothed edge unlike the more common Gen 2 and later bezels (as seen on say the Jochen Rindt) with a more coin edge look. 
    The insert is closer to a gen 2 type insert with no lume in the triangle. 
     
    This particular bezel tho bearing wear I places IS all original and correct for this watch throughout. 
    Damage or Patina? that is down to the individual collector, Romantically we could call is "Ghosted" pessimistically worn, I won't lie we favour the prior =) 
     
    The Dial
    It is blue! 
     
    Obvious aside these dials were never intentionally blue all "reverse panda" dials with black backdrops and silver white subsidiary dials, Now aged "Tropical" to a deep Blue-Grey colouration with Ivory-White subdials,
     
    The Aging of the dial has done nothing to affect the clarity, crispness or legibility of the dial. It is, in short, the PERFECT "Tropical" Blue Dial. 
     
    Classically a "Gen 2" dial with large subsidiary dials with deep snailing. Silver applied indexes, double index 12, and "snub" index 3, 6 & 9's. All indexes tritium accented, Similarly matched steel H & M hands tritium inset and Ivory white centre sweep seconds hand. 
     
    The Band(s)
    Because great watches deserve great straps:
    A Custom made Attila Aszodi Watchstrap
    1x French Hide Calf Cognac Tan Coloration Cream Stitch and Tobacco lined 
    "Raw" Leather Hand Distressed
    A Unique and bespoke custom strap RRP £290
     
    For more see:
    https://www.instagram.com/attilaaszodi/?hl=en
     
     
    The Movement 
     
    Powering this watch is the legendary Valjoux 72 movement. It's what ticked inside the Rolex Daytonas the Carreras the GP Nina and a plethora of other high speck and desirable Chronos of the same era and you'd be hard pressed to find a more respected workhorse of a mid-century chronograph movement.
     
    Valjoux 72
     
    Features
    manual-wind chronograph, 60s, 30min, 12h, pillar wheel
    sub second
    17 jewels
    f = 18000 A/h
    power reserve 48h
     mobile stud carrier,
    Triovis regulator