We get the opportunity to see and handle thousands of watches per year at Christie’s and only a very small number inspire the kind of awe that we felt when we first saw a photograph of the present watch: the extremely rare Autavia with Indianapolis Motor Speedway Logo on the dial. That awe was felt even more intensely when we first had the opportunity to see the watch and examine the mint condition of the case and dial.
Only a small number of Heuer chronographs are known to feature logos on the dial, and those fortunate to have the Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo are arguably the most desired by collectors. And of the Indy models, the Autavia with all-silver dial, is certainly the most prized. In fact, only two were known to the market prior to this one: one at the TAG Heuer Museum and one in the collection of an important American collector of Heuer chronographs. Additionally, a dial like that one found on the present was sold on eBay approximately two years ago and is in a private collection.
The present watch has a serial number close to the one owned by an important American collector. That watch was purchased from the original owner who received it as a gift from Tony Hulman, the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at that time. It seems possible that Tony ordered a few of these Autavias and Carreras with the Indy logo as gifts for business associates and friends.
These Indy Autavias have an interesting quirk in that the tip of the central minute hand does not reach the outer minute and track, but that was a quirk in the dial design and perhaps was not caught at the time of production. The “albino” all-silver dial is a striking and eye-catching design unusual compared to the contrasting dials found on the other 1960s Autavias. The effect is not dissimilar to the unusual feeling from seeing a steel Rolex Daytona reference 6263 with albino all-silver dial, of which only four are known.
The present watch is completely fresh to market and previously unknown to Heuer collectors. It is hard to imagine a more museum-worthy Heuer Autavia and exciting discovery for Heuer collectors.