Hiroshi Fujiwara, the man TAG Heuer — and the world — refers to as the godfather of streetwear — is back to unveil his second limited timepiece created with the La Chaux-de-Fonds based watchmaker.
Fujiwara’s maintained his “do more with less” philosophy for collaboration number two, this time taking on the historical Autavia reference 1163 with the barrel, tonneau or c-shaped case. The last term there, being TAG Heuer’s own.
In today’s collector’s circles the 1163 is most known for the 1163 T “Jo Siffert”, so-named after Swiss Formula I driver Jo Siffert, who is known to have worn the highly desirable Panda Dial variant of the ref. 1163. The Siffert 1163 is a chapter on its own with up to a Mark 6 listed on Jeff Stein’s Autavia Reference Table on, onthedash.com. But let’s get the basics of the 1163’s history down.
In 1969 Heuer launched the Calibre 11, one of the earliest automatic chronograph movements, which was housed within the Autavia 1163. There were various dial variations with it, along with variants of hands and bezel combinations. The Calibre 11 eventually evolved to the 11-i and the 12.
A key feature of the Autavia 1163 is its case, with its fluted pushers and the recess cut out into the top side of the case. According to Stein, the cases are known to measure in at “42.3 millimetres across the front and 47.5 millimetres, from lug to lug, with a thickness 15.6 millimetres (back of the case-back to top of the crystal).” The crown on the 1163 is always at 9 o’clock and is always signed. The lug width is 20mm with the reference number “1163” marked between the lugs.
The most widely found 1163 is arguably the variation called the “Viceroy.” The Viceroy is known to come in either a black or white dial, with the common denominator being the red accents on the dial itself and the dash of red on the hour and minute hands. Another notable example is the so called “Orange Boy” which is similar to the Viceroy but with orange accents instead of red.
There was an instance of the Viceroy sold at auction with Phillips Watches at their Geneva Watch Auction X (lot 162). The catalogue essay there reads, “In the early 70s Heuer was exploring new ways to boost their sales. After having placed the brand name on the cars of the Ferrari Formula 1 team, Jack Heuer pursued more partnerships, as with the Parnelli Jones-Viceroy Racing Team. The Autavia model was extremely sought after and well assimilated to automobile sport. Many Formula 1 drivers were spotted wearing the model while smoking a cigarette between two laps.”
On further information about the Viceroy, Stein says, “This version of the Autavia was offered in a Viceroy cigarettes promotion at a deeply discounted price, commencing in May 1972, with the promotion continuing through the end of 1972. Even after the Viceroy promotion ended, Heuer continued to produce this model, with dealers offering either the T (tachymeter) or MH (minute/hour) bezel. This chronograph is known as the ‘Viceroy’ Autavia, whether it was purchased through the cigarette promotion or through a dealer. The Viceroy Autavia probably had the highest production of any Heuer chronograph in history, and these watches are among the most abundant in today’s market. Estimated value…$1,000 (for a beater) to $2,500 (for a really nice one).”
Fujiwara’s inspiration for the TAG Heuer x Fragment Design (44 mm) Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic, quite clearly came from the 1163 Viceroy Autavia. He’s opted to keep the modern interpretation of TAG Heuer’s barrel case — essentially the Formula 1 case with narrower lugs and a fine polished bevel — which deviates against the recess cut out for the chronograph pushers and the crown at 9 o’clock of the vintage 1163.
The bezel is in black polished ceramic with the tachymeter scale. Its dial is in opaline black and Fujiwara’s opted against the hour markers of the 1163 Viceroy, retaining only the red accents — albeit reduced — that sit over them.
On the same vein, he’s also taken off the frame around the date window that makes the date aperture seemingly blend into the dial. The hands on the watch, though, remain true to the original with the red tip and bottom stripe on the hour and minute hands and that all red central seconds hand. Although, it must be said, kinda wish they kept to the shape of the seconds hand as it was on the original 1163 Viceroy. Turning the watch over, you have a modern sapphire caseback, in smoked red with the Fragment logo imprinted, allowing visibility of the Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic within.
The 500-piece numbered edition TAG Heuer x Fragment Design (44 mm) Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic Chronograph will be available to pre-order from www.tagheuer.com and in select TAG Heuer boutiques starting today, before it is up for sale proper July 27, 2020.
Self-winding Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic; hours and minutes; column wheel chronograph with central chrono-seconds hand, 30-minute totalizer at 3 o’clock and 12-hour totalizer at 9 o’clock; 75-hour power reserve
44 mmin polished, fine-brushed steel; ceramic black polished tachymeter fixed bezel; water-resistant to 100m
Polished, fine-brushed, five-row steel bracelet with steel butterfly folding clasp and safety push buttons
Price and Availability
Limited to 500 numbered pieces; comes in a TAG Heuer x Fragment Design special branded box; available from July 27th, 2020; price: CHF 6,000 (SGD 8,650).