The Heuer Time and Electronics Corp was seeing record growth for about 11 years through the 1960s and by 1970 the U.S. market had become they're largest. In 1971, however, the Heuer brand saw a tremendous 19% decline in U.S. based sales and they needed to come up with a solution to turn things around
The Viceroy cigarettes company was experiencing troubles of their own after the U.S. Surgeon General released the report linking smoking to cancer and a subsequent creating a ban on advertising tobacco on television went into effect in January of 1971 which led them to quickly fall behind the more masculine advertising of the leading brands. To compete for market share Viceroy rebranded the company to cater to the automotive racing enthusiasts, thus creating the super team of Mario Andretti, Joe Leonard, and Al Unser for the Indianapolis 500 races.
Considered an expensive chronograph of its time, the Heuer Autavia retailed right around $200 in the U.S. and dealers were having trouble selling them as they were much more complicated than Heuer's simpler watches or stopwatches. It is said that Heuer sold fewer than 500 Autavias in the year 1971.
Through the 1960s, Heuer was the benchmark for timing technology in aviation and automotive racing. Its stopwatches, handheld chronographs, dashboard timers, and timing systems dominated the racing industry. However, they were willing to do anything to increase awareness around their wristwatches
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company (Owners of Viceroy Cigarettes) contacted Heuer in later 1971 with the idea of co-branding the Autavia with Viceroy Cigarettes in an exclusive promotion. By mailing in the end flap from a carton of Viceroy cigarettes you would be able to purchase an exclusive version of the Autavia chronograph for the discounted price of $88.
This collaborative advertisement campaign was a huge success and within the within the 7-month span of the promotion, approximately 5000 Viceroy Autavias were sold. This created huge awareness around the Heuer brand and subsequently boosted the sales of all the timepieces. Broadening the Heuer company as a whole from racetrack royalty to household name.
Black w/ Red
Black Rally Strap W/ Heuer Buckle
CASE & BRACELET
The case shows signs of a previous light polishing with the factory finishing still very prevalent and honest wear throughout. The Heuer signed crown and pushers remain original to the watch. The black tachymeter bezel remains dark black in colorations showing very little wear from use. The caseback has a small engraving. The watch will come on an era correct rally strap with a Heuer signed buckle.
DIAL & HANDS
The excellent "Pre-Viceroy" dial with red accents is in absolutely stunning condition, showing no wear or blemishing. The lume plots have taken on a wonderful creamy patina and show no degradation under U.V. light inspection. The red Viceroy hands remain in excellent untouched condition with the original tritium lume matching the dial perfectly, showing no lume degradation under U.V. light inspection.
None. The watch is running at spec, previous service history is unknown.