1972 Heuer Autavia (Ref. 1163V) "Viceroy"
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 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.
|Dial||Black w/ Red|
|Strap||2pc Handmade Leather Rally Strap|
The strong case retains a lot of its original geometry and appears to have been lightly polished in the past, showing some honest wear. The minutes/hours bezel was sourced with the watch and shows some light signs of use. The pushers and "Heuer" signed crown remain original to the watch. The watch comes supplied on a 2pc handmade leather rally strap.
The red-accented "Viceroy" dial has a beautiful vintage aesthetic, showing some darkening around the outer part of the dial that isn't very noticeable. Other than that, the dial shows no scratches or blemishes, and the sub-dials remain bright white and clean. The tritium lume plots have taken on a nice creamy patina with a slight green hue, under U.V. light inspection the 6 o'clock marker shows some light degradation and all the other lume plots remain fully intact. The original tritium hands with red enamel inlay are in excellent condition showing no degradation under U.V. light and match the dial perfectly.
None. The watch is running and functioning perfectly, previous service history is unknown.