Heuer Autavia 2446 “Jochen Rindt”

If you’re expecting a really exotic find from some weird pawn shop in a dusty town in Mississippi (that seemed like a random state to list), I have bad news: you’re going to be disappointed. It came from eBay. But since every watch has a story, take a seat and get comfortable.

The 2446 screwback Autavia is an extremely important model in the history of Heuer (we won’t mention the dreaded three letter word that now goes in front of it), so it’s fairly noteworthy whenever one shows up for sale in good condition – even more true for third executions (like this one) after it was voted as the official 2017 Autavia Re-Edition. Thankfully, however, the market hadn’t fully awoken to the beauty of these early Autavias when this one surfaced on eBay about a year ago.

From the get-go, this sale post had everything that gets me excited when stumbling on a listing: awful pictures (note: the main image from the eBay listing is included at the end of the gallery below), almost no description, and a seller with a history totally unrelated to watches. I added the Autavia to my “watch list” and then crossed my fingers that the listing would actually go the distance instead of ending early for a private sum. The seller (thankfully) knew nothing about the watch, and knowing what he didn’t know, decided to let the auction run with no reserve. I set up my snipe bid a couple hours before the end of the auction and then tried to distract myself until the auction’s end. I had gone in with a strong price based on what I had seen, but I wasn’t sure that it was going to be enough once I received a text from eBay alerting me that there were 15 minutes left and 250 people were “following” the auction. This one clearly hadn’t flown under the radar.

As the seconds ticked away and it was still under my bid, I started to allow my mind to wander. As had happened with my Evil Nina UG Compax, the auction ended and the interminable wait for it to refresh with the final sales price began. Seriously – if you’ve bought a watch on eBay before, you know what I’m talking about. Those five seconds seem like five days. To my disbelief, the page finally refreshed and told me that I had won the auction at a sliver under my “best price” that had been designated in the snipe bid. Shortly thereafter, a post appeared on OnTheDash that couldn’t believe the price paid for a beat-up Autavia and cited the winning bid as the highest they had seen for a third execution screwback. I couldn’t help but smile while reading it, content with the knowledge that once cleaned up, this 2446 was going to be something special.

The Nitty Gritty

This will sound a bit boastful, I suppose, and I’m okay with it. This is the nicest third execution 2446 screwback Autavia that I’ve ever seen. Full-stop. Period. End of story. Everything about it (other than the crystal) is the definition of collector grade. The dial and handset are perfect, bezel is untouched, the case is sharp as a Japanese carving knife, and the caseback engraving is incredibly crisp. This was a bit of a gamble, but easily the best gamble of my time as a watch collector. It gets no better than this.

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