Heuer Autavia 2446C Fuerza Aérea Argentina

FAA - compressor case - double beads of rice Gay-Frères bracelet

This military chronograph is perfect to get someone excited about the world of vintage watches: a Heuer Autavia 2446C, which was used by pilots of the Argentine Air Force.

An important and defining feature of the reference 2446C is the compressor case, hence the "C" in the reference number 2446C. It was an alternative to screw-down cases and guaranteed water resistance and robustness of the watch not only in the air, but also when diving. During deeper dives, the rising water pressure pressed the caseback further against the case, resulting in increased water resistance. This feature made compressor case watches especially popular with military organizations.

The back of the present watch is engraved with the emblem of the FAA (Fuerza Aérea Argentina) along with the supply number 698. The Argentine Air Force relied on a chronograph originally designed by Jack Heuer as a racing chronograph, with a high-contrast dial to ensure good readability in dicey situations.

The stainless steel case measures 40mm in diameter and is 1mm larger than the screw-down Autavias. Combined with the reverse panda dial, red hand and black tachymeter bezel, the result is a stunningly sporty look.

A highlight in itself is the original and very rare bracelet of this vintage watch. It is the so-called double grain beads of rice bracelet by Gay-Frères. The single links are reminiscent of the grains of rice. This design was introduced back in the 1940s and is one of Gay-Frères' most sought-after designs today. The bracelet gives the watch a really nice vintage charm and sits very comfortably on the wrist as it is very lightweight.

Condition report
Dial: absolutely flawless matte black surface - greatly preserved white sub-registers with authentic patina - original tritium lume in hands and markers - matching colors - signed "SWISS T".

Case: 40mm stainless steel compressor case - intact Argentine Air Force engraving and military supply number on back - natural wear marks - intact lug bevels - clearly legible numbers between the lugs.

Bezel: bidirectional rotating bezel with tachymeter scale up to 400 hour units - slightly faded - silver print is intact throughout.

Movement: manual winding caliber Valjoux 72 - timegrapher: rate: +3s/day, amplitude: 314, beat error: 0.1.

Bracelet: original double grain beads of rice bracelet by Gay-Frères - natural wear marks - date stamp in the clasp: 3/68 (third quarter, 1968) - end links ref. HLB - bracelet length adjustable between approx. 17 and 19 cm.

Despite its military history, this Heuer Autavia Chronograph is preserved in amazingly good condition. However, not only the condition, but also the stunning design, the rare GF bracelet and of course the Argentine Air Force engraving on the back make this Autavia an excellent and hard to replace collector's watch.

Serial number: 145xxx (1969)

Int.Exe.: 62438

Manufacturer: Heuer

Model: Autavia

Reference: 2446C

Functions: chronograph - hour and minute - stopwatch - rotating bezel - tachymeter - 12 hour totalizer - 30 minutes counter

Material: Stainless steel

Dial: reverse panda (black dial, white subdials)

Watch glass: acrylic crystal

Bracelet: stainless steel

Type of clasp: deployant buckle

Diameter: 40mm

Height: 14mm

Caliber name: Valjoux 72

Movement type: manual wound

Year of Manufacture: 1969

Overall condition: 9 - has rarely been worn - top condition


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