Heuer Autavia "Viceroy" Automatic Chronograph, Ref. 1163V Made in 1970's. Fine, tonneau-shaped, self-winding, water-resistant, stainless steel wristwatch with round button chronograph, registers, tachometer and date.
Case: Two-body, polished and brushed, screwed-down case back, black bezel with tachometer graduation to 400 UPH, winding crown at 9.
Dial: Black dial and white subdials with applied luminous steel baton indexes and red markers, outer 1/5th seconds track, subsidiary dials for the 30-minute and 12-hour registers, aperture for the date at 6. Luminous steel baton hands with red accent.
Movement: Caliber 12, rhodium-plated, 17 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance, shock absorber, self-compensating flat balance spring.
Dial, case and movement signed
Diameter: 42X 47mm Thickness: 15mm
In 1962 Heuer launched the Autavia chronograph, designed for automotive and aviation events. Produced for more than twenty years, the model went through a number of versions, including transitioning from a manual-wind movement to an automatic movement in 1969. This wide range of styles is part of what makes Heuer so appealing to watch collectors – there is an Autavia for everyone.
By the early 1970’s Heuer saw a decline in its US sales, especially of chronograph watches. Coincidentally, the sale of cigarettes had also slowed down in the US, and one brand in particular – Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company – decided to change their advertising strategy. Brown & Williamson reached out to Heuer, with the idea that they would advertise a Heuer Autavia model through the promotion of their Viceroy ciagrettes. Normally priced at $200, Heuer would offer a special version for $88 with the end flap of a carton of Viceroy cigarettes. This promotion would run for seven months in 1972.
Heuer would have the produce the Viceroy model with a few differences from their standard version carried by dealers, which would remain priced at $200. The 1163V Viceroy would feature red accents, a 12 hour subsidiary dial with all 12 numerals (not just 3,6,9, 12), and the bezel would have a tachometer scale. Heuer referred to the Viceroy model as the “economy” model, so that dealers could call the standard version “superior” to warrant the higher price.
Towards the end of 1972, Heuer started using larger cases, changing the reference from 1163V to 11630. The major difference between the two references, aside from case size, is the use of a mineral crystal on the 11630 and a plastic crystal on the 1163V.
The Viceroy campaign was a success for Heuer (less so for Brown & Williamson), and benefitted the Heuer dealers, who had new clients coming in looking for other Heuer chronograph models. The promotion ended in December of 1972, with Heuer selling around 5000 Viceroy Autavias in the seven month period.