Heuer Heuer Autavia 1163 MH Autavia Mark 5 Derek Bell

Heuer Autavia 1163 MH Autavia Mark 5 Derek Bell

Brand: Heuer
Model: Autavia Mark 5 Derek Bell
Reference: 1163 MH
Gender: male/uni-sex
Year: 1970/1
Material: stainless steel
Dial Color: Black with white subcounters and red accents
Dimensions: 42mm 47 lug to lug
Watch Movement: automatic
Bracelet/Strap: original Gay Freres single grain beads of rice bracelet with original Heuer clasp with code 3rd quarter of 1969. One HLD and one HLF end link.
Box/Paper: Comes with WRIST ICONS handmade leather pouch if ordered at WRIST ICONS website made by Jean Paul Menicucci
Condition: Excellent

WRIST ICONS presents another super cool Heuer Autavia.  The 1163 MH Autavia as worn by the famous racing legend Derek Bell in the early 70s. This watch is a rare specimen.

It looks a lot like the later Autavia Viceroy, the watch one could buy with a cigarette promotion  (“…to get this $200 watch with gift case, just send 1 Viceroy carton end flap and $88 to…”). Both have the reverse panda lay out with great red accents.

What sets the Derek Bell MK 5 apart from the Viceroy are the steel hands without the red paint on the tips and the scaling of the hour counter sub dial which stated 3-6-9-12 instead of 1,2,3-12. This execution also has the polished hour markers instead of the ridged hour markers. As a cherry on the cake this this particular Autavia also has its original 1969 Gay Freres single grain rise bracelet.


History of the Heuer Autavia

The origin of the name goes back to 1933, when Heuer designed its first dash counter for racing cars, boats and aircraft. The name was a contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion.. Heuer and racing. It’s a match made in heaven. In 1962 Jack Heuer, the 30 year old grandson of Edward Heuer,  had a genius insight and he introduced his first wrist watch with a turning bezel and called it the Autavia.

After participating rally’s as a way to conduct market research Jack Heuer got more and more interested in motorsports. The Autavia dial was designed out of frustration of loosing a rally course.  Jack Heuer, was the co-pilot and he did misread the dial of the Heuer 12-hour “Autavia” dashboard stopwatch by a minute. The result was that his team called  Heuer /Heuer with a youth friend Samuel Heuer (same name not related)  came in third place instead of first. This error infuriated Jack and made him realize that the dial of the “Autavia” stopwatch was unclear, confusing and very difficult to read correctly in a speeding rally car. Therefore he made another chronograph with a better legible dial and big large central minute hand, they called it the Monaco.

“As a result of this new product the old “Autavia” became redundant and they withdrew it from our product line. However, they still had the excellent name of “Autavia”, which combined the words “automobile” and “aviation”, available for a new product. In the autumn of 1961 i decided with my production team to create a new “Autavia” as a wrist chronograph. until then we had never added a turning bezel to one of our wrist chronographs. We therefore designed this new “Autavia” to have a turning black bezel with a choice of division markers. A bezel with 60 separate one-minute divisions, for example, would allow the wearer to set a marker for a defined interval of less than one hour; a 12-hour division would allow the time in another time zone to be displayed; and divisions of 1/100th of a minute would be useful for time study purposes.” Source: The Times of my Life. An Autobiography by Jack Heuer


Heuer and racing sport

Jack Heuer brought his  stopwatches, dashboard clocks, timing gear and wristwatches to the racing teams. The race teams and their drivers loved these wristwatches which had been very much useful with their high legibility and additional function of a rotating bezel. Many of the greatest drivers of that era used to wear Heuer watches.

Its ambassadors were the greatest Formula 1 drivers of the 1960s and 1970s: Jo Siffert, Jochen Rindt, Derek Bell, Jacky Ickx, Emerson Fittipaldi, Clay Regazzoni, Mario Andretti, and Gilles Villeneuve among the others.

The ties between the Heuer brand and motor sport were very strong. In fact, aside from cigarette manufacturers, Heuer was one of the very first Formula 1 sponsors. And let’s not forget Heuer was also on of the first brands ever to do product placement in a film. Steve McQueen wore the Monaco model in the movie Le Mans.


History of the first automatic chronograph

In 1969 Heuer, Breitling and Hamilton were the first to bring the automatic chronograph to the market. These were the Chronomatic watches with the Caliber 11. Because of the rush to be first to market with Heuer’s partners this groundbreaking movement needed some improvements shortly after release and in 1970 the caliber 11i was released fine tuning the movement.

The caliber 12 movement improved further on the 11i and was introduced during the 1133 Monacos and 1163 Autavia ‘s lifecycle in 1971. The main improvements were strengthening of some key parts and a faster beat rate from 19800 VPH to 21600 VPH.



This stunning example of the Heuer Autavia 1163 MH Autavia Mark 5 Derek Bell has just been completely serviced by our watchmaker. He is a retired watchmaker that has contributed to the development of Caliber 11 when he was working as an employee at Breitling on project 99 (the joint venture of Heuer, Breitling and Hamilton to develop the world’s first automatic chronographs).

  • Case: the case is in excellent condition. The case has never been polished with superficial scratches throughout. These cases are notoriously difficult to polish, with the aforementioned lines being the hardest. This example, has perfect lines going through. This 1163MH has  its sunburst finish on the top, brushed sides and thick bevels throughout. When you examine the case you will see that the brush marks are still visible on the top side of the case (also some scratches), the straight-line lugs are sharp and  thick, and the side profile is as it should be, grained on the front and the sides. It has a slight shine/polish look to it from what I think is many years of wearing. The bevels on the lugs are polished, The unique reference number is also visible between the lugs. This Heuer Autavia Mark 5 Derek Bell is noteworthy, both for its design and execution. It is an really honest and exceptionally original example of a Heuer 1163 Autavia Derek Bell.
  • We usually see an MH (minute hour bezel) on this reference. As a customer you could opt for a different bezel. Most likely the client asked for tachymeter bezel. The condition of this bezel is remarkable. No scratches and in a beautiful original condition.
  • Dial and hands: similarly to the case, the reversed panda dial is in almost new condition, the matte black base of the dial has a really nice warm patina with a kind of brown color which you can only see in the sunlight. All the red accents all remain their vibrant brightness! The large two-tone dial is silvered with applied polished steel markers (no ridges), no indexes at 3,6,9, two subsidiary engine-turned  white dials for the 12-hour and 30-minute registers which have also been very well preserved and a rimmed date at 6h. The hour recorder has numbers at each of the 12 hours.. The red non re-painted chronograph hand corresponds with the red 5-minute/5-second markers on the 1/5th second outer black division. The domed glass is acrylic. The luminous material of the dial and hands is all consistent when using an UV flash light. There is a minor dark spot visible just below the 20 of the minute sub dial counter.
  • Movement: the watch carries the above-mentioned self-winding Caliber 12. It has a gilt finish, blued steel screws, 17 jewels, a monometallic balance with flat self-compensating balance spring and Incabloc shock absorbers. The movement measures 13.75 ligne, with a diameter of 31mm and a height of 7.7mm. It has a bi-directional micro rotor, beating at 21,600 A/h, with a power reserve of 42-hours. The movement is clean, and during the time of testing the watch was fully functional. The movement has just been serviced by our watchmaker.
  • Bracelet/strap: this watch comes on an original Gay Freres single grain beads of rice bracelet with original Heuer clasp with code 3rd quarter of 1969. One HLD and one HLF end link.


Overall, the exceptional finishing of the Heuer 1163 Autavia Derek Bell is noteworthy, both for its design and execution. This steel Heuer 1163 Autavia Derek Bell is is remarkably well preserved.

As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase. Please check our website to have a look at the high resolution pictures on a macro level. You will see every detail at its best. Viewings can be arranged at our office by appointment.












Case number



It has a stainless steel case with screw down case back which is signed Heuer-Leonidas SA SWISS STAINLESS STEEL


Case dimensions

42.5mm diameter, thickness  13.5mm, lug width 20mm


This reference has a matte black cream dial with a painted logo and the Autavia Automatic Chronograph text on it. Further it has applied hour indices and a date window at six. The sub dial are white. The hour and minute  hands are polished silver with black painted base. The sub dial hands are stick shaped and black. The chrono hand is red and spear shaped. Over all they match the dial really well.






original Gay Freres single grain beads of rice bracelet with original Heuer clasp with code 3rd quarter of 1969. One HLD and one HLF end link.

Lug Width



Comes with WRIST ICONS leather pouch if ordered at WRIST ICONS website made by Jean Paul Menicucci


12 month warranty
14 day returns