07/30/2021
 3 minutes

Bruce Springsteen: “The Boss” and His Heuer Autavia

By Sebastian Swart
12_RZ_S_BRUCE-01

Bruce Springsteen’s Chronograph: What watch does “The Boss” wear?

Together with the E Street Band, the 71-year-old New Jersey native, ACADEMY AWARD® winner, and 20-time GRAMMY® recipient has cemented his place in music history. Some of Springsteen’s greatest hits include Born in the USA, Glory Days, and Streets of Philadelphia. Beyond his impressive music catalog, his wrist is also worth a closer look. Let’s check it out! 

Springsteen’s 20th studio album, Letter To You, debuted in October 2020. Fans of the legendary singer-songwriter had the chance to stream the documentary Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You on Apple TV+ before the album’s release. In the movie, there’s no missing the relatively large timepiece on Springsteen’s wrist. Closer inspection revealed a chronograph with a cushion-shaped case. Even if it was a bit difficult to see due to the documentary’s black-and-white format, a few other key details revealed the model’s exact identity: the Heuer Autavia 1163 “Orange Boy.” The Boss has apparently been sporting this watch for a while now, as seen in numerous older pictures of the music legend wearing the vintage Autavia chronograph with easygoing style on a leather cuff band. 

Heuer Autavia reference 1163 "Orange Boy"
Heuer Autavia reference 1163 “Orange Boy”

The Heuer Autavia 1163 Orange Boy: History and Specifications 

Heuer first released the Autavia reference 1163 in 1969. It is the direct descendent of the legendary original Autavias ref. 2446 and 3646 from the early 1960s. With a 42.5-mm case, the Orange Boy from 1971 was around four millimeters wider than its predecessors. The manufacturer would introduce several different 1163 varieties, of which the Orange Boy is one of the rarest. Something all 1163s have in common is their two subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock. 

Springsteen’s Orange Boy has a black dial with white subdials. The hour markers along the outer chapter ring; the tips and center lines down the middle of the hour and minute hands; the chronograph seconds hand; and three sections of the track on the 30-minute subdial at 3 o’clock are orange. You’ll find a 12-hour subdial at 9 o’clock. The Orange Boy is equipped with a tachymeter scale, enabling the wearer to determine distance and speed. 

The need for (measuring) speed: a tachymeter scale
The need for (measuring) speed: a tachymeter scale

Ticking away inside this watch is the Buren 12 automatic caliber, an improvement upon the legendary Chronomatic Caliber 11 from the late 1960s. The latter was one of the first automatic chronograph movements, and Heuer played a significant role in its development. One of the first things you’ll notice about the Buren 12 is the crown’s position at 9 o’clock, while the chronograph pushers are at their typical position on the right side of the case. Although the Orange Boy is a rare, in-demand timepiece, you can find it used on Chrono24 for the relatively affordable price of roughly $6,700. 

Perfect harmony: the Autavia 1163 and Porsche Targa
Perfect harmony: the Autavia 1163 and Porsche Targa

Bruce Springsteen’s watch is a humble, down-to-earth choice – something relatively unusual in today’s day and age, where some famous watch wearers take more of a “bigger, more-is-more” approach to timepieces. This modest, tasteful, and stylish choice is just one more thing for The Boss’ many fans to love about him. 

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About the Author

Sebastian Swart

I've been using Chrono24 for years to buy and sell watches, as well as for research purposes. I've had an infatuation with watches for as long as I can remember. As a …

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