Born in Brazil in 1946, Fittipalid became the youngest Fomrula One world champion in history, when he won the 1972 championship, driving a Lotus 72-Ford in the black-and-gold colors of the John Player Special team. Fittipaldi moved to the Marlboro McLaren team in 1974, winning his second world championship in the McLaren M23-Ford, three points ahead of Ferrari’s Clay Regazzoni. Fittipaldi spent the next five seasons with the Fittipaldi Automotive team, formed by his brother, retiring from Formula One racing after the 1980 season.
After focusing on his business ventures for four years, Emerson Fittipaldi returned to racing in 1984, joining the Indy Car circuit in the United States (then called “Champ Cars”). Fittipaldi became a full-time Indy Car participant in 1985, and in 1989 he won both the Indianapolis 500 and the series title. Fittipaldi’s win in the 1989 Indianapolis 500 was especially dramatic, with his Patrick Racing Penske PC18-Chevrolet battling the Lola of Al Unser Jr. through the final laps. In 1993, Fittipaldi won the Indianapolis 500 for a second time, making him the only racer to be a two-time Formula One champion and a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion.
Emerson Fittipaldi’s Heuers
We see photographs of Emerson Fittipaldi wearing two different Autavias. Shown below is a two-register Autavia, in a traditional round case, with a compressor back (Reference 7763C).
We see later photos of Fittipaldi wearing an automatic Autavia in a C-shape case, most likely either the Reference 1163 or the Reference 11630.
Heuer’s Fittipaldi Titanium Quartz Chronograph
In 1983, Heuer introduced a series of watches in titanium cases. Heuer catalogs and literature referred to the futuristic nature of titanium, with imagery of the Space Shuttle, with the Titanium Collection described as Heuer’s new line of watches for the future. The Collection included men’s and women’s watches, powered by quartz or automatic movements, with inlays of either yellow gold or carbon fiber. Dials were anthracite in color, under reflection-free sapphire crystals.
There were two chronographs in the Titanium Collection, the Reference 223.206, with carbon fiber accents, and the 225.206, with gold accents. For 1985, Heuer produced a special “Fittipaldi” edition of the Reference 223.206, with the carbon fiber evoking the materials then used in modern race cars.
The watches in the Titanium Collection were among the most expensive in the Heuer catalogs, with the Reference 225.206 chronograph selling for $1,800 and the Reference 223.206 chronograph selling for $1,525. These watches were offered in the period after Heuer had been sold by the family, but before it was acquired by TAG, so these are some of the last models to carry the “Heuer” name, as “TAG” would soon be added.
It is unclear why Heuer would have offered a “Fittipaldi” model in 1985. Emerson Fittipaldi was a popular driver both Eurpoe and the Americas, and his move to join the Indy Car circuit on a full-time basis did attract media attention in the United States. Fittipaldi did pursue a wide range of business interests after his retirement from Formula One racing, including Fittipaldi wheels, so perhaps the production of this chronograph was part of an affiliation with TAG Heuer.
Motorsport Magazine — Emerson Fittipaldi racing biography.