In naming the famous watch brands we have today, the list would be incomplete if there is no mention of the TAG Heuer watchmaking company. This is so, because, TAG Heuer has over its long existence showed consistency in the areas of accuracy or precision, innovation and workmanship. All of which is an essential ingredient for any successful watch manufacturer.
The values of the TAG Heuer brand can be summed up by the following words performance, prestige, technological innovation, and reliability. From the onset to date, TAG Heuer has maintained these values most especially in the area of innovation, which we would cover extensively later on.
This rich heritage has made TAG Heuer become closely associated with sports, the world of competitive sports in particular. With the watch brand providing official timing services for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, FIS Ski World Cup, Olympic Games, and many other international sporting events.
TAG HEUER’S EARLY HISTORY
The company we know as TAG Heuer was originally just known as “Heuer”. The Heuer watchmaking company was named after the founder Edouard Heuer. In 1860, at the age of twenty, Edouard Heuer founded his own watchmaking company in St-Imier, Switzerland.
Exhibiting the undeniable spirit of innovation that TAG Heuer is popularly known for today, Edouard Heuer patented the very first patent in the brand's history, in 1869. The patent which was one of the crown-winding mechanism for pocket watches.
Edouard Heuer’s watches soon gained popularity and was recognized for its high level of accuracy and workmanship. The success of his watches led to Edouard Heuer, in 1876 to open a subsidiary in London.
In 1882, the first chronograph from TAG Heuer was patented by Edouard. And In 1887, TAG Heuer contributed significantly to the watchmaking industry with the invention and patenting of the "oscillating pinion" a mechanism that is essential to the making of mechanical chronographs; even to this day.
At the Paris World Fair of 1889, TAG Heuer received world-wide recognition when its collection of pocket watch chronographs was awarded the silver medal during the Fair. This Fair was notable because the Eiffel Tower was constructed as an emblem of that year’s Fair.
In 1892, the founder Edouard Heuer dies at the age of fifty-two. Heuer officially became TAG Heuer in the year 1985, when the TAG (Techniques d'Avant Garde) Group bought over the majority stake in the company.
SIGNIFICANT INNOVATIONS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Many of the innovations and inventions by the TAG Heuer are precision and accuracy inclined as it is a brand closely associated with competitive sports, especially automobile sports.
In 1911, TAG Heuer introduced the first dashboard chronograph that was designed for aircraft and automobiles. This dashboard chronograph was made to allow race car drivers and pilots, the ease of monitoring the time without the hassle of losing concentration when focusing on the smaller dials of a watch. The chronograph features an 11-cm diameter with large hands for the indication of time and a smaller pair of hands at the 12 o’clock position. With a button used to start, stop and reset the clock.
In 1916, TAG Heuer invented the world’s first sports stopwatch with an accuracy of 1/100th of a second. The stopwatch was named the “Micrograph” and its impeccable precision revolutionized the world of timekeeping. This led to TAG Heuer becoming the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games on three consecutive times: Antwerp 1920, Paris 1924 and Amsterdam Olympics in 1928.
In 1920, TAG Heuer integrated the same mechanics of their pocket watch movement to make the largest wrist chronograph. It features a crown and one button used to start, stop and reset the watch both placed at the 12o’clock position.
1933 marked the creation The Autavia dashboard instrument by TAG Heuer. This was the world’s first dashboard instrument made for automobile and aviation, the Autavia features an outstanding eight-day movement i.e. The Autavia can run for eight days without winding. This movement is known as The Hervue.
In 1950, TAG Heuer introduced the “Mareograph” or “Seafarer” (as called in the US). It is the first chronograph wristwatch with a tide level indicator and dial for race boats.
In 1964, the “Carrera” wristwatch chronograph was introduced by TAG Heuer. It was named in tribute to the 1950s “Carrera Pan-American Rally”. The first chronograph with a pure and functional dial design featuring a wide dial opening and a 1/5th of a second scale on the flange.
In 1965, TAG Heuer adds to their long list of world firsts with the introduction of the “Micro timer”. The first miniaturized electronic timekeeping device with a precision of 1/1000th of a second.
Shortly in 1969, the company introduced the iconic “Monaco” model which is a square case water-resistant chronograph wristwatch. This model was popularized by the Hollywood actor and racecar driver, Steve McQueen, in the movie “Le Mans”. In that same year, TAG Heuer introduced a new Calibre known as the “Chronomatic”. It is regarded as the first automatic chronograph movement with a micro-rotor.
TAG Heuer was named the official timekeeper of the Formula One racing from 1971 to 1979. And, in 1975, TAG Heuer pushed the innovation envelope with the introduction of the “Chrono-split”, a digital chronograph with both the LED and LCD display screens.
Fast forward to 2010, the TAG Heuer introduced the world’s first magnetic oscillator without a hairspring capable of providing the same torque as that of the hairspring. This innovation was called the Pendulum Concept.
TAG Heuer is a Swiss watch brand dedicated to the sports world with an unending thirst for accuracy and innovations in the watchmaking industry. This heritage has, without a doubt, been preserved over the 159 years of the watch brand's existence. And this has definitely earned TAG Heuer a top spot in horology’s hall of fame.