|Famous for||Holds the accolade of ‘avant-garde of watchmaking’. Worn, it seems by almost everyone!|
The brand that we now know as TAG Heuer was set up in 1860 by Edouard Heuer, the son of a master shoemaker, in Saint-Imier when he was just 20 years old.
Heuer was a talented watchmaker patenting a crown winding mechanism just four years into his career and, after a business trip to London, realised the merits of making chronographs, something TAG Heuer became known for all over the world.
When he passed away the business was passed on to his sons Jules-Edouard and Charles-Auguste who expanded its remit to include chronographs in waterproof cases as well as making special models for doctors, artillery officers and even fishermen.
The brand continued to expand under the next generation of Heuers and its overseas expansion, into the young USSR and Japan, helped the company survive the Great Depression of the 1930s.
TAG Heuer’s famed chronographs were used to time the pre-WWII Olympics in Antwerp and its watches were also used to time the first ski and car races.
Jack Heuer, who is still alive today, was the last Heuer to run the company. He was not a watchmaker but an electrical engineer and it was under his auspices that things such as the first LED-LCD wristwatch chronograph with no moving parts was developed.
However, Heuer’s innovations were not enough to keep the company going through the worldwide recession. Thanks to the strong devaluation of the dollar and competition from the Far East, the company was bought, in 1982, by Lemania (owned by Piaget) for zero dollars and zero cents. Remarkable when you think what a behemoth the company is today.
Piaget put the company back on its feet and sold it on to the TAG group in 1985. And TAG Heuer was born.
The newly resurrected brand was to be the go-to watch for the sporty, sophisticated, high-earning individuals. And this set lapped up the watches TAG Heuer produced.
So much so that a mere 17 years later, it was sold to LVMH for CHF1.15 billion (£452.15 million/US$739 million).
As well as having a reputation for sporty chronographs, over the last few years, it has also become known for its technological innovations as evidenced by its Mikro timepieces, such as the 2012 Mikrogirder 1/2000th, which is the world’s fastest chronograph and the MikrotourbillonS in 2013, which TAG Heuer said was the world’s fastest and most accurate double tourbillon.
All of this has been overseen by it’s lead designer, the London-based Christoph Behling who has been with the company since 2004.
Did You Know? Steve McQueen wore a blue Monaco in the 1971 movie Le Mans and this model is now referred to as the “McQueen Monaco” and Walter White, chemistry teacher turned crystal meth making drug baron protagonist from television’s Breaking Bad was bought a TAG Heuer Monaco chronograph by his cohort Jesse Pinkman for his 51st birthday.
Brand Friends: Who isn’t? Cameron Diaz, Maria Sharapova, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Uma Thurman and Cristiano Ronaldo to name but a few.