To trailblaze, one must build, bend, and break the rules. Dismantling and defining convention is what separates TAG Heuer from the rest. Techniques D’avantGarde is more than just a name in Swiss watchmaking and beholds its unconventional values in its name. Known for Edouard Heuer’s revolutionary approach to craftsmanship, TAG timepieces are more than a measurement of time, more than a mechanical convenience, more than just a watch. Since 1860, Heuer’s brand has been redefining innovative standards by mastering the fundamental aspects of design. The brand appreciates utilitarian precision alongside aesthetic intrigue, and for centuries, has fused the two to make the most artfully accurate collections.
Before TAG came EduoardHeuer, the founder and visionary of the brand with the same namesake. Quickly, the inventor developed a myriad of patents and in 1869 secured their first patent for a keyless, crown-winding technique for pocket watches. In 1882, they patented their first chronograph and 5 years later, his son Jules-Edouard joined the business and they garnered the patent for an oscillating pinion mechanism in 1887. This was one of their first notable feats and it ignited a legacy of cutting-edge horology.
The 1900s were a soaring time for Tag Heuer’s inventive heritage and the centenary modernization of the watch is inspired by the many accomplishments seen throughout. As a watch that was made for adventure, Tag Heuer became the de facto timepiece of exploration. In the early 1900s, the company patented Time of Trip, their first dashboard chronograph, and this movement cemented Heuer’s relationship with the automobile and avian world. Always striving to reach new heights, break new records, and see new worlds, Tag Heuer mimics its ambitious nature through its mechanics; the Micrograph, a result of the company’s development, was the most accurate stopwatch of its time.
The 30s inducted a time of pivotal progress and Heuer launched the Autavia, their special dashboard for cars and planes. Its chronograph timer function ran for 8 days without needing to be wound. The name, Autavia, portmanteau’s Auto with Aviation, the two vehicles this dashboard timer was made for. Over the next decade, Heuer manufactured Flieger (pilot) chronographs for German pilots. This collection featured two versions: the first with a hinged-back case and single pusher (start/stop/reset), the second with a snap-back case and second pusher (time-in and time-out), each one with two-registers and 30-minute capacity. Heuer’s active presence in recording achievement and documenting history influenced their use of design and function as a symbiotic force that paved industry standards for the next hundred years.
The dawn of the 60s brought the Carrera, designed by the great-grandson of Edouard, Jack Heuer. This chronograph was simple in design, featuring only the registers and markers on the dial. The inner bezel was divided in ⅕ second increments and in 1968, a three register, triple calendar Carrera was introduced. In 1962, Tag Heuer went to space, making it the first Swiss watchmaker to travel a new frontier. Adorned on John Glenn’s wrist was a Heuer stopwatch as he piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 on the first US manned space flight to orbit the earth. This was the mission’s back-up clock and was started manually by Glenn 20 seconds into the flight and can currently be viewed on display at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
In this same year, the Autavia chronograph was introduced with a rotating bezel and hour, minute, decimal minute (1/100th minute increments) markers, or with a tachymeter scale. The manual-wind Autavias featured a black dial with white registers. Closing off the 60s decade, Heuer launched one of its most groundbreaking horological advancements. Together with Breitling, Buren, and Dubois-Depraz, Heuer quietly worked on the top-secret project, Project 99. This powerhouse team invented the first self-winding chronograph movement called the Chronomatic and incorporated it in three wrist chronograph models: their Carrera, Autavia, and new Monaco.
Steve McQueen, decorated actor and racing legend, was a prominent fan of the Monaco and iconically adorned this timepiece during the filming of Le Mans in 1970. Quickly, the brand became the leading manufacturer of stopwatches and timing equipment and their name became synonymous with the race track; they specifically designed a few chronographs with racing logos inspired by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The brand continues to be no stranger to Motorsport and Heuer was named the official timepiece of the Ferrari F1 team in the 1970s and McLaren from the 1980s until 2015. The transitional time of the 1980s brought upon major changes to the company, yet its values were unquivering during this advent. In 1985, a group called Techniques d’AvantGarde acquired the company to fuse the brand into who we love today, TAG Heuer. In this new regime, the brand stayed true to its identity as it continued to uphold the original Heuer explorative expectations. In 1992, TAG Heuer became the official timekeeper for Formula 1 racing, preserving their deeply-rooted relationship with the auto industry.
In a world that beholds all potential, we always seek the untouched, the undiscovered, the undone. As the brand of champions, we know TAG will always accurately witness our own evolutions, durably and undeniably. A brand that asserts its own push to forward their limits, we’re reminded of our own capabilities to establish, then beat, our own greatness. The act of checking time is our daily reminder to push boundaries, to thrive in chaos, and to innovate our own legacy. Our self-improvement has become part of our daily ritual and TAG has tuned our quotidian nuances into a luxury. Both a statement in design and ethos, the brand’s current lines, Formula One, Aquaracer, Link, Carrera, Monaco, and Grand Carrera, are the mechanical manifestation of the brilliance of man.
As one of the industry superlatives, TAG has adopted a prolific celebrity-endorsed campaign with the slogans, “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” and “What Are You Made Of”. Marketing campaigns are backed by industry disruptors and top talents of our time, like Tom Brady, Alec Monopoly, Maria Sharapova, Ai Tominaga, Brad Pitt, Cara Delivigne, and Tiger Woods. The brand has also partnered with actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio to donate the royalties generated from their deal to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Green Cross International. In this new world order, TAG Heuer continues to lead horological innovation to new frontiers. With the release of their first smartwatch, the TAG Heuer Connected, the brand continues to adapt without severing its pledge to timeless ingenuity. With a commitment to excellence and an aptitude for cutting-edge foresight, TAG Heuer has established its marking of history as the marker of history.