TAG Heuer


TAG Heuer

Infobox Company
name = TAG Heuer SA

type = Member of the LVMH group
foundation = 1860 by Edouard Heuer
location_city = La Chaux-de-Fonds
location_country = Switzerland
location =
locations =
key_people = Jean-Christophe Babin,
President & CEO
Jack W. Heuer,
Honorary President
area_served =
industry = Watch manufacturing
products = Wristwatches, timing devices/systems, fashion accessories
services =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees =
parent = LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A.
divisions =
subsid =
slogan = Swiss Avant-Garde since 1860
homepage = [http://www.tagheuer.com/ TAGHeuer.com]
dissolved =
footnotes =
intl =

TAG Heuer (pronounced: tag-hoyer; tag-oyer in some accents) is a Swiss watchmaker known for its sports watches and chronographs. It is a division of leading luxury goods company LVMH. The company motto is "Swiss Avant-Garde Since 1860".

History

Nineteenth century

Edouard Heuer founded a watchmaking company in 1860.

In 1869, Edouard Heuer patented the first crown-winding mechanism for pocket watches.Fact|date=December 2007 In 1889, during the Universal Exhibition in Paris, the Heuer company won a silver medal for its collection of pocket chronographs.

Early twentieth century

In 1911, Heuer received a patent for the "Time of Trip", the first dashboard chronograph. Designed for use in automobiles and aircraft, two large hands mounted from the center pinion indicate the time of day, as on a traditional clock. A small pair of hands, mounted at the top of the dial (12 o'clock position) indicates the duration of the trip (up to 12 hours). A top-mounted crown allows the user to set the time; a button mounted in that crown operates the start / stop / reset functions of the "duration of trip" counter.

Ed. Heuer introduced its first wrist chronograph in 1914. The crown was at the twelve o'clock position, as these first wrist chronographs were adapted from pocket chronographs. In 1916, Heuer introduced the "Micrograph", the first stopwatch accurate to 1/100th of a second. This model was soon followed by the "Semikrograph", a stopwatch that offered 1/50th of a second timing, as well as a split-second function (which allows the user to determine the interval between two contestants or events).

Timepieces of the 1930s and 1940s

In 1933, Heuer introduced the "Autavia", a dashboard timer used for automobiles and aviation (whence its name, from "AUTos" and "AVIAtion"). The companion "Hervue" was a clock that could run for eight days without being wound. Over the period from 1935 through the early 1940s, Heuer manufactured chronographs for pilots in the German air force, known as "Flieger" (pilots) chronographs. The earlier version featured a hinged-back case and one pusher (for start / stop / reset); the later version had a snap-back case and added a second pusher (for time-in and time-out). All these Flieger chronographs had two-registers, with a capacity of 30 minutes.". [Citation
author = OnTheDash
year = 2008
title = Flieger Chronograph -- Main Page
url = http://www.onthedash.com/Guide/_Chronographs/1935.Flieger_Chronographs/
]

In the mid-1940s, Heuer expanded its line of chronographs to include both two and three register models, as well as a three-register chronograph that included a full calendar function (day / date / month). As the highest development of Heuer's chronographs, these "triple calendar" chronographs were offered in stainless steel, 14 karat gold and 18 karat gold cases. Dial colors were white, black or copper.

1950s Chronographs

In the early 1950s, Heuer produced watches for the American retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. The "Seafarer" and "Auto-Graph" were unique chronographs produced by Heuer to be sold by Abercrombie & Fitch. The "Seafarers" had special dials -- with blue, green and yellow patterns -- that showed the high and low tides. This dial could also be used to track the phases of the moon. Heuer produced a version of the "Seafarer" for sale under the Heuer name, with this model called the "Mareographe". The "Auto-Graph" was produced in 1953 and 1954, and featured a tachymeter scale on the dial and a hand that could be preset to a specific point on the scale. This allowed a rally driver or navigator to determine whether the car was achieving the desired pace, over a measured mile. Advertisements and literature also pointed out that this hand could be rotated to count golf scores or other events.Citation
author = OnTheDash
year = 2008
title = Description of Abercrombie & Fitch Auto-Graph
url = http://www.onthedash.com/Guide/_Chronographs/53.Abercrombie_&_Fitch_Auto-Graph/
]

Late 1950s -- New Series of Dashboard Timers

From as early as 1911, Heuer had manufactured timepieces to be mounted on the dashboards of automobiles, aircraft and boats. These clocks and timers included a variety of models, designed to address specific needs of racers and rallyists. In 1958, Heuer introduced a new line of dashboard timepieces, which included the Master Time (eight-day clock), the Monte Carlo (12-hour stopwatch), the Super Autavia (full chronograph), Sebring (60-minute, split second timer) and Auto-Rallye (60-minute stopwatch). Heuer continued to manufacture these dashboard timepieces into the 1980s, at which time they were discontinued.

The 1960s Chronographs

From the 1950s to the 1970s, Heuers were popular watches among automobile racers, both professionals and amateurs. [Citation
author = OnTheDash
year = 2008
title = Racers Only Page of OnTheDash
url = http://www.onthedash.com/racers.shtml
] Heuer was a leading producer of stopwatches and timing equipment, based on the volume of its sales, so it was only natural that racers, their crews and event sponsors began to wear Heuer's chronographs. Special versions of Heuer chronographs were produced with logos of the Indinapolis Motor Speedway, as well as the names or logos of racing teams or sponsors (for example, Shelby Cobra, MG and Champion Sparkplugs). [Citation
author = OnTheDash
year = 2008
title = Logos and Specials Page of OnTheDash
url = http://www.onthedash.com/logos.shtml
]

The Autavia chronograph was introduced in 1962, and featured a rotating bezel, marked in either hours, minutes, decimal minutes (1/100th minute increments) or with a tachymeter scale. All manual-wind Autavias from the 1960s had a black dial, with white registers. Early cases had a screw-back, and later models (from and after 1968) had snap-backs. The "Autavia" name had previously been used on Heuer's dashboard timers (described above).

The Carrera chronograph, designed by Jack Heuer, was introduced in 1963. The Carrera had a very simple design, with only the registers and applied markers on the dial. The fixed inner bezel is divided into 1/5 second increments. The 1960s Carreras were available with a variety of dials, including all-white, all-black, white registers on a black dial, and black registers on a black dial. A three-register, triple calendar version of the Carrera was introduced around 1968.

Most of Heuer chronographs from this period -- including the Autavias and Carreras -- used movements manufactured by Valjoux, including the Valjoux 72 movement (for a 12-hour chronograph) and the Valjoux 92 movement (for a 30-minute or 45-minute chronograph). The Valjoux 72 movement utilized a "tri-compax" design, with three registers on the dial -- one register for the chronograph hours (at the bottom), one register for the chronograph minutes (at the right), and a third register for a continuously running second hand (at the left). The second hand for the chronograph was mounted on the center pinion, along with the time-of-day hands.

Heuer acquired the "Leonidas" brand in the early 1960s, with the combined company marketing watches under the "Heuer-Leonidas" name. One of the designs that Heuer acquired from Leonidas was the "Bundeswehr" chronograph, used by the German air force. These "BWs" feature a "fly-back" mechanism, so that when the chronograph is reset to zero, it immediately begins running again, to time the next segment or event.

1969 -- The World's First Automatic Chronographs

Commencing in the mid-1960s, Heuer was part of a partnership (with Breitling and Hamilton) that sought to introduce the world's first automatic chronograph. Seiko (a Japanese watch manufacturer) and Zenith (a Swiss watch manufacturer) were also seeking to be the first to offer these chronographs. These projects were conducted in secret, as none of the competitors wanted the other companies to be aware of their efforts. Most agree that the Heuer-Breitling venture was first to introduce their new line of automatic chronographs, with Heuer-Breitling-Hamilton holding lavish press conferences in Geneva and New York, on March 3, 1969, to show their new lines of chronographs.Citation
author = Stein, Jeffrey M.
year = 2008
title = Project 99 -- The Race to Develop the First Automatic Chronograph
url = http://www.onthedash.com/docs/Project99.html
]

Heuer's first automatic chronographs were the Autavia, Carrera and Monaco. These were powered by the Cal 11 and Cal 12 movements (12-hour chronograph); Cal 14 movement (12-hour chronograph and additional hand for GMT / second time-zone); and the Cal 15 movement (30-minute chronograph). Unusually, the winding crown was on the left, with the pushers for the chronograph on the right. The earliest of Heuer's Cal 11 chronographs (from 1969) were named "Chrono-Matic". In the early 1970s, Heuer expanded its line of automatic chronographs to include the Daytona, Montreal, Silverstone, Calculator, Monza and Jarama models, all of them powered by the Caliber 12 movement.

Several of the automatic Heuer chronographs powered by the Caliber 12 series of movements are associated with automobile racing and specific drivers. Steve McQueen wore a blue Monaco in the movie, Le Mans (with this model now referred to as the "McQueen Monaco) and Swiss Formula One star Jo Siffert customarily wore a white-dialed Autavia with black registers. In 1974, Heuer produced a special version of the black-dialed Autavia that was offered by the Viceroy cigarette company, in a special promotion for $88. The Viceroy advertisements for this promotion featured racer Parnelli Jones, with this version of the Autavia coming to be called the "Viceroy". [Citation
author = OnTheDash
year = 2008
title = Comparison of Viceroy Autavias
url = http://www.onthedash.com/docs/CompareViceroys.shtml
]

Chronographs of the 1970s and 1980s

In 1975, Heuer introduced the Chronosplit, a digital chronograph with dual LED and LCD displays. Later versions featured two LCD displays.

Heuer began using the Valjoux 7750 movement in its automatic chronographs, with the Kentucky (introduced in 1977) and Pasadena (introduced in 1977). The Valjoux 7750 movement was a three-register chronograph (with seconds, minutes and hours), that also offered day / date windows.

In the early 1980s, Heuer introduced a series of chronographs powered by the Lemania 5100 movement. The Lemania 5100 movements have the minute hand for the chronograph on the center pinion (rather than on a smaller register), greatly improving legibility. The Lemania 5100 movement is considered very rugged, and has been used in a variety of chronographs issued to military pilots. There are eight models of Heuer chronographs powered by the Lemania 5100 -- Reference 510.500 (stainless steel), 510.501 (black coated), 510.502 (olive drab coated) and 510.503 (pewter coated), as well as models with the names Silverstone (steel case with black dial) and Cortina (steel case with blue dial); the Reference 510.543 was made for the A.M.I. (Italian Air Force), and a special edition (with no reference number marked on the case) was made for AudiSport.

TAG-Heuer

TAG Heuer was formed in 1985 when TAG (Techniques d'Avant Garde), manufacturers of high-tech items such as ceramic turbochargers for Formula 1 cars, acquired Heuer.

On September 13, 1999, TAG Heuer accepted a bid from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A. of 1.15 billion francs ($739 million) contingent upon a transfer of 50.1% of stocks. ["CNNfn staff", [http://money.cnn.com/1999/09/13/europe/lvmh/ TAG accepts LVMH bid] , "CNNMoney", 1999-09-13, Retrieved on 2007-02-26.]

Current models

TAG Heuer concentrates on chronographs with some less expensive models in each line lacking chronograph features. The lines include Formula One, Aquaracer, Link, Carrera, Monaco, and others. Most models feature automatic (self-winding) mechanical movements, water resistant cases, and sapphire crystals; some pieces also include sapphire casebacks, enabling wearers to view the movement's inner workings.

Some of the more recently announced models include the Monaco V4 (the movement of which is driven by belts rather than gears); the Carrera Calibre 360 (the first mechanical wrist chronograph to measure and display time to 1/100th of a second [ [http://www.tagheuer.com/the-news/archive/index.lbl?uh=3884A71F-9058-4163-A2A6-F95A58D57F53 Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix 2006: TAG Heuer triumps again!] , TAGHeuer.com, retrieved on 2008-01-12.] ); and the Monaco 69 (with both a digital chronograph accurate to a millisecond and a traditional mechanical movement, with a hinged mechanism allowing wearers to flip the watch between its two separate dials [ [http://www.tagheuer.com/the-collection/concept-watches/index.lbl?lang=en Concept Watches] , "TAGHeuer.com", Retrieved on 2007-02-26.] ).

Awards

In 2007 TAG Heuer has won the iF product design award [ [http://www.professionalwatches.com/2007/02/tag_heuer_monaco_360_ls_if_des.html PROFESSIONAL WATCHES™: TAG Heuer Monaco 360 LS iF Design Award ] ] for its Monaco Calibre 360 LS Concept Chronograph. The award was given away by the International Forum Design Hannover GmbH, held in Hanover, Germany. The watch received the prestigious award in the Leisure/Lifestyle category. It was chosen among more than 2,200 timepieces presented by watchmakers from 35 countries. From March 15 to August 2007, the watch could be admired at iF design exhibition. TAG Heuer received the iF product design award for the second time in two years. In 2006 another TAG Heuer watch, entitled Professional Golf Watch, won in the same Leisure/Lifestyle category. The design of the Professional Golf Watch was developed with Tiger Woods. [http://www.watchnetwork.com/ClassiApp/ClassiNews/News?process=view_story&NewsStoryID=126 WatchNetwork News, January 26, 2005]

Trivia

*In 1962, Heuer became the first Swiss watchmaker in space. John Glenn wore a Heuer stopwatch when he piloted the Mercury Atlas 6 spacecraft on the first US manned space flight to orbit the earth. [ [http://www.tagheuer.com/the-news/events/index.lbl?uh=6744960C-EC47-4495-909B-384604D55F17&lang=en The First Ever Swiss Timepiece in Space] , "tagheuer.com", retrieved on 2007-02-01.] This stopwatch was the back-up clock for the mission, and was started manually by Glenn 20 seconds into the flight. It is currently on display at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

*TAG Heuer has long had a strong connection with automobile racing beginning with Steve McQueen wearing a Heuer Monaco chronograph in the 1971 film "Le Mans" [http://stvmcqueen.tripod.com/questions3.html Photographs of Steve McQueen in the 1971 film "Le Mans" which included a racing suit with Heuer sponsor tag] and continuing with TAG Heuer developing a watch for the Mercedes-Benz SLR.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.tagheuer.com/ TAGHeuer.com]
* [http://www.watchpedia.info/ WatchPedia] (enthusiast site)
* [http://www.OnTheDash.com/ OnTheDash.com] (site covering vintage Heuers)


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