When TAG Heuer was just Heuer
When talking about the history of TAG Heuer, you first have to talk about Heuer. The Heuer brand was founded in 1860 by Eduoard Heuer. In just a few short years, Heuer filed an impressive number of patents. During 1869, they secured the patent for a keyless, crown-operated winding system for pocket watches. In 1882, they patented the company’s first chronograph. And in 1887, they received one of their most notable patents for an oscillating pinion mechanism. Major watchmakers still use this technology. That same year, Edouard’s son Jules-Edouard joined the family business. Sadly, founder Edouard Heuer passed away five years later, in 1892.
Jules-Edouard proudly carried on his father’s work. In 1895, the company filed yet another patent for its first water resistant case. Then, in 1911, Heuer patented their first dashboard chronograph called Time of Trip. This patent is particularly notable because it sparked the longstanding relationship between Heuer and the automobile and airline industries. The company’s growth allowed for increased research and development, which ultimately led to their next big breakthrough. In 1916, Heuer released the Micrograph, the most accurate stopwatch at the time.
For the next few decades, the brand continued to focus on their close relationship with the automobile and airline industries. In the 1930’s, they began producing chronographs specially designed for pilots. Then, in 1933, Heuer introduced another dashboard instrument for automobiles and planes: the Autavia. This clock featured a timer function and could run for an impressive eight days without being wound.
Heuer in the 1940’s
Into the 1940’s, Heuer began to shift their focus. They started making chronographs for the German air force, and they started developing their line of wristwatches. In 1948, they launched the Auto-Graph. This wristwatch featured a chronograph function with a tachometer scale and manual reference hand. Just a year later, the brand introduced the Solunar, the first watch with a tide indicator.
The focus on wristwatches continued into the 1950’s with the release of the first Seafarer in 1950. The original model was the world’s first chronograph with a tide level indicator and dial for regattas. Just five years later, Heuer introduced the Twin-Time. This wristwatch was self-winding and equipped with a second time zone indicator.
Heuer in the 1950’s and 1960’s
The 1950’s also marked the beginning of Heur’s partnership with Abercrombie & Fitch. They produced exclusive versions of the Seafarer and Auto-Graph for the brand, with special dials and unique color patterns.
In 1962, Heuer made history as the first Swiss watchmaker to enter outer space. On February 20th, John Glenn made the first American space flight with a Heuer stopwatch on his wrist.
A year later in 1963, Heuer launched one of its now iconic models: the Carrera chronograph. Then, in 1969, the brand made one of its most groundbreaking horological advancements. Heuer had discretely been working on a top secret effort called Project 99 in tandem with Breitling, Buren, and Dubois-Depraz. Together, they invented the first self-winding chronograph movement, called the Chronomatic. They used it in three wrist chronograph models: the Carrera, the Autavia, and the brand new Monaco.
The Monaco was popularized by prominent actor and racing legend Steve McQueen. He wore the distinctive chronograph while making the film Le Mans in 1970. Throughout this decade, Heuer continued to maintain a strong presence in the automobile industry. They were the leading manufacturer of stop watches and timing equipment. Some of their chronographs were even specially designed with racing logos, like the that of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
When Heuer became TAG Heuer
The 1980’s were a time of major change for Heuer. In 1985, a group called Techniques d’Avant Garde acquired the company and became the brand we know today, TAG Heuer. Under the new leadership and name, they continued to uphold the Heuer’s original values. In 1992, TAG Heuer became the official timekeeper for Formula 1 racing, perpetuating their longstanding relationship with the automobile industry.
To this day, TAG Heuer continues to be one of the most innovative and successful watchmakers in the world. Just a few years ago, they introduced their first smartwatch, the TAG Heuer Connected. With a longstanding reputation for excellence and an increasingly growing popularity, it’s clear that TAG Heuer has secured their place in watchmaking history.