TAG Heuer History

The TAG Heuer brand has built a reputation for its casual sport watches with racing DNA and their drive to constantly innovate and update their watch designs. However, before TAG Heuer, there was just Heuer. We take a look at the history of the brand and how the famous brand got started, as well as who wears TAG Heuer watches.

When TAG Heuer was just Heuer

When talking about the TAG Heuer History, you first have to talk about Heuer. Edouard Heuer first founded his namesake brand in 1860. 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. Then, in 1887, they received one of their most notable patents for an oscillating pinion mechanism. Today, 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.

The History of TAG Heuer: The Aquaracer

ules-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 1930s, 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 1940s, 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 1950s 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.

The History of Tag Heuer - A Carrera

Heuer in the 1950’s and 1960’s

The 1950s also marked the beginning of Heuer’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 that year, 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 History of TAG Heuer: The 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 stopwatches and timing equipment. Heuer even specially designed some of their chronographs with racing logos, like that of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

When Heuer became TAG Heuer

The 1980s 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. This partnership ultimately led to the brand’s creation of their Formula 1 collection and later a collaborative collection with the Formula 1 Team called the SLR. Shortly after, they launched both the Link and Aquaracer collections under the new TAG Heuer name.

To this day, TAG Heuer continues to be one of the most innovative and successful watchmakers in the world. Just a few years ago in 2015, they introduced their first smartwatch, the TAG Heuer Connected. Two years later, the brand grew the smartwatch line with a second model. With a longstanding reputation for excellence, it’s clear that TAG Heuer has secured their place in watchmaking history.

TAG Heuer Ambassadors

Celebrity branding has been a practice since the 1940s. However, it didn’t become widespread in the watch industry until around the 1990s. The Quartz Crisis prompted many watchmakers to seek innovative ways to reach a new and wider audience. Thus, the rise of brand ambassadors began.

TAG Heuer is no exception. In fact, the brand may be inadvertently responsible for the surge of brand ambassadors in the watch industry. Although Steve McQueen didn’t have an official endorsement deal, he’s arguably worthy of being an honorary brand ambassador. Now, the brand pays homage to him as one of their Heritage Ambassadors.

The TAG Heuer has recently taken a unique approach with their ambassadors. They’ve divided them into subsets: Heritage, Sport, and Lifestyle. The individuals in each category share the challenge of working under intense pressure. However, each of these divisions has something unique to bring to the brand.

Heritage Ambassadors

The Heritage Ambassadors are comprised of a group of timeless figures who have influenced TAG Heuer for decades. Alongside actor and motorsport enthusiast Steve McQueen are racing legends Ayrton Senna and Juan-Manuel Fangio. What’s special about the Heritage Ambassadors is that each has at least one unique timepiece that’s inspired by their contributions. For McQueen, it’s the Monaco Automatic Chronograph. For Senna, it’s both the Formula 1 and Carrera Automatic Chronograph Senna Special Editions. Lastly, for Fangio, it’s both the Heritage and standard Carrera Automatic Chronographs.

Sport Ambassadors

Sports and watches go hand and hand, for many out of necessity and for others out of pure passion. Watchmakers like TAG Heuer have developed partnerships with various sporting events for years, serving as sponsors or Official Timekeepers. Therefore, it comes as no surprise they’d extend those relationships into the realm of Sport Ambassadors. From standup paddle boarding to tennis to hockey, there are no bounds to the possibilities between TAG Heuer and some of the world’s finest athletes.

TAG Heuer has an extensive list of Sport Ambassadors in a wide variety of modalities. They include racers, like the youngest French driver in Formula 1 history, Jean-Eric Vergne and the youngest driver and only American to have a Formula 1 Super License, Alexander Rossi. Their partnerships extend to rising tennis stars like Petra Kvitova, Denis Shapovalov, Alex de Minaur, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Frances Tiafoe. TAG Heuer is also proud to work with athletes in more obscure professional sports. These include standup paddle boarding and hockey with individuals like Kai Lenny and New York Rangers goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist. 

Lifestyle Ambassadors

Whether they’re walking a red carpet or caught by the paparazzi in between shoots, you can usually spot your favorite celebrities sporting a good watch. When it comes to Lifestyle Ambassadors, TAG Heuer is not just looking for the biggest name or the hottest star. They’ve sought out the innovators, rule breakers, and true movers and shakers who are setting the pace in the industry. Today, their lineup includes powerhouse actors like Chris Hemsworth and legendary entertainers and philanthropists, like Patrick Dempsey.  

Who Wears TAG Heuer?

If you’re interested in a TAG Heuer, chances are you’re looking for a watch with robust functionality. Every model in the TAG Heuer catalog has a few things in common. The brand created each watch for a specific purpose. In addition, they each have a laidback and sporty aesthetic that make them equally stylish. 

When the brand first introduced the Carrera, they designed it as a racing watch. That purpose is clear in its key feature: three subdials that show hours, minutes, and seconds. This makes it easy for the driver to tell the time. The Carrera is arguably TAG Heuer’s flagship model, and for good reason. It has a classic, clean design and sizing with versatile appeal. TAG Heuer calls the Monaco a “contemporary classic.” It definitely makes a statement with its unique square case. If you appreciate bold, contemporary design, the Monaco is worth considering.

The TAG Heuer Aquaracer takes a step away from the racing world. Its oversized luminescent hands and hour markers make it easy for divers to read underwater. The Aquaracer has plenty of useful functions and it comes in a variety of materials. Stainless steel is the most common. However, if you’re looking for something dressier, there’s a two-tone steel and gold option. The Link is another model that offers something a little different from the rest of the company’s line-up. Instead of a sport or tool watch, the Link is a dress watch. However, it has a slightly sportier design than the average dress watch, making it a great option for everyday wear.

The great thing about TAG Heuer watches is that they have a pretty universal appeal. Whether you’re looking for a watch for racing, diving, or just everyday wear, a TAG Heuer is a great option at an attainable price point. 

 

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Caitlyn is the founder of Grey Ghost, a New York City-based boutique content marketing agency with a passion for artists, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups. She believes in quality over quantity, creative thinking, and, above all, using language as powerful tool to build lasting connections.

Latest comments
  • 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.

  • a COUPLE OF YEARS AGO i NEEDED TO ILLUSTRATE MY RESPONSE TO AN ONLINE CHALLENGE, IT REQUIRED TO SHOW SOMETHING VERY SWISS. i REMEMBERED MY OLD WATCHES THAT LONG AGO HAD BEEN RETIRED TO MY MEMENTOS DRAWER. sURE ENOUGH THERE WAS MY oMEGA WATCH THAT i GOT IN MY STUDENT DAYS IN THE 1950S AND MY hEUER FROM MY AUTO RALLY DAYS IN THE 60S AND 70S. tHE hEUER SEEMED MORE APPROPRIATE FOR THE NEEDED PHOTO AND i GOT IT OUT, WIPED IT AND WOUND IT UP. sURE ENOUGH, IT STARTED TICKING. tHE TIME-KEEPING WAS STILL ACCEPTABLY ACCURATE AND i WORE IT FOR WEEKS AS MY REGULAR TIME PIECE. only WHEN i DISCOVERED ITS CURRENT VALUE DID i DECIDE TO ONCE AGAIN RETIRE IT, THIS TIME TO MY SAFE DEPOSIT BOX AT THE BANK. i EXPECT TO BRING IT OUT FOR GALA OCCASSIONS AND SPECIAL EVENTS. iT IS A CHERISHED POSSESION.

  • I’d be interested to learn more about Heuer’s association with Nazi Germany in the 40’s. Seems this information is glossed over. For a company based in a neutral country at the time, it appears they picked a side. a web search comesup empty. Perhaps tag heuer isnt too proud of their history?

  • tagheuer is one of the largest brand of selling watches brand all across the world …but this blog is quite different with other because it share history and landmarking of the brand

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