Tag Heuer: Profile
This year sees TAG Heuer celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Carrera model. The company was founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer in St-Imier, Switzerland. Originally known as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG, it didn’t become TAG Heuer until 1985 when it was bought by TAG Group (Holdings). The two companies merged names with TAG (Techniques d’Avant Garde) and Heuer from the original name and its founder before it was sold in 1999 to the luxury goods company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
TAG has become synonymous with fast cars and motor sport for decades; this connection can be traced all the way back to the early 1900s when Edouard Heuer began producing a range of timepieces designed to be used on board airplanes, automobiles, and boats. The first of these was the Time of Trip chronograph. Then in 1914 the company started producing chronographs that could be worn by pilots and drivers on their wrists. By 1916 Heuer produced the Micrograph, a stopwatch accurate to within 1/100th of a second. From the 1950s until the late 1970s Heuer’s watches were very popular with professional and amateur drivers, which led the company eventually to produce special edition watches featuring the logos of various racing teams. The company continued to specialize in racing timepieces up until the 1980s. They are also featured as official timekeepers for a range of sporting events, including Formula One.
The Carrera was designed by Jack Heuer, the grandson of company founder Edouard Heuer. It takes its name from a famous Mexican road race and was introduced in 1963. The simple design included features such as the applied markers and registers placed on the dial while the fixed inner bezel was divided into 1/5-second increments. In 1968 a triple calendar version of the watch was released. Carrera models include the Carrera 12, Carrera 45, Carrera Automatic and automatic chronograph, Carrera Automatic Chronograph Tachymeter, and the Automatic GMT.
There have been 10 versions of the model—one launched every decade since the first one in 1963; 2011 saw the launch of the Carrera Mikrograph, which was the first watch to use the company’s in-house Mikrograph movement and the Carrera MP4-12C, which was designed to commemorate the new McLaren MP4-12C supercar. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the company has released two new Carrera models: the Calibre 1887 Jack Heuer edition and the Carrera Jack Heuer 80 Limited Edition, which also celebrates Heuer’s 80th birthday and his retirement from the company.
Like the Carrera, seven of the automatic chronographs produced by the company have strong associations with auto sport and certain drivers. For example, the late Steve McQueen wore a blue Monaco in the 1971 film racing movie Le Mans, which led to the watch becoming closely associated with the actor and is now often referred to as the McQueen chronograph. Jo Siffert, a Formula One driver, was often seen wearing an Autavia model.
The company’s current lineup of watches include the Formula One, Aquaracer, Link, Carrera, Monaco, and the Grand Carrera.