A concise history of the Heuer – Part I

Swiss Avant-Garde Tag Heuer is around since 1860. Their obsession with an ultimate form of precision is legendary; their dedication to innovate needs no proof and their deep love for prestigious sports knows no bounds. Luxury thus gets a new definition under the TAG Heuer brand and that they have established over half a century.

The Tag Heuer philosophy resulted from their constant experiments with everything that’s impossible; as a result, they unwrapped many of the unknown concepts and philosophies making their instruments today. Achieving an accuracy of 1/10th; then 1/100th and finally 1/1000th of a second (for wristwatches) now stretches to 1/10,000th in the field of professional time-keeping. The brand is also the first one to create the first micro-rotor based automatic chronograph with a water resistant square case.

That was 1969; however, in 1983, they made another breakthrough by creating the analog display quartz chronograph – the Monaco V4 Concept – which took the sports arena and Hollywood by storm. Today as well, the brand continues its journey of blending quality with precision and that of endurance with technical innovation.

Some of the great professional achievers have dangled a TAG Heuer down their wrist. Steve McQueen and Brad Pitt are two of them, later joined by Leonardo de Caprio, Alain Prost (F1 driver), Yao Ming (NBA basketball player), Maria Sharapova (tennis star) and Uma Thurman (actress). Tiger Woods, the legendary golfer also wears the legend; it’s Tag Heuer’s official association with the Summer Olympic Games, Skiing World Championships and Formula One World Championships that made them do it. Edouard Heuer would have been very proud had he known this.

The history of the TAG innovation goes back as far as in 1887, when they introduced and patented the oscillating pinion for mechanical chronographs. The invention is was as significant as John Moses Browning’s 1911 model; both are still in use.

The wrist chronograph also saw daylights at the house of Heuer and in 1916, the Micrograph (measured 1/100th of a second). The Semikrograph (split-second function; to measures the interval between events) was their next offering to the watch world and then, the Flieger chronographs (both two and three registers, with full calendar functions) for the pilots in the German air force between 1935 and 1944. The ‘50s saw their Mareograph – Seafarer wristwatch; it featured a chronograph with a tide and moon phases indicator. Later on came the Autavia, the Carrera and the Monaco as we know it today, but those we will talk about some other time. For now, just know they used Valjoux movements (Cal. 11, 12, 14 and 15), just like the others specified before. The Chronosplit came much later – in the ‘70s – but the history of the world’s first quartz wrist chronograph (dual LED and LCD displays) needs to be told in details. As Gonzo says: All in good time!

Watch(es) mentioned in this post are listed below.  Click to see details and buy them:


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