Switzerland, as we know, is known for being the first choice for many people for the purpose of having a vacation due to the enthralling beauty of the Alps. But there is another aspect that is unique to Switzerland, and that is, luxury watches. Most probably, you might have heard about luxury watchmaking companies based in Switzerland, which include TAG Heuer. Beginning in 1860 in a small town of St.-Imier in Switzerland, TAG Heuer is known as one of the most famous luxury watch brands of modern times. In the history of about a century and a half, this company has revolutionized the idea of different timekeeping devices. The company now consists of about 170 brand boutiques, employing over 1600 people all over the world. This luxury watch brand is known to venture not only in the luxury watchmaking regime, but is also markets fashion accessories, eyewear, and mobile phones that are manufactured under license from others but are marketed under the brand name of TAG Heuer. There are some facts you probably don’t know about this technology conglomerate. Worry not, we are here to make you aware!
- The Real Name wasn’t TAG Heuer:
What you know is TAG Heuer, what you don’t know about this company is Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer. This incredible watchmaking company began as a small home-based venture known as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer in the small town of St.-Imier under Edouard Heuer, who was a Swiss watchmaker, and was the son of a shoemaker, and Heuer’s obsession brought him towards the watchmaking industry.
The company continued for more than 100 years under the same name. in 1985, a Luxembourg based group called TAG Group purchased a major stake in the company, thereby forming the TAG Heuer as we know today. The ‘Heuer’ part of the name still honors the founder of the watch company, Edouard Heuer who started this venture in the first place.
- The Mechanical Stopwatch You Use is Based on TAG Heuer technology of 1887:
The precise and accurate stopwatches we use today for timing the events are based on the technology that was first patented by the founder of Heuer watchmaking company, Edouard Heuer in 1887, more than 130 years ago. Edouard, due to his obsession towards timekeeping devices, was keen to make his place in this industry. He ultimately developed an oscillating pinion, which became the basis for manufacturing the simplified chronograph. Later, this technology was refined to produce the most precise chronographs of the time.
- The First Swiss Stopwatch to Go to Space:
After the Soviets succeeded in putting the first man into space (Yuri Gagarin), the American counterparts found themselves in a space race. They had their plans to put a man John Glenn into space as the first American around the Earth’s orbit. The complexity of missions carried out in space required NASA to equip the pilot with the most precise timekeeping device. The skill of extreme precision in timekeeping belonged to none other than the Heuer watches of that time. On 20 February 1962, John Glenn orbited the Earth 3 times wearing a Heuer 2915A, which is still preserved in a museum in Washington D.C. in this way, one of the firsts achieved by Heuer watches was to be the first Swiss chronograph to go to space.
- The Company Almost Went Bankrupt:
You might consider TAG Heuer to play in gold oceans today considering the luxury of the brand, but the company has seen the bad times for its part. In the mid-1970s, when the USA adopted floating exchange rates rather than the gold standard, the company found itself almost bankrupt because the prices of its watches skyrocketed within a year or so, because of the highly increased exchange rate of Swiss currency as compared to the US dollar. The economic recession took a major toll on the buying power of the American populace, and the luxury goods found their sales decreasing very sharply. The company eventually recovered, when the recession of the US economy recovered after some years.
- The Connected Modular 45 – Luxury with Mobility with the Most Expensive Smartwatch:
The territory of making smartwatches bearing Android and Apple operating systems, as we know, belongs to major smartphone manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Motorola and Huawei. But, the smartwatches from these manufacturers fade in comparison when it comes to TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, the in-house smartwatch from the company. The blingiest smartwatch of the world, Connected Modular 45, is lavishly covered in 589 diamonds, and costs a jaw-dropping 180,000 US dollars!
- When TAG Heuer was Blamed to Copy Seiko:
When TAG Heuer released the Caliber 1887 chronograph, it found itself in the hot waters. The company was blamed for copying the design of the Seiko TC78 chronograph, a chronograph from a Japanese company Seiko. Although TAG Heuer repeatedly claimed that Caliber 1887 was the product of their in-house design, the company later admitted that it bought the intellectual property from Seiko.
- Steve McQueen and the Heuer Monaco:
Any luxury item is made famous when the highly acknowledged celebrities wear it while shooting their works. People are used to symbolize the gesture. That is the very case with the famous Heuer Monaco, which was particularly made famous by Steve McQueen, when he chose this watch to wear during the shoot of the film Le Mans. The film was released in 1971, in which he played the role of the driver Michael Delany. The watch had a dark blue dial witch silver and red parts, enclosed in a steel case. Steve McQueen also wore a jacket in that movie that bore the badge of ‘Chronograph Heuer’. The same watch was sold at an auction later, with a hefty price tag of 799,500 US dollars!
- The Heuer Mikograph:
The precision and accuracy associated with the Heuer watches was once again proved to be true when the company developed the famous Heuer Mikograph. The timepiece, developed in 1916, was so accurate that it could measure up to 1/100th of a second. The movement of this device was beating at a rate of 360,000 vph, which is ten times faster than the devices we have today, which beat at 36000 vph.
Owing to the extreme precision of the original Mikograph by TAG Heuer, the company was awarded the contract of the official timekeeper of the Olympics, as no other watchmaking company had that precision at that time.
Later, the company also developed the technology for a chronograph that could measure time accurately up to 1/2000th of a second.
- TAG is an abbreviation for Techniques d’Avant Garde:
The very name of TAG Heuer bears luxury. The full name of the TAG is Techniques d’Avant Garde, which means pushing the levels beyond what is accepted to be the status quo. When the name is so lavish, the luxury in the goods built by such a company is bound to be otherworldly.
- Contribution to World War 2:
From 1935 to 1940, the Heuer watchmaking company made chronographs for the pilots of Luftwaffe, the aerial warfare branch of the German forces. The precision associated with the Heuer watches of that time led the German forces to chose them. Heuer had previously developed timepieces to be used on the dashboards of planes, boats, and cars since 1911.The luxury and the reliability of the timepieces manufactured by this company has definitely flourished over a century and a half of experience.
Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.
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