Behind The Brand: TAG Heuer
In this third installment of our Behind the Brand series, we’ll be exploring what lies behind TAG Heuer – the long established and hugely popular Swiss watchmaker.
TAG Heuer (pronounced HOY-er) is a Swiss watch manufacturer known the world over for their innovative and pioneering designs. Building one of the world’s best luxury timepieces from scratch is no mean feat, but when a watchmaker can also invent new and improved components which work better than the industry norm, you know that they’re something special.
When was TAG Heuer founded?
TAG Heuer was founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer, although its original name was rather different than the one we know today. Initially, Edouard named his company ‘Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG’, which translates to ‘Heuer Watchmaking Inc.’ in English. It doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well as we’re used to, and for non-German speakers it can appear a bit of a mouthful!
Although the company was founded in 1860, it wasn’t until 1882 that Heuer managed to patent his first chronograph. He earned international respect in 1887, when he patented the ‘oscillating pinion’. This adaption to the internal movement greatly improved accuracy and meant that certain components could be replaced for something much smaller. Oscillating pinions are still used today by many luxury watchmakers, cementing TAG Heuers place up there with the best watchmakers in the world.
Where does the name TAG Heuer come from?
It may surprise you to learn that the name TAG Heuer didn’t appear until 1985, a whole 125 years after the company was founded. Over these many decades, people knew the company as simply, ‘Heuer’. The addition of TAG to the beginning comes from the company which acquired Heuer at this time; Techniques d’Avant Garde, or TAG for short. Founded in 1977, TAG works in aviation and motorsports, as well as other exciting ventures, making them the perfect match for such a sporty watch manufacturer who places a lot of importance on accuracy.
The name Heuer, of course, comes from the name of the man who founded the company in the first place – Edouard Heuer. The family name connection was thankfully not lost during the takeover of the business by TAG; Edouard’s great grandson - Jack Heuer - is alive today, and serves as the honorary chairman of the company. He has worked for the family business since 1958, and joined after achieving a degree in electrical engineering. He put this to good use by managing TAG Heuer’s development of electronic timers, including the 1966 Microtimer, which is accurate to 1/1000th of a second!
Interestingly, the word ‘heuer’ in regional German can mean ‘nowadays’ or ‘this year’, which connects to the concept of time itself. This is a fitting name for a family who have had such success in the industry.
Keeping time in the world of sports
TAG Heuer began its watchmaking life creating accurate chronographs and timepieces for practical use. In 1911, it patented the first chronograph which was designed for use on a dashboard. This was ground-breaking because it meant the time of day and the duration of the trip could be read easily. In the following years, Heuer worked closely with aviation designers and race car manufacturers that shared the same drive for innovation and talent for pin-point accuracy. Heuer was in-turn able to source finer materials allowing it to manufacture luxury wristwatches.
In the 1980s, Heuer stopped manufacturing dashboard chronographs to concentrate on its wrist watches, leaving behind an impressive legacy. It's many designs have been used in race cars, aircraft and boats specifically to support racing, rallying, seafaring and navigation.
The first Swiss watch in space
In our last installment of the Behind the Brand series, we wrote about how Omega had the prestigious honour of being the first watch worn on the moon in 1969. However, in 1962, John Glenn – the first American to orbit the earth – wore a Heuer stopwatch when he piloted the Mercury Atlas 6 spacecraft around our planet. It was used as a back-up clock for the mission thanks to its accuracy, and was started 20 seconds into the flight by Glenn himself. Unlike the Omega that was worn by Buzz Aldrin on the moon and is now considered lost, John Glenn’s Heuer stopwatch can be seen on display at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
It’s critical that astronauts are able to keep time as accurately as possible when undertaking missions, as the timings for manoeuvres must be perfect in order for the flight to be successful when entering into orbit. A small mistake in timing could spell disaster, so the use of this stopwatch speaks volumes for the accuracy and reliability of Heuer-manufactured timepieces.
Modern day motor racing credentials
Fans of Formula One will have seen the TAG Heuer logo in partnership with the Red Bull Racing Formula One team. TAG Heuer-branded power units are used in the cars, which require extreme precision and technological power. Before acquiring Heuer, TAG manufactured high-tech Formula One racing car components, including ceramic turbochargers; thus cementing their place in such a prestigious field. TAG Heuer has also developed a special watch for the McLaren F1 team to commemorate its partnership, and many of their watch models are named after the sport.
Fancy possessing your very own TAG Heuer watch? Whether you’re looking for the next luxury watch for your collection, or you’re in the market for your first high-end timepiece, we can help. Here at Est1897 we have a wide range of pre-owned, fully serviced, cleaned and authenticated TAG Heuer timepieces at discount prices. You can find Formula One models, as well as other classics such as the beautiful Carrera and the sporty Aquagraph. Check out our online selection of TAG Heuer watches here, or go in-store to see the unique local range on offer.
We accept online payment, payment in-store, and part-exchange on all timepieces in our luxury watch collection. It’s never been easier to own a piece of history which is designed to last forever with the proper care.