Although now an internationally-renowned luxury watch brand, Tag Heuer wasn't always known as such. The company started life as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG, founded by Edouard Heuer in 1860 in St-Imier, Switzerland. Since this day, Tag has become one of the true giants of Swiss watchmaking, with technologies designed by the company still used widely to this day. Edouard Heuer was a pioneer when it came to watch making and patented his first chronograph in 1882. Just 5 years later, Heuer patented the "oscillating pinion", a system still incorporated in many of today’s finest chronograph watches.
After pioneering the World’s first dashboard chronograph in 1914 – which was used in cars and aircraft – Heuer introduced its very first wrist chronograph in 1914. Adapted from traditional pocket chronographs, these first wristwatches featured the crown at the 12 o’clock position. 1916 saw the company introduce the first watch accurate to a hundredth of a second. Soon after the, “Semikrograph” was released. This stopwatch offered timing to a fiftieth of a second, along with a split-second function. These early breakthroughs began to establish Heuer’s – and later Tag Heuer’s – unparalleled reputation for precision timekeeping.
In the 1950's Heuer produced watches for American company Abercrombie and Fitch, with the two models the “Seafarer" and the "Auto-Graph" produced specifically to be sold by the retailer. These watches were two of the most advanced of their time, suited to navigators, drivers and elite sportsmen as much as they were to style lovers of the time. The "Auto-Graph" watch was designed for use by rally drivers as it had tachymeter scale within the dial which meant it could be used as a pace-keeper. The watch could also be used by golfers, who could adjust the dial to keep score when on the course. The Seafarer was well suited to navigators and - amongst other features - incorporated a mechanism showing high and low tides.
By the 1960s, Heuer had built a following from everything from professional sportsmen, to watch aficionados and lovers of state-of-the-art technology alike. 1962 was a memorable year for the company, when a Tag Heuer model was taken by John Glenn to space for the first time on the Mercry Atlas 6 spacecraft.
During the 1960's, the company turned their attention into making an automatic chronograph to compete with other watch giants such as Zenith and Seiko. The manufacturer of this new design – conducted alongside Breitling and Hamilton - was a top secret, as none of the watch companies wanted other competitors to know how much research and design had been achieved. During 1969 Tag Heuer released their new chronograph models at press conferences in New York and Geneva. The models released were Carrera, Autavia and The Monaco. These watches proved immensely popular, becoming some of Tag Heuer’s most famous ever models. Indeed, the Carrera and Monaco are still being produced to this day and the Autavia is set for a re-launch in 2017.
Within the 1970s, Tag released the Chronosplit, a digital chronograph with both LED and LCD displays. Along with this, the decade saw them introduce a range of models using the Lemania 5100 movement, a mechanism which was known for its ruggedness and used by pilots throughout the era.
1985 saw the company change name to Tag Heuer, when Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG), who were known for their high-tech products, acquired the Heuer company. In 1999, the TAG Group sold the majority of Tag Heuer to the Paris-based European luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.
The following years have seen the Tag Heuer release a range of updated models, whilst retaining the classic Swiss style and reliability their models are known for. The “Pendulum Concept” was introduced in 2010, whilst new editions of models such as the Carrera, Monaco and Aquaracer have been consistent features of the past few years.
Tag Heuer are one of the most prestigious and well-respected watchmakers in the World, having consistently innovated in the field since the company first began creating timepieces over 150 years ago. If you’re looking to purchase a timepiece with real prestige and style, as well as a pioneering history, a watch from the Tag Heuer collection makes a great choice.