The History of Tag Heuer
Edouard Heuer was the founder of the luxury watch company Tag Heuer back in 1860. The business was based in St Imier, Switzerland, known for famous watch makers. Many of these brands are still known today as fashionable pieces, but they were originally intended for practical use.
The company specialized in sports watches and chronographs, with Heuer patenting his first chronograph in 1887.
The chronographs were timepieces designed for air crafts and automobiles. They had multiple functions, not only for precise time keeping, but for timing journeys. After designing a ‘Oscillating Pinion’ in 1887 (still used by watchmakers for mechanical chronographs), Heuer invented the ‘Time of Trip’. This was the first dashboard chronograph for aircraft use, which showed the duration of the trip as well as the time.
In 1914 Heuer introduced its first wristwatch chronograph. It was adapted from the pocket watch chronograph.
By 1916, the ‘Micrograph’ was introduced. This was a stopwatch which was accurate to 1/100 of a second. Because of the accuracy, the stopwatch was used by sports professionals within the Olympic Games to time sprints, and it was used for technical research. The model was followed by the ‘Semikrograph’, which was accurate to 1/50 of a second. Again, this was used in sporting events to time the interval among two contestants. The split second stop watches were used as the official watches in the Olympic Games for three years running.
Throughout the 1930’s, the ‘Autavia’ had been introduced for use as a dashboard timer. German pilots in the Air Force used ‘Flieger’ chronographs featuring two pushers and two registers with a capacity for 30 minutes. By the 1940’s, the models included a calender function and were designed in stainless steel, 14, 18 and 22 carat gold.
Sporting Time Pieces
As well as being used for the Olympic Games, Tag Heuer were also time keepers for sports events such as the bob sleigh, skiing and car races. The stopwatches were used in the 1950 Carrera Pan American Rally, which was a 6 day event to celebrate Mexico’s section of the Pan American highway.
In the late sixties, Swiss Grand Prix winner Joe Swift wore the Autavia. During the 1970’s Ferrari then became the official sponsor of Tag Heuer. The brand was associated with legendary racing drivers and was used in Formula One cars.
By 1987, McLaren took over from Ferrari, as their sponsor. They were known as the Tag McLaren Team and between 1992 and 2003, the famous brand was F1’s official timekeeper.
Tag Heuers were not only used by professionals in the world of sport and for pilots and boats. The quality watches were used as fashionable pieces by Hollywood stars and worn by sporting heros. Steve McQueen wore the ‘Monoca’ chronograph while filming Le Mans in 1970. It made him their official ambassador.
Although the brand is well sought after today as a sign of quality and design, new models are evolving. Big companies still rely on the precision and invention. The unique style of the 2002 Sport Vision glasses show practicality with technological frames and sunglasses, as well as the need to look good.
As awards have been given for design and technology, the popularity increases when sports men and women who wear their Tag Heuer watches become icons with celebrity statuses.
Tag Heuer Watch Company
The History of Tag Heuer