The History of TAG Heuer

TAG HEUER — Since 1860 — Founded in Saint-Imier in 1860 by Edouard Heuer, TAG Heuer has marked the history of luxury watchmaking, especially in the fields of chronographs and ultimate precision. A legend in prestige Swiss watchmaking and one of its most innovative Manufacture, TAG Heuer has built on its active commitment in the sports world to create the most accurate timing instruments and wrist timepieces in the world. TAG Heuer is the world leader in high precision luxury chronographs with an unequalled mechanical accuracy of 1/10th, 1/100th, 1/1000th and even 5/10,000th of a second.

In 2012, thanks to the lessons learned through these achievements, TAG Heuer won the world’s most coveted watchmaking award, the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix «Aiguille d’Or». From the Olympic Games in 1920 to its role as official watch and chronograph for the legendary Indy 500 race or for the Formula E, a new FIA championship of 100% electrically powered racing cars, today TAG Heuer is unrelenting in its quest for innovation, excellence, performance and prestige. This ambition is reflected in its partnerships with F1 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team and its World Champion Jenson Button, with Audi Sport in the Le Mans 24 Hours and endurance races, and with the Automobile Club of Monaco for the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix. TAG Heuer is also a partner of Oracle Racing, the 34th America’s Cup defender and winner of the America’s Cup World Series 2012-2013.

More than ever, the brand epitomizes prestige and performance through active and socially responsible partnerships with actress Cameron Diaz, actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Shah Rukh Khan and Chen DaoMing, and WTA tennis champion Maria Sharapova.

Today, TAG Heuer develops and manufactures its own movement, the Calibre 1887, a chronograph with an oscillating pinion invented by Heuer in 1887. It also handcrafts the Monaco V4, a movement driven by belts,  the Carrera Mikrograph, accurate to 1/100th of a second, and the Carrera MikrotourbillonS, a stunning double tourbillon on a 50Hz movement developed on the Mikrograph platform, and it just launched the MikroPendulumS, the first magnetic double Tourbillon. This exceptional level of watchmaking excellence has earned the company membership in the most exclusive circle of the Swiss watchmaking elite, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH). This year, TAG Heuer celebrates the 50th anniversary of its iconic timepiece, the Carrera.

1860

1860

At the age of twenty, Edouard Heuer sets up a watchmaking workshop in St.Imier in the Swiss Jura region.

1876

1876

Edouard Heuer established a subsidiary in London.

1883

1883

The company wins a silver medal at the International Exhibition in Amsterdam.

1887

1887

Edouard Heuer's son, Jules-Edouard becomes part of the management.

1887

1887

Majour improvement in the chronograph industry.

TAG Heuer invented the famous "oscilationg pinion" for mechanical stopwatches. 

In 1887, the Oscilating Pinion was patented. It still used to this day by leading manufacturers in sic production of mechanical chronographs and for example in the Calibre 1887, the fourth movement developed and produced in-house by TAG Heuer.

1888

1888

The company is awarded a patent for a repeater watch with automatic chiming.

1889

1889

TAG Heuer wins a silver medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, for its collection of pocket chronographs.

1891

1891

Charles-Auguste Heuer joins the company after working in lOndon at Edwin V. Streeter Ltd, an authority in semi-precious stones, and obtaining a diploma in gemology.

1892

1892

Edouard Heuer dies on April 30th, at the age of fifty-two.

1895

1895

The Patent for one of the first water-resistant cases for pocket watches.

1908

1908

The company obtains a patent for a Pulsometer dial still used today by doctors.

1910

1910

The first TAG Heuer patent.

Edouard Heuer patented a keyless, crown-operated winding system for pocket watches.

1910

1910

Henri Freund & Bros. takes on the distribution of Heuer products for the American market.

1911

1911

The "Time of Trio", the first dashboard chronograph patented by TAG Heuer in 1911, was designed for aircraft and automobiles.

Its 11c-cm diameter and its size are well suited for installation on all types of dashboards.

The large hands at the centre of the dial indicate the time. The small pair of hands, at the 12 o'clock position, give the duration of the trip (not exeeding 12 hours). The same button is used to start, stop and reset the clock.

A small window at the 3 o'clock position serves to monitor the proper operation of the device.

1912

1912

Heuer begins producing women's wristwatches.

1914

1914

Introduction of the brand's first wrist chronographs with a silver case, enamelled dial and luminous hands. 

This large wrist chronograph is fitted with the same mechanics, powered by a pocket watch movement.

Its crown and integrated button for start, stop and reset are located at 12 o'clock.

1916

1916

TAG Heuer invents the "Mikrograph" and the "Microsplit", the world's first sports stopwatches with a precision of 1/100th of a second.

The "Microsplit" version can measure two events simultaneously thanks to its fly-back hand.

These new developments revolutionized science, industry and watchmaking and made TAG Heuer the natural choice as the official supplier of timing instruments for the 1920 Olympic Games.

1916

1916

The "semikrograph" and the "Semicrosplit" measure time to 1/50th of a second.

The "Semicrosplit" version can measure two events simultaneously thanks to its fly-back hand.

1920

1920

This chronograph and these enamelled dial sports stopwatches are fundamental pieces of the collection.

Top: split-second chronograph with fly-vback hand.

Left: sports stopwacth with two fly-back hands.

1923

1923

Hubert Heuer, the youngest son of Charles-August Heuer, jois the company at the beginning of the year as U.S. commercial director.

1924

1924

Paris Olympic Games: TAG Heuer split second pocket chronographs were selected as official stopwatches used at the Olympic Games on 3 consecutive occasions: 

Antwerp in 1920
Paris in 1924
Amsterdam in 1928

1928

1928

Amsteram Olympic Games: TAG heuer split second pocket chronographs were selected as the official stopwatch used at the Olympic Games on 3 consecutive occasions: 

Antwerp in 1920
Paris in 1924
Amsterdam in 1928

1930

1930

In the 1930's TAG heuer is producing chronographs specially designed for pilots, with the same cases and dial as other pilots' watches of the period.

Now the company introduces one-button and two-button versions.

(These chronographs later inspired the Targa Florio chronograph, re-issued by TAG Heuer in 1996)

1931

1931

The city of Biel presents Professor August Piccard with a gold TAG Heuer chornograph, fitted with a 17-line movement, in commemoration of his balloon flight into the stratosphere with Biel physicist Kipfer.

1933

1933

Creation of the first dashboard instrument for automobile and aviation: "Autavia (contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion).

Later in 1933, TAG heuer introduced the first dashboard featuring an 8-day movement, the "Hervue" dashboard which ran for 8 days without winding.

1934

1934

TAG Heuer participates for the first time at the Basel Watchmaking Fair.

1939

1939

Launch of a water-resitant wrist chronograph recognizable in their round push-buttons.

1945

1945

General Eisenhower buys a TAG heuer chronograph with a steel case.

1947

1947

Prince William of Sweden and Harry S. Truman each wear a gold TAG Heuer chronograph.

1948

1948

Launch of the "Auto-Graph" model, a wrist chronograph with a tachometer scale and a manual reference hand.

Launch of the "Auto-Graph" model, a wrist chronograph with a tachometer scale and a manual reference hand.

1949

1949

Launch of the "Solunar", the first watch with a tide indicator.

It had an initial production run of 1000 pieces.

1950

1950

Launch of the "mareograph" - called the "Seafarer" in the United States. 

The world's first chronograph with a tide level indicator and dial for regattas.

1955

1955

Introduction of the "Twin-time" model, a self-winding wristwach with a second time zone indicator.

By pressing the push-button at the 2 o'clock position, the small hand can be moved separately to indicate the local time.

1957

1957

Launch of the "Ring Master" stopwatch - a world first - interchangeavle rings of scale for timing various sports with readings down to 1/5 of a second, central minute-hand.

1958

1958

Jack Heuer, Charles-Edouard Heuer's son, joins the company.

1959

1959

Jack Heuer sets up the Heuer Timer Corporation as a subsidiary in the UDA.

1960

1960

TAG Heuer launches the split-second "Sebring" stopwatche around 1960.

1962

1962

TAG Heuer becomes the first Swiss watchmaker to go into space.

On February 20, John Glenn makes the first manned American space flight, orbiting the Earth three times in five hours.

On his wrist is a Heuer stopwatch.

1963

1963

During the 1960's and the 1970's, the legendary "film-Master" model was used by Hollywood's most famous movie directors to time film sequences.

1964

1964

Jack Heuer launches the "Carrera" as a tribute to this exciting race "Carrera Panamericana Rally" of the 50's: the first chronograph with a pure and functional dial design featuring a wide dial opening and a 175th of a second scale on the flange.

This model rapidly becomes the watch of the champions and a best seller worldwide.

1965

1966

TAG Heuer improves the "Carrera" model with a major innovation: this model was the world's very first chronograph with a digital date display printed on a disc (top).

It supplements the traditional "Carrera" model fitted with a 12-hour register and a second hand register(below).

1966

1966

TAG Heuer introduces a worldwide first the "Mikrotimer", the first miniaturized electronic timing instrument with a precision of 1/1,000th of a second.

1967

1967

Intrepid and its skipper Emil Mosbacher wi tne America's Cup with Heuer chronographs on board.

1968

1968

Chronograph "Camaro" with a hand winding movement, 1/5th of a second accuracy, 20-minute and 12-hour conters. Tachometer scale. Steel case.

The name refers to the Chevrolet Camaro, a popular sports car.

1969

1969

Introduction in 1969 of the "Autavia" and the "Carrera" chronographs fitted with the "Chronomatic".

On the right, the "Autavia" model with a tachometer scale.

1969

1969

Launch of the first automatic chronograph movement with a micro-rotor: the "Chromnomatic" (Calibre 11, rapidly replaced by the Calibre12) was developped and launched by TAG Heuer in 1969.

Three wrist chronograph models are fitted with the chronomatic the "Autavia", the "Carrera" and the new "Monaco".

1970

1970

The famed Team Ferrari driver, Clay Regazzoni, wears the brand's logo on his driving suit.

1970

1970

A time of passion: the brand becomes a reference for Steve McQueen.

He wore the "Monaco" chronograph during the making of the film Le Mans in 1970, and became the brand's official worldwide ambassador.

1971

1971

As sponsor and official timekeeper of Team Ferrari from 1971 to 1979, TAG Heuer was associated with all of its legendary drivers: Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni, Mario Andretti, Carlos Reutemann and Jody Scheckter.

In his Ferrari, Niki Lauda won the drivers' championships world title in 1975 and 1977.

1972

1972

Model of the Calculator Series Automatic chronograph, 1/5th of a second accuracy, 30-minute counter, date at 6.

1972

1972

The caracteristic of the "Montreal" model is the cushion-shaped case that was so popular in the 1970's and the 1980's.

The name refers of the Canadian race track.

1972

1973

Not everything that glitters is gold: the "Temporada" was a chronograph housed in a plastic case that was painted gold and could only be opened from the dial side - an unusual style.

The movement is a Valjoux 7733.

1973

1973

The company introduces the Microsplit 820 the world's first quartz, pocket-sized sports timer (solid-state and digital display) accurate to 1/100th of a second.

1974

1974

Launch of the "Silverstone": an automatic chronograph with 1/5th of a second accuracy, 30-minute and 12-hour counters, date, with a chromatic movement.

The name refers to the famous english race track.

1975

1975

The "Microsplit", the world first LCD pocket-size quartz stopwatch accurate to 1/100th of a second was invented and manufactured by TAG Heuer, designed by the famous designer Richard Sapper.