It’s Time

By Jo Phillips

The timeless appeal of TAG Heuer is explored in our feature here on its time.

There’s an incorporeal significance that surrounds purchasing a watch. I remember as a child I spent ages pouring over catalogues when I’d saved up enough pocket money to be able to afford one. As personal items go, they’re usually one of the most considered. This is because a good watch becomes a reliable companion, a close friend. When it’s not with you, you miss it.

A treasured chronometer is an investment, an heirloom to be passed down from generation to generation, potentially present at the beginning, middle, and end. It’s possible that by now some vintage TAG Heuer watches could have been passed down at least three generations.

The eminent Swiss brand was founded in 1860 by pioneer watchmaker Edouard Heuer (pronounced hoy-yer). Heuer was an innovator and made innovation the core tenet of his company.

From his workshop nestled in the Swiss mountains, he developed a number of patented innovations that are still core components of many watches today. After a series of beautiful pocket watches and aeronautical instruments- with an onus on horological precision and accuracy- in 1914 TAG Heuer released their first wristwatch.

For the next half-century, against a backdrop of worldwide upheaval, they continued to push the technology forward and in 1962 a TAG Heuer watch took the accolade of being the first of its kind in space when American astronaut John Glenn used to time one of the first manned orbits.

Post this stratospheric event, the brand doubled down on its unique blend of style and quality with the legendary timepieces Autavia and Carrera. But it was 1969’s Monaco that cemented TAG Heuer’s place in the pantheon of great watchmakers forever.

Monaco, with its unique square face, adorned the wrist of style icon Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans and began a longlasting association with elite motorsport- most notably Ferrari and the fabled Ayrton Senna.

Monaco is widely regarded as a design triumph and features high in lists of the greatest chronomatics of all time. It’s a statement timepiece, true to what a watch of its calibre represents: style and status. An original will set you back upward of five figures.

Part of the brand’s continued success is in its wide appeal. They’re able to make relatively affordable pieces for under £1000, right the way through to around the £20,000 mark.

Even as the world of smartphones cause traditional watch sales to tumble, TAG Heuer’s culture of innovation has kept them ahead of the pack into the 21st century. Their latest smartwatch is considered one of the best in the market, marrying the brand’s physical design tropes with modern materials and clean software and apps.

2020 sees Tag Heuer’s celebrate its 160th birthday, making it one of the oldest and most prestigious brands still around today. The world’s a very different place than it was when Edoard first developed his patented designs and the business is no longer family run.

What has endured, however, is the brand’s timeless appeal to both older and newer generations of discerning horophiles.

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Photo by David Buchi

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