The History of Tag Heuer
The Heuer brand was founded by Edouard Heuer in 1860 and it didn’t take him long to file an impressive amount of patents. In 1869 they secured the patent for a keyless, crown-operated winding system for pocket watches. Then in 1882, they patented the company’s first chronograph. In 1887 Edouard’s son, Jules-Edouard, joined to work at the company but then, unfortunately, 5 years later, the founder Edouard Heuer passed away.
Jules-Edouard carried on his father’s work and in 1895 the company filed yet another patent for its first water resistant case. Then in 1911, Heuer patented their first dashboard chronograph called Time of Trip. This patent is particularly notable because it is what started the relationship between Heuer and automobile and airline industries. The company’s growth allowed for more research to be made which resulted in their next big breakthrough: the Micrograph which was released in 1916 and was the most accurate stopwatch at the time.
For a number of decades, the brand focussed on their close relationship that was created with the automobile and airline industries. During the 1930’s they began producing chronographs that were specifically made for pilots. Then in 1933 Heuer introduced another dashboard instrument called the Autavia. This clock featured a timer function and could run for an amazing 8 days without having to be wound.
In the 1940’s they started to make chronographs for the German air force and they started developing their line of wristwatches. The Auto-Graph was launched in 1948. which featured a chronograph function with a tachometer scale and manual reference hand. Just a year later, the Solunar was released. It was the first watch with a tide indicator.
During the 1950s the brand continued to focus on wristwatches which led to the release of the first Seafarer in 1950. The very original model was the world’s first chronograph with a tide level indicator and dial for regattas. Then only five years later, Heuer introduced the Twin-Time. This wristwatch was self-winding and included a second time zone indicator.
In the 1950s Heuer began a partnership with Abercrombie and Fitch. Heuer produced versions of the Seafarer and Auto-Graph that were exclusive to the brand with different colour patterns and special dials.
In 1962 Heuer was a part of history when it was the first Swiss watchmaker to enter outer space. On February 20th, John Glenn made the first American space flight…and a Heuer stopwatch was, of course, on his wrist.
Fast forward only a year later to 1963 and Heuer launched one of its now most popular models, the Carrera chronograph. Then in 1969, the brand made one of its most innovative advances in timekeeping. In secret, Heuer had been working on something called Project 99 which he did with Breitling, Buren and Dubois-Depraz. Together, they invented the first self-winding chronograph movement called the Chronomatic. They used it in three models: the Carrera, the Autavia and the brand new Monaco.
The Monaco’s popularity soared as actor and racing legend Steve McQueen wore the model while making the film Le Mans in 1970. During this decade, Heuer continued with its strong presence in the automobile industry. They were the leading manufacturer of stopwatches and timing equipment and some of their chronographs were specially designed with racing logos.
When Heuer reached the 1980s, a lot of changes took place for the brand. In 1985 the group Techniques d’Avant Garde acquired the company and it became the brand we know today with a new name: Tag Heuer. Then, in 1992 Tag Heuer became the first official timekeeper for Formula 1 racing.
Tag Heuer continues to be one of the most pioneering watchmakers in the world. They have already made their place in watchmaking history and continue to build on their excellent reputation.
If you are interested in adding a Tag Heuer watch to your collection, you can look at the models we have available here