There are not many brands that have had a rollercoaster of support quite like the way TagHeuer have, from loved to unloved TagHeuer’s rich history has seen much change and development and many love it but some refuse to ever purchase one. Whilst today the brand is a fantastic watch maker that offers incredible timepieces for various occasions, it was not always the case during their more troubled mass production of cheaper watches. Some people never forget but for the most part people admire what the brand has done today and especially given where they came from. However, there is definitely no design. It is an excellent watchmaker with a vast amount of knowledge, experience and craftsmanship behind them. Today we are going over everything you need to know about TagHeuer so you can better understand their history and appreciate some of their icons.

Tag Heuer first started off as Heuer in St-Imier in Switzerland in 1860, another area of Switzerland home to other well-known watchmakers like Omega. Heuer went on to create some of the world's most iconic watches such as the famous Carrera, with its strong and sharp angles, the association with motorsport is where Heuer took the brand. Starting out with pocket watches in the earlier days, Heuer soon moved onto chronograph pocket watches as motorsport grew in popularity, the sport indeed more accurate chronographs and that’s where Heuer’s vision began. It was in 1887 that the first breakthrough for Heuer occurred when he developed the oscillating pinion which allowed the chronograph to start and stop instantly with the use of a push-button. This was the found Heuer described as the perfect chronograph as you could very easily time a lap and quickly reset it for timing the second lap. 

The Evolution of TagHeuer : From Aviation to Motorsports

With Heuer heading into the 20th Century with a plethora of knowledge in chronograph making, they were ready for a new era of aviation and motorsport, and athletic sports across the board. With greater technological advancement came the need for a more practical use of clocks, and timing methods, so in 1911 Heuer began installing his chronograph pocket watches on the dashboards of both planes and cars. Pilots could now time their flights thanks to the new Heuer 'Time of Trip’ chronographs installed on their dashboards. 

Drivers, both for leisure or competitive racing, could also now easily time either a journey or their lap times with just a quick glance at the dashboard. Previously they would have to pull into the pit stop to receive their timings from someone else timing them but now they could see for themselves. 

Just a few short years later in 1914, the era of pocket watches was slowly fading and more people began to wear wrist watches, so Heuer naturally grew and evolved with the times and produced his own wrist watch chronograph. Heuer’s watches were known for their accuracy and durability and were soon teh go-to-watch for the Olympics, Formula 1 and the Indianapolis 500 and many other sporting events around the world.

Source : Vintage Heuer

Source : Hodinkee

Fast forward to 1935 and Heuer created an aviators watch, the ‘Flieger’, which was a pilots watch and the band saw more growth as a result, then in 1949 the ‘Solunar’ came along. The Solunar could track the moon, the tide and speed over a distance which became an excellent tool watch for sailors, fishermen and travellers around the world. Heuer continued to push the limits of their designs and innovation capabilities and in 1962, Heuer became the first Swiss watch brand to travel to space. Strapped on the wrist of American astronaut John Glenn was the Heuer stopwatch which timed his 4 hour and 56-minute flight. Then soon after came the updated pilots watch, the Autavia, however what really stole the show for Heuer is what would go on to be one the most iconic watches ever built, the Carrera. 

In1963 Heuer created the first Carrera with its sharp angles and association with motorsport. Heuer really romanticised the idea of Horology and motorsport together and you can see that throughout their history with Heuer becoming the first non-automotive logo to appear on a Formula One car. Little fun fact, the famous Ferrari driver Niki Lauda wore his Heuer 18 karat chronograph gifted to him by Heuer himself! Then a watch in 2023 that impressed the world from TagHeuer, the Skipper chronograph, was first released by Heuer in 1968. Designed for timing sailing boat races, it had a stunning unique colourful dial and benign a 39 mm size chronograph meant it could be worn on most people's wrist extremely comfortably.

Probably the watch everyone thinks of when they hear TagHeuer, in 1969 Heuer was still on a roll and released the iconic Monaco with its very distinctive square case. 

The watch became even more famous by the famous Hollywood star Steve McQueen. However, Heuer was soon to move away from their innovative automatic watches and pursue the new horological craze of the early 1970’s, quartz watches. 

By 1979 Heuer had released its classic iconic dive watch range which would later be the foundations of the now known Aquaracer. Heuer played around a lot with colour and style with different bracelet materials, sizes and bezels, the collection grew quickly into their number one selling watch at the time.

Source : Monochrome Watches

The Transition to TagHeuer and Modern Evolutions

Source : Ablogtowatch

It was in 1985 that Heuer was merged and became the brand we know today, TagHeuer. TAG being an acronym for Technique d’Avant Garde, brought in huge financial resources and marketing and very soon put their skill set to use. You could go as far as saying that was the end of Heuer as everyone knew however, despite the watches to come from TagHeuer, 2020 saw the rebirth of going back to their origins and re-releasing some of those much loved Heuer pieces. 

In 1985 the ‘Series 2000’ was launched, essentially a 200m divers watch that now started to take more the shape of an Aquaracer from today's designs. Just one very short year later, the ‘Formula One’ was launched, a series known to be of an entry watch into the brand. It featured a plastic case, rotating diver’s bezel and rubber watch strap making them very light and easy to wear, and because they were so cheap people could make a small collection of them in different colours, much like Omega MoonSwatch.

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TagHeuer did not stop there, another year later in 1987, the TagHeuer link was introduced as their more upmarket watch, designed to be worn with a wetsuit and enjoy sporting activities but then be worn with your dinner jacket as you sat enjoying a fancy meal overlooking the Monaco harbour after the Grand Prix. TagHeuer never lost sight of their interests in Formula One and being one of the few brands at the time to be heavily involved with motorsport, TagHeuer continued to incorporate forms of motorsport functionality and designs into their watches. 

The TagHeuer Link could be found as the daily watch for the legendary driver Ayrton Senna wore an S/el, a model that became the base for the Link range, with its gold accents on the bezel and dial, chronograph design and quartz movement meant the watch was mega accurate and lightweight. Something any racing driver practically only cared about! TagHeuer continued to produce more and more watches and before long they were one of the most profitable watch brands out there so naturally attracted the attention of a few investors.

Source : Time and Tide Watches

1999 was the year the enormous LVMH group bought TagHeuer, the brand had colossal financial and marketing powers all over the world and they would use that to their advantage to sell even more TagHeuer’s to the public worldwide. There is of course no right or wrong moments for brands, merely history, however you can begin to see how the brand started off as just a pure Swiss boutique brand head-over-heels in love with producing fantastic watches and motorsport to a watch brand controlled by a giant luxury goods firm.

Rubber strap ZEALANDE for Yatch Master

Source : Time and Tide Watches

However, despite the new owners, some models were pushed as a way to make more money for the brand but Heuer watch engineers were still on the scene and helped get the TagHeuer Monaco V4 in 2004 to the market. A special Monaco edition designed to look like a race car's engine was definitely a bold design for its time and kept the original vision alive from the Heuer family. 2004 also saw the birth of the well-known Aquaracer line with its classic diver’s case, rotating bezel and polished centre link bracelet making it a very versatile watch to wear.

In 2010, TagHeuer created and released their first in-house chronograph movement since being bought by LVMH, the Calibre 1887. What was so special and fantastic about the Calibre 1887 is that it featured a column wheel and the same style of oscillating pinion that Heuer had patented in 1887. The Calibre 1887 would be the movement that powered a new generation of TagHeuer Carrera chronographs and served as their base movement; they would design many of their other chronograph movements later.

TagHeuer also started to introduce more of their Carrera watches on rubber straps to give them a sportier look and feel, but above all TagHeuer still wanted their watches to be worn by racing drivers and therefore put that at the centre of most of their designs and concepts when creating watches. You can see this today in 2024 with the Red Bull Formula One team crew and drivers alike wearing many of TagHeuer’s watches, but given they sponsor the team, you would also expect to see their watches on the team's wrist too!

Contemporary Innovation and Retrospective

2015 onwards became the new era for Tagheuer, they started to realise that whilst they did offer some excellent watches, there was an increasing demand for more original and traditional designs. TagHeuer were known for making watches around the 43mm size and whilst it was in demand in the early 2000’s, the watch world slowly started shifting to more sensible sized watches around the classic 36mm to a nice 41mm case size as opposed to huge and thick watch cases. 

TagHeuer had the perfect history of smaller designed chronographs, watches like the Carrera and Skipper to launch again paying closer tribute to their roots. From 2015 through to today in 2024, Tageheuer have re-launched several of their vintage style chronographs with modern technology and durability, giving their customers the best of both worlds. The likes of the Carrera, Aqauracer, Skipper, Glassbox chronograph and for those who love the extra tech, the TagHeuer connected offers you an alternative to the Apple watch from a brand with its history rooted deep in Swiss watchmaking.

Source : Hodinkee

And there you have it, a glimpse into the history of TagHeuer and as you can now see the brand has experienced much change and different phases within its life but it still retains the classic roots of motorsports and chronographs in its DNA thanks to the watchmaker Heuer. The watches they offer today really are going back to the original designs that made the brand watch it is today and that’s not only nice to see but also greatly appreciated by many watch enthusiasts around the globe, to see the brand finally going back to the watch they did best. With TagHeuer being a brand known for its connection to sports, ZEALANDE can help you to get that perfect sporty watch look, you can now buy your TagHeuer on the bracelet and not worry about missing out on a high-quality rubber strap. ZEALANDE have designed the perfect strap for your TagHeuer and you can now play around with colour, fit and style to ensure you get your own unique deserted feel of your TagHeuer on your wrist.