TAG Heuer At Monaco: A Legacy In Motorsport Timing, Looking To The Future
Our attraction to chronograph watches lies in the same fundamental basis for loving race cars: beautifully designed and aesthetically accomplished, they are also mechanically uncompromising and precise. Horology and motorsport go hand in hand (or wrist and wheel), and watchmakers have a long history of sponsoring racing cars, circuits, drivers, podiums, after-parties, name it. And it makes sense; if you want to stake your name on keeping accurate time, motorsport is an appropriate test.
Few brands can match the history of Heuer in such pursuits. The wristwatches and dash timers were beautiful, functional, focused. They were serious pieces of equipment, worn by serious people doing downright laudable things from the cockpits of very dangerous machines.
The Swiss company was founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer, and they skipped right to the good stuff: chronographs and stopwatches, and Heuer revolutionized both of those markets. First with the invention of the oscillating cam in their chronographs (still used today by many modern mechanical chronos), and followed by the fact that Heuer was the first to manufacture a 1/100th of a second stopwatch (mechanical), as well as the first 1/1,000th of a second stopwatch (electronic). No wonder then, that Heuer was the first brand to link its identity with F1. They were Ferrari’s official timekeeper and sponsor for most of the 1970s, and the very first McLaren to win a world championship—the M23, in 1974—was wearing a pair of big ol’ Heuer logos right on the side pods.
Focused on sports timing from the start—well before Karl put a patent on the automobile—it was only natural for Heuer to start timing the laps of the world’s fastest drivers. The relationship with motorsport goes back further, but the 1970s were the galvanizing years to be sure. Personal friend of Jack Heuer—Eduoard’s great grandson—Jo Siffert was a proponent of the brand’s wristwatches, and in particular the Autavias. As the story goes, Siffert would sell Autavias to his fellow racing drivers, and on the Formula 1 grids back in his day you’d find more than a handful of his compatriots with an Autavia strapped on.
That watch would be the icon of any timing company’s history, but with Heuer you have to consider also the Carrera and the Monaco. The latter was an example of the Swiss answer to Japanese Quartz, but it was made famous by Steve McQueen and a little film he made called Le Mans. Speaking of Monaco, the Swiss brand, now TAG Heuer (and if you think TAG Heuer isn’t the real deal still, what about the Formula 1 watch they put out in the ‘80s? What about the fact that they financed the TAG-Porsche F1 motors?) put on a tasteful event to explore their racing history while showcasing their current and past products designed around the discipline.
The TAG Heuer brand is still firmly committed to motorsports, Red Bull and Aston Martin being some of the more recent and current partnerships, but we love it when a company with such depth of history is eager to share its past in conjunction with where it’s going.