TAG Heuer is one of the world’s leading luxury watch brands, offering a strong history of innovation, deep connections with sports timing and automobile racing, and more recently, a series of groundbreaking developments in the field of ultra-fast mechanical chronographs, an innovative tourbillon watch priced under $20,000, and the launch of a luxury smartwatch. Here are 10 things you should know about TAG Heuer.
First Swiss Watch in Space
When you think of mechanical watches in space, you think of, well, not TAG Heuer. But you should, because as it turns out, Heuer was the first Swiss watch in space.
In May, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced his goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth by the end of the decade. The first step toward that goal was to put a man into orbit. That man was John Glenn, flying the Mercury “Friendship 7” mission on February 20, 1962. Glenn orbited the Earth three times wearing a Heuer 2915A stopwatch on his wrist, on top of his spacesuit, held in place by a custom-made elastic strap. The watch served as the mission back-up timer, and it was used in space. Today, the watch is kept at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Faster and Faster
Another major technical achievement came in 1916, when Charles-Auguste Heuer launched the original Mikrograph. It was the first mechanical stopwatch able to measure 1/100th of a second. To accomplish this, the movement’s rate was 360,000 vph – ten times faster than the 36,000 vph chronographs that we usually think of as “fast.” The original Mikrograph revolutionized sports timekeeping and served as the official stopwatch for the 1920 Olympics.
TAG Heuer’s most iconic models are associated with automobile racing, and one of the most famous is the Carrera. Jack Heuer suggested the name shortly after taking control of the company from his uncle (more on this below). The name comes from the Carrera Panamericana, a dangerous race run on public roads in Mexico from 1950 to 1954.
Jack Heuer wanted to create a watch for race car drivers. It had to be perfectly legible and tough enough to withstand the vibrations drivers experience during a race. The result is a watch that has achieved cult status.