One week ago, we introduced to you the first prototype of the TAG Heuer Autavia “Jochen Rindt” reedition, one of the first customer-designed watches made by the industry in a long time. That’s already a good news on its own, and this watch was not the only point of interest, as inside its case ticks something we didn’t expect to see anymore from TAG Heuer: the Calibre Heuer-03 (previously calibre CH80 that was supposed to be a project ‘killed’ before its birth). During the Heuer collectors summit, we had the chance to visit the Chevenez Manufacture (the one that was supposedly stopped), to see the new movement, to understand the evolutions and finally to talk with the teams, including Jean-Claude Biver, just to shed some light on this complex but, in the end, happy situation.
What happened at TAG… Didn’t stay at TAG! Why? The fact that TAG Heuer is a large company, owned by a publicly listed group (LVMH), made the situation public (such situations happen more often than you think in the industry, but are usually kept secret). What happened… End of 2013, TAG Heuer announced a new movement, the Calibre 1969, an in-house developed and technically interesting engine – column-wheel, 70 hours power reserve, vertical clutch, integrated automatic chronograph, try-compax display. A piece of news praised by journalists and collectors, and even more when, at Baselworld 2014, TAG Heuer presented the first watch with this movement, a new retro-inspired Carrera. They even renamed the movement in CH80 and improved the specs (more power reserve, now at 80 hours). That looked promising!
All together, Chevenez might not be the sexiest manufacture we’ve seen. Of course, we are far from Philippe Dufour’s atelier but this type of industrial production is what you’ll find for most watches under 10,000 Euros – and sometimes assembly is even more machine-driven than that, we can guarantee you. TAG Heuer has here a strong tool, which can evolve and that will evolve soon, when the Heuer-03 will enter in production. Future seems brighter now at TAG and further developments are coming. Refreshing and enjoyable.