Tag Heuer is known to have a penchant for racing cars and sports, and it is reflected in a range of timepieces and collaborations by the brand. It’s latest watch, Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 takes the brand’s love for motorsports a notch higher. We talk with Marc Walti, the Product Director at TAG Heuer, and he tells us all about this new chrono as well as future plans of the company.
Tell us about what you have in store for 2016.
We have a long story in motor racing, which is why we have a collection called Carrera, inspired by the Carrera Panamericana race. And at the end of last year, we introduced the Heuer 01, which is a new product with our in-house manufacture movement. It is a manufacture chronograph with more than 50 hours of power reserve, which has the column wheel to start and stop the chronograph. This is in red because it is very much in keeping with the DNA of TAG Heuer. Then there is the 360-degree oscillating weight, which looks like the wheel of a car. Also, on the other side of the movement, you have a skeletonised plate—a main plate that allows us to see more of the wheels and what happens inside the movement. Then we also have the skeletonised date, that gives a bit more value to the movement; we put this movement inside a case which is the case of the Carrera, which is a new flagship of the collection. So that is the first reference on which we have a few coloured animations with a price that is less than CHF 5,000 for a chronograph manufactured inhouse. It is a good price positioning for such a chronograph. So we have not only coloured versions, but also a steel bracelet. And we are playing with more materials as we are introducing titanium, which is a full grey version in titanium and a full ceramic case, referred to as the ‘Grey Phantom’ and the ‘Full Black’ respectively. Also, thanks to the uniqueness of the construction of the case, we are able to have different components with different colours or materials or finishing. So on the specific product that we have here, we have the case, which is the biggest part, and has been done in titanium because it’s lighter than steel; we have the horns just for aesthetics, which has been done in rose gold; and the bezel— which needs protection from scratches—has been done in black ceramic which is scratch-resistant. So, there are three different kinds of materials on only one product.
And the movement?
The Heuer 01 movement is ready for something really important. This is really the flagship of the collection today. There is also the new geometry and new size of the case. So we not only used this case for the inhouse chronograph manufacture, which is the Heuer 02 tourbillon, we mixed the chronograph, which is really the DNA of TAG Heuer, and one of the most beautiful complications, which is the tourbillon. On that specific product, the tourbillon is the flying tourbillon, which means we have no bridge on top of it; the cage is done in titanium and carbon. The tourbillon is doing one rotation per minute and the power reserve is more than 65 hours. Again, this comes in a 45mm case and features a unique movement that is dedicated only to TAG Heuer because we are producing it and building it. Also, something that is really amazing is the price positioning because we have the most affordable COSC Chronograph Tourbillon. The entry price is CHF 14,900.
You launched watches inspired by Cara Delevingne, Ronaldo, and David Guetta. How did these perform generally?
With the Cara Delevingne watch, we received a very good response. We were very happy about that because it was a bit disruptive for TAG Heuer to do a product that was for ladies yet black in colour. It was a bit of a gamble and we won.
Is there a new collection for women?
For ladies, we are introducing full ceramic products. We think that ceramic—like gold, titanium and steel—can be used greatly in the watchmaking industry because it’s scratch-resistant and feels nice when you wear it. We have different variations: black and white, with a diamond bezel, or with an 18-carat rose-gold bezel. The entry price is also affordable for a product like that. At the same time, it is robust because it’s water resistant down to 300m.
What is the other big story for this year?
Jack Heuer is our honorary chairman and is one of the pioneers in the motor racing industry. In the 70s, he met EnzoFerrari and he was one of the first partners of the Scuderia Ferrari from 1971 to 1979. He signed a partnership to become the official sponsor of the Scuderia Ferrari. Then Niki Lauda, one of the best drivers in the 70s, won in 1975 the World Championship title with Ferrari. So in 1976, Jack Heuer decided to celebrate that with the launch of a new collection called Monza because Monza is famous for its racing circuit. This was 40 years ago and to celebrate its anniversary, we decided to do a re-edition of the original Monza. So this will be a limited edition and the price will be a bit less than CHF 5,000.
Which is your favourite watch?
My favourite is the Monza because I love the true story behind that. The DNA, the essence of watchmaking, I love the spirit of the race.