In our visit to the WatchTime Archive in this article from 2019, we take a look at seven important chronographs produced by Heuer, now TAG Heuer, from the brand’s founding to the modern era .

The TAG Heuer Monaco is one of the key models celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, but it is not the only important, innovative chronograph the Swiss watchmaker has created. in its distinguished history. In fact, few watch brands are more famous for their chronographs than TAG Heuer. The first ones appeared in the company’s catalog in 1882; They were followed by a parade of technically innovative chronographs that continues to this day. Here are seven highlights from TAG Heuer’s chronograph history.

1. Oscillating Gear (1887)

The stated goal of Heuer founder Edouard Heuer was to make chronographs technically simpler and significantly cheaper without compromising their reliability or accuracy. In the 19th century, horizontal clutches were a standard feature of chronographs, but Heuer wanted a simpler way to connect the chronograph to the movement. On May 3, 1887, he patented what he called an “oscillating gear,” also known as a “swaying gear.” It’s a pine tree with gears at each end. One gear is connected to the seconds wheel of the movement and the other, when the chronograph is turned on, to the chronograph wheel. When the chronograph is turned off, the gear is pulled out of the chronograph wheel. This device worked so well that it became a watch industry staple and is today used in chronograph movements including the ETA 7750.

2. Micrograph (1916)

In 1914, Charles-Auguste Heuer began work on his company’s most ambitious project to date. He asked his watchmakers to create chronographs that were 10 times more accurate than others. It took them just a few months to create fully functioning prototypes, equipped with scales that vibrate at 360,000 vph and can therefore measure time to 1/100th of a second. Each of these round, Spartan-looking pocket watches has a large crown that doubles as a chronograph pusher. The stopwatch hand rotates at an unusually fast rate: once every 3 seconds. There is a two-minute elapsed counter on the upper part of the dial. The movement is equipped with an anti-magnetic lever escapement and a Breguet spring-compensated balance. Heuer patented its chronograph mechanism on October 2, 1916. The Mikrograph sold for 100 Swiss francs, or $120 USD. “Despite its low price, this is the most accurate measuring device for extremely short periods of time,” its accompanying promotional material claims.

3. Carrera 12 (1963)

Heuer CEO Jack Heuer, great-grandson of Heuer founder Edouard Heuer, named the watch after the hair-raising 2,000-plus-mile Carrera Panamericana race held in Mexico from 1950 to 1954. (The race was discontinued in part because it was too dangerous; it was revived in 1988.) This was the first model in the brand’s flagship collection. The watch is most notable for its dial design. The dial flange faces up at a 45-degree angle from the periphery of the dial. Most flanges at the time were blank, but Heuer decided to move the seconds scale from the dial to the flange. This made it possible to add almost 2 mm to the diameter of the dial, thus improving legibility. Heuer created a 3-D look for the dial by concave sub-dials. He also omitted additional scales such as a telemeter or tachometer to give the watch a pure, neat appearance. The watch is powered by the manual Valjoux 72 caliber.

4. Monaco (1969)

In 1969, the first quartz movement was developed and prepared to hit the market. But no one is yet starting to worry about an impending crisis in mechanical watches, so the world still seems to favor Heuer CEO Jack Heuer. However, sales of conventional manual-winding chronographs were stagnating, so in 1965, Heuer teamed up with Breitling, Büren and Dubois Dépraz to develop an automatic chronograph movement. It was called Caliber 11 and went into mass production in 1969. It was one of three automatic chronograph movements launched that year, the first such movements ever made. (Others come from Zenith-Movado and Seiko.) Heuer contributed 500,000 Swiss francs to the development of Caliber 11. Heuer built the movement in a unique, yet watertight, square stainless steel case. Jack Heuer, an auto racing fan, named this watch Monaco, after the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix race. There wasn’t much money for advertising, so the company looked for lower-cost ways to advertise the watches. Heuer has chosen Swiss Formula 1 driver Jo Siffert as its celebrity representative. (Siffert was killed in a racing accident in 1971.) Steve McQueen wore Jo Siffert’s original overalls, along with a Monaco watch, when he starred in the film Le Mans that year. 1971. Today, the Monaco is a collector’s item.

5. Manhattan GMT time division (1977)

Digital time display is not to everyone’s taste. In particular, people with weak eyesight may have difficulty reading the sometimes very small digits. Some people find the analog display, which uses hands to indicate the time, easier to read. The Chronosplit Manhattan GMT, launched in 1977, allowed its wearer to use the time in both ways: analog and digital. Heuer describes this model as “a watch for those who want more than a typical digital watch.” The case is made of steel surrounding a six-sided dial, on which the lower half contains hands to display hours, minutes and seconds. The date appears on a small window at the 4 o’clock position. The movement operates completely independently of the liquid crystal display, located in the upper part of the dial. Buttons for adjusting various functions are located along the top edge of the case. Even while the stopwatch is running, the user can toggle the display to display a 24-hour reference time, for example, the time in the user’s home time zone. (This is the origin of the “GMT” in the watch name.) Similarly, the date and day of the week can also be displayed on the digital display.

6. Mikrotimer flight 1000 (2011)

To consolidate its leadership in ultra-precise mechanical chronographs, TAG Heuer launched the Mikrotimer Flying 1000 concept watch at Baselworld 2011. It did what no other mechanical watch had done before. previously possible: measure time intervals to the nearest 1/1,000. Monday. Like the Mikrograph 1/100 second, this model has two separate drives, each with its own oscillation system and escapement. The frequency of the chronograph oscillator is 3.6 million vph (500 Hz). It incorporates a very short, wide and sturdy balance spring that it developed in collaboration with Atokalpa, the components manufacturer owned by the Sandoz Family Foundation (which also owns Parmigiani Fleurier). This spring works in tandem with the specially formed lever escapement. The vibrations of the balance spring are started and stopped with the help of a column wheel-controlled pulse and brake system, which acts directly on the balance spring axes. (The watch does not have a balance wheel.) The center-mounted elapsed seconds hand rapidly circles the dial 10 times per second. To read the elapsed time to 1/1,000 of a second, you must add the quantities 1/100 and 1/1,000 of a second, displayed on two scales by the long green second hand mounted in the center, to 1/ 10- the second measurement is displayed on the sub-dial (the hand in this sub-dial rotates every 5 seconds). The chronograph has a power reserve of just 3.5 minutes. The time of day function operates in the usual way, using an oscillator with a frequency of 28,800 vph.

7. Carrera Heuer 02 Tourbillon Chronograph (2016)

The watch’s movement is derived from TAG Heuer’s in-house chronograph movement, the Caliber CH-80, which TAG Heuer launched in 2014. (The company suspended production of the CH-80 almost immediately after this movement was introduced, explaining that it instead wanted to focus on the 1887 chronograph movement.) This watch has a flying tourbillon, is 32 mm in diameter and is made of titanium and carbon. The movement has a single barrel and is COSC certified, with a power reserve of approximately 65 hours. TAG Heuer produces the main movement components in-house and assembles the movement at its factory in Chevenez. (The balance spring is made by Atokalpa.) The case, like that of the Carrera Heuer 01, is modular and has 12 parts (see previous milestone). But the watch’s most notable feature is not the movement or the case but its price: $15,950, surprisingly low for a Swiss-made tourbillon and in keeping with the emphasis The company’s new coverage of affordability (see above). The all-black limited edition costs $21,200.

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