Swiss luxury watch brand TAG Heuer unveils its new 21st century integrated column-wheel automatic chronograph movement in a new generation of the CARRERA, the legendary sports chronograph series designed by Jack Heuer in 1964 and an icon of refined taste ever since.
For five generations, TAG Heuer has marshalled its resources and know-how in a concerted effort to master the tiniest fractions of time. This incessant drive has made the Swiss brand the unrivalled leader in high-end chronographs — one of mechanical watchmaking’s most sophisticated and demanding complications. Examples of TAG Heuer’s prowess in this field are legion, from the 1/100th-of-a-second Mikrograph stopwatch in 1916 to the 2006 Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix winning Calibre 360, the first mechanical wrist chronograph to beat 360,000/hour.
Today, this mastery is epitomized by TAG Heuer’s unparalleled line-up of 7 mechanical chronograph movements (Calibre 11 and 12 developed with Dubois-Depraz, Calibre 16 and 17 from ETA, new in-house Calibre 1887 unveiled in December 2009, Calibre 36 developed with Zenith and Calibre 360).
To strengthen its longstanding leadership and continued growth in luxury chronographs, TAG Heuer needed further differentiation among the “engines” powering its masterpieces, more variety of performance and construction, and an unlimited access to high-volume movements. This is why, in early 2006, TAG Heuer started working on the design and development of the Calibre 1887, an automatic chronograph movement of superlative reliability and sophistication. Unveiled at the McLaren Technology Centre in December 2009, this powerful 21st century engine is now being launched commercially in an all-new Carrera chronograph of stunning design and performance.
The TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Chronograph extends the mythical Carrera collection, which was created in 1964 by Jack Heuer. The brand’s CEO in the 60s and 70s, Jack Heuer is the creative genius behind key TAG Heuer icons like the Monaco, the Silverstone or the Aquaracer (born as the “1000 Series” in 1979). Today he is TAG Heuer’s Honorary Chairman, and as active as ever. A legend in the watch industry, he has overseen the redesign of every new generation of the Carrera family.
The TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Chronograph is the 21st century design evolution of the 1964 icon, more than ever celebrating and emphasizing its original minimalism, purity, readability and understated elegance. A “Grand Classique” re-invented for TAG Heuer’s 150th Anniversary, it is faithful to the original in design and spirit, but its radical new “engine”, the Calibre 1887, turns it into a 3rd Millennium chronograph in terms of size, quality, performance and accuracy.
The Tag Heuer Carrera 1887 chronograph is a masterpiece of modern engineering developed, produced and assembled in Tag Heuer’s audacious, state-of-the-art facility in Switzerland.The TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Chronograph epitomizes TAG Heuer’s pre-eminence in mechanical movement and case manufacturing. Its key movement parts (main plate, oscillating weight plate and bridges) and case are manufactured internally in the TAG Heuer Cortech factory in Cornol (Jura), a state-of-the-art, “all-under-one-roof” workshop equipped with avant-garde Swiss machines and robots capable of stamping, milling and finishing with to-the-micron precision. Cortech also houses the first-ever Swiss robot capable of automatically selecting and setting the Calibre 1887 movement’s 39 jewels. This breakthrough in modern engineering allows for the production of a true “Manufacture” movement at a very competitive cost — a perfect embodiment of TAG Heuer’s famous “fair cost/fair price” philosophy.
The Calibre 1887 is a highly advanced column wheel/oscillating pinion integrated chronograph movement platform. It is developed from intellectual property elements acquired from Seiko Instruments Inc (SII), which designed and patented it as TC78 in 1997/99, making it one of the newest constructions in the high-end chronographs world (most existing chronographs date back from the 70s or early 80s).
Having acquired the intellectual property rights from SII, TAG Heuer has devoted the last 3 years re-engineering and redeveloping key components like the assortment bridge and the main plate, and adding major technical features such as an eccentric adjustment screw to the oscillating pinion (patented first by Edouard Heuer in 1887). TAG Heuer also partnered with 22 premium component makers (21 of them in Switzerland) to redevelop other major components such as the assortment, shock absorbers and raquetterie.
Final assembling takes place in a totally new, dedicated workshop at TAG Heuer’s facilities in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Neuchâtel), on a semi-automated line under dust-free, fully hermetic conditions. Each movement is individually traced by high-performance software and undergoes 116 measurement sequences of rigorous quality control. Entirely automated stations, custom-made by a Swiss specialist in T0 and T1 machines, alternate with those requiring manual intervention — in this manner, the exacting, artisanal touch of the TAG Heuer watchmaster is always in complete control.
The Calibre 1887 is a new generation of Swiss-Made, high-quality mechanical chronograph movements. More than 20 million Swiss francs have so far been invested in the Cornol and La Chaux-de-Fonds facilities and 50 jobs created internally, along with many more indirectly through our local partners in Switzerland. This high profile ambitious project will eventually output several tens of thousands of movements each year.
The Tag Heuer calibre 1887 is a new measure of excellence and a new generation of high-quality mechanical chronograph movements.Vibrating 28,800 times per hour, the Calibre 1887’s 39-jewel, 29.3mm x 7.13mm movement is made of 320 components and has a 50-hour power reserve. A powerful, robust and easy to maintain engine, it houses an audaciously re-engineered version of its inspiration, the brand’s 1887-patented oscillating pinion, along with a matching column wheel.
The oscillating pinion, patented in 1887 by Edouard Heuer, works in tandem with the column wheel, in much the same way as an automobile transmission.The column wheel, which coordinates the start, stop and return-to-zero functions of the chronograph hand, functions like a gearbox. The smoothness and precision of its super-soft click start is a recognized element of high-end watchmaking excellence.
The oscillating pinion works like a clutch. The optimized version in the Calibre 1887 enables the chronograph to start in less than 2/1,000th of a second. The Calibre 1887 is also equipped with a High Efficiency Rewinding (HER) system, acknowledged by watch experts as the world’s most efficient rewinding system because of its bidirectional automatic system, which delivers 30% more efficiency than the traditional inversor system used in most Swiss chronographs. The HER is also famous for its superior reliability and sturdiness.
THE TAG HEUER CARRERA 1887 CHRONOGRAPH: A MODERN RE-INTERPRETATION OF THE MOST ICONIC CHRONOGRAPH OF THE 1960s
The Heuer Carrera was born in 1962 in the pits and paddocks of the Twelve Hours of Sebring, where Jack Heuer, official timekeeper of the event, first heard tale of motor-racing’s most gruelling endurance competition, the “Carrera Panamericana Mexico Road Race”. It also pays homage to TAG Heuer’s unique timekeeping contributions to the racing world, radical innovations like the Time of Trip (1911), the first car dashboard chronograph; the Mikrograph (1916), the first sports stopwatch accurate to 1/100th of a second; and the Autavia (1933), the first 12-hour dashboard timer for AUTomobile and AVIAtion.
When he launched the Carrera in 1964, legibility was Jack Heuer’s highest priority. By placing the 1/5th of a second in the inside tension ring of the crystal, he freed up 2 mm of space on the flat dial. It was a world first and an instant success, a favourite of watch and motor-sports enthusiasts alike for its timeless design and uncluttered style, and a masterpiece of functional and minimalist elegance. Relaunched in 1996 and completely revamped in 2002, the Carrera is one of TAG Heuer’s most iconic creations. It has been worn by hundreds of TAG Heuer driving greats, including Juan Manuel Fangio, Kimi Räikkönen or Lewis Hamilton.
The TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Chronograph boldly synthesizes this unique history. A celebration of 150 years at the forefront of luxury chronograph design, it proudly displays its star component — the Calibre 1887 mechanical chronograph movement, with its blue column wheel, top quality Swiss balance spring with micro-blazed finishing, and TAG Heuer oscillating weight — through its stunning sapphire crystal case-back.
The tachymeter scale on the satin-polished bezel identifies its motor-racing heritage, and the high-end finish and optimized proportions of the silver and black dial distinguish it instantly as a grand classic in the Carrera tradition. Water-resistant to 100 metres, its unique folding bracelet has double, lateral-pressure pushbuttons for greater security, ease of use and greater comfort.
Special luminescent markers on the hands and after the indexes ensure cockpit-fast legibility in all light conditions. Pure and sober in design, with the same great legibility as its 1964 ancestor, it is supercharged by the all-new chronograph movement beating inside. Simply stated, the TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Chronograph raises the bar of refined technology and design.
TAG Heuer CALIBRE 1887
Based on an existing platform developed and patented since 1999 by SII (Seiko Instruments Inc.) of which TAG Heuer has acquired the intellectual property usage rights, the Calibre 1887 was completely industrialized by the TAG Heuer Research and Development Team. The team also significantly re-developed some of its key components to match the new high-end Swiss assortment and increase its precision and reliability. The project has already generated 45 new production and assembly jobs.
Accurately measuring time is a complicated undertaking, and the Swiss watchmaking industry has been the standard bearer of excellence in the field since the 16th century. Even more difficult, however, is dividing time, precisely, into the smallest possible fractions, by means of a chronograph function — a chronometric mechanism that accurately measures elapsed time.
A more recent innovation, dating only from the nineteenth century, the chronographs is rightly considered the most complex watchmaking complication in terms of construction and components. Once again, the Swiss are the unrivalled masters of its manufacture — and since 1860, TAG Heuer has been its pioneering virtuoso.
The world leader in avant-garde sports watches and chronographs market, TAG Heuer innovates more than any other watch brand. Refusing to rest on its laurels, it has again and again pushed back the limits of chronograph functionality and precision. Today, in this fiercely competitive industry, TAG Heuer, the only watch brand to master 1/10th and 1/100th of a second precision in a mechanical automatic chronograph movement, continues its committed drive towards manufacturing excellence.
TAG Heuer: Reinventing Swiss watchmaking tradition by challenging its conventions
Innovation has a long tradition at TAG Heuer. Through its steadfast commitment to creativity, quality and service, the company has transformed itself from a small workshop in the Swiss Jura to one of the most prestigious watchmaking brands in the world.
From the world’s first oscillating pinion, patented in 1887 and still the beating heart of virtually every mechanical chronograph, to the launch of the revolutionary, belt-driven Monaco V4 in 2009, TAG Heuer has led the way. In 1911, the company launched the first car dashboard chronograph, the famous Time of Trip, followed in 1916, by the Mikrograph, the first stopwatch able to measure 1/100th of a second. In 1933, it rolled out the Autavia, the first dashboard timekeeper for both automobiles and aviation. In 1966, the Microtimer became the first-ever portable timekeeping system precise to 1/1,000th of a second. In 1969, TAG Heuer patented the Chronomatic Calibre 11, the first automatic chronograph movement with micro-rotor. In 2005, the TAG Heuer Calibre 360, presented as a concept chronograph at BaselWorld, became the first mechanical chronograph to display 1/100th of second. In 2007, TAG Heuer laid down another benchmark by launching the Link Calibre S, the first electro-mechanical chronograph accurate to 1/100th of a second.
TAG Heuer: From Heritage to Innovation — The Calibre 1887
To continue its reign as the world leader in luxury chronographs, TAG Heuer needs unique, technically different and challenging movements. Just as important, however, to keep market share, it needs unlimited access to mechanical movements, in order to further distinguish itself as the worldwide leader in mechanical chronographs. This is why, in early 2006, the brand decided to industrialize and manufacture the Calibre 1887, its own in-house, high-volume chronograph movement based on a contemporary, high-end, accurate, reliable and evolutive platform born in the late 1990’s.
This exceptional new automatic rewinding calibre joins the Calibre 11, 12, 16, 17, 1887, 36 and 360, extending TAG Heuer’s fleet of mechanical chronograph movements to seven — the broadest range in the luxury watchmaking world. Oscillating at 28,800 beats per hour, the Calibre 1887’s 39-jewel, 29.3mm movement has 320 working parts. It is a powerful engine and a breathtaking feat of engineering prowess. True to its inspiration, it is composed of an audaciously re-engineered version of the brand’s 1887-patented oscillating pinion and a column wheel.
PRECISION: At the occasion of its 150th anniversary, TAG Heuer has re-engineered one of Edouard Heuer’s greatest contributions to watchmaking: the oscillating pinion of 1887. The result is an all-new, manufactured in-house chronograph: the TAG Heuer Calibre 1887.The oscillating pinion, which comprises a mobile stem and two pinions, allows the chronograph to function very efficiently by replacing the two large wheels of the anterior movements. A coupling system enables the chronograph to locate onto the watch movement with ultimate precision. The chronograph’s lightning fast start — an incredible 2/1,000th-of-a-second — guarantees the utmost in timekeeping accuracy.
MECHANICS: The column wheel, which governs start, stop and reset functions, ensures extreme accuracy with a super-soft click of the button.
TAG Heuer: Pioneering Swiss precision and craftsmanship for 150 years
TAG Heuer’s innovative and avant-garde esprit is not only found in the originality of its creations, but also in the way in which it manufactures and assembles them. To do so, the company brings together designers, production and quality engineers, with other specialists from the watch, car and medical industries.
The Calibre 1887 is the fifth movement assembled 100% in-house by TAG Heuer, joining the powerful Microtimer 1/1000, launched in 2003, the first-ever wrist chronograph and timekeeping system accurate to 1/1000th of a second; the Calibre 360, launched in 2005, the only mechanical movement capable of measuring and displaying 100th of a second; the Calibre S, launched in 2007, the world’s easiest-to-read chronograph; and the V4, launched in 2009, the revolutionary belt-driven mechanical movement with ball bearings. To bring these movements to market, TAG Heuer created an R&D team specialized in movement research. This massive investment in R&D has enabled TAG Heuer to entirely dedicate itself to quality and service — at a level bordering on obsession, especially at the testing department of the TAG Heuer Laboratory, where the Swiss watchmaking industry’s rigorous requirements are matched or surpassed by TAG Heuer’s own exacting standards.
To produce the Calibre 1887, TAG Heuer followed a simple philosophy: go to the best suppliers when the company can get the best quality at the best rate, but produce itself the components it can make better. The movement’s main plate and bridges, as well as the oscillating weight plate, are produced at TAG Heuer’s industrial facility at Cornol, which accommodates a workshop dedicated to making the movement’s mechanical parts. For the assortment – composed of the balance-spring, the pallets and the escape-wheel — TAG Heuer has decided to buy it from Nivarox, the leading Swiss specialist in the production of oscillating and escapement parts.
The movement is assembled in a new dust-free conditions workshop created in 2008, when the company expanded its La Chaux-de-Fonds main site by 30% by adding a fourth building to its facility. TAG Heuer took inspiration from other high-tech sectors to develop a revolutionary semi-automated line on which each movement is individually traced by high-performance software.
After each station, the movement is automatically sent to the next relevant station, but humans are always in complete control. The fluid organization in two “U” cells — a modernisation of classic Taylorism — optimises the production process, and the mix of time-honoured artisanal craftsmanship with high-tech automation and space-age materials allows for the creation of incredibly innovative products. Assembly is just-in-time flexible and can be easily adapted to other tasks, quickly switching to the assembly of a different watch movement without having to make major modifications to the line. Once again, the state-of-the art equipment comes from the very best Swiss machine specialist.
However, TAG Heuer does not want to manufacture all its movements, and will continue to buy movements from top Swiss suppliers like Zenith, Dubois-Depraz and ETA. The Calibre 1887 will equip only a small proportion of TAG Heuer’s production. In tandem, by developing prestigious and rare movements in-house, such as the 2009 belt-driven mechanical V4, TAG Heuer stays true to its unique brand DNA — innovation, avant-garde, excellence, performance, and human achievement.