150 Years - Mastering Speed For 150 Years

Mastering speed for 150 yearsTAG Heuer is made of Motor racing DNA

Edouard Heuer

1860 - In tune with the future

It was 1860. Inventors everywhere were obsessed with the idea of speed. Among them was Edouard Heuer. That was the year he founded the Swiss company that is today’s TAG Heuer. In 1866 he moved his workshop from St Imier to Bienne. There the Henriod family, who were machine manufacturers and neighbors of Edouard’s, were developing prototype automobiles. The age of speed was beginning.

During trips to Britain and the United States in the 1870s and 1880s, Edouard Heuer saw first-hand how quickly the pace of life was changing, and how popular horse racing was. He could see that he would have to create timepieces more accurate than ever before to keep pace with the tempo of this new era.

In 1882 he became one of the first watchmakers to manufacture large amounts of chronographs. In 1887, he patented a revolutionary mechanism which is still in use today: the oscillating pinion. It meant chronographs could start in less than 2/1000ths of a second. The automobile age was just dawning, and with it a new era of precision, pioneered by Heuer.

Mikrograph 1916

Motor racing in the blood

Motor racing is not just part of our DNA: it’s in our blood. When cars and racing were in their infancy, the Heuer family were already keen motorists. They could see where the future lay, and by 1900 were buying their first automobiles.

As cars became ever faster, ever more sophisticated, the Heuers were always there, creating the equipment designers and drivers needed, when they needed it. By 1911 the Heuers had pioneered dashboard chronographs. In 1916 they launched a new era in precision with the Mikrograph, the first stopwatch to measure 1/100ths of a second. For long-distance races, in 1958 the Heuer firm produced an onboard timer, the Rally Master, which comprised an eight-day clock and a twelve-hour stopwatch.

Throughout the twentieth century TAG Heuer refined precision time and time again. The Microtimer became the first portable time-keeping system to measure 1/1,000ths of a second … and TAG Heuer was the first to achieve the incredible 1/10,000th of a second accuracy required for the motor racing speeds of today.

TAG Heuer’s passion for racing means more than supplying the most innovative equipment. It means supporting and nurturing teams and drivers. Not only were we the first watch brand to sponsor top racing drivers, we were also the first to partner a whole F1 team—none other than the legendary Scuderia Ferrari.

Every advance we have made in race timing has perfected our watch making. That’s why our most emblematic chronographs, like the Carrera and the Formula 1 series, bear names that resound with our commitment to racing. Likewise, the Monaco series has been pushing the boundaries ever since its launch, and the Monaco V4 has turned tradition on its head yet again. Instead of standard gears, its mechanical movement uses transmission belts as fine as a human hair, and a revolutionary linear mass has replaced the oscillating mass.

For over 150 years TAG Heuer has embraced the values that drive motor sports. By bringing together state-of-the-art materials and avant-garde design we consistently produce the most precise, reliable and thrilling timepieces.

Mc Queen

Motor racing giants

Here at TAG Heuer only the very best is good enough. That applies to the brand ambassadors we sponsor as much as to our chronographs.

We were the first watch brand ever to sponsor drivers. It started in the family, when Jack Heuer partenered Jo Siffert in 1969. The stars TAG Heuer has supported since then read like a motor racing hall of fame. Dozens of immortal names have worn the logo, from Jacky Ickx and David Coulthard to Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button today. In between we’ve backed F1 multi-champions Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Fernando Alonso, Ayrton Senna, and Mika Häkkinen.

One of our most iconic ambassadors was Steve McQueen. A passionate amateur racing driver, he not only lived to race, but with ‘Le Mans’ he directed and starred in a classic movie capturing the very essence of endurance racing. To make sure every detail in the film was authentic, our first TAG Heuer ambassador, Jo Siffert, acted as technical consultant. McQueen insisted on wearing exactly the same racing overalls as him … as well as the blue-faced Monaco watch which shot to fame around the world because of the movie.

Our ambassadors’ sporting success is reward enough in itself for TAG Heuer. But it also provides constant inspiration to all our creative and technical teams: the inspiration to better our previous best.

Chronosplit Ferrari

Tw0 winning teams working together:the Ferrari years

Some F1 teams seem to dominate a whole era. That’s what Ferrari achieved in the 1970s. They were determined, they were dynamic, and they scooped up a total of seven Formula 1 World Championship titles. Throughout the decade TAG Heuer were their personal, in-house timekeepers, and also sponsored the whole team.

The performance you cheer on a Grand Prix circuit doesn’t happen by magic. Behind it lie gruelling weeks and months of practice. Drivers must constantly push themselves to improve on their best. In 1971, on their private test track at Fiorano, the Ferrari team were training hard. The problem was, in those pre-computer days no equipment was accurate enough to record the split-second timings they needed to ratchet up their performance.

To meet that need, TAG Heuer engineers devised the electronic ‘Le Mans Centigraph’. Thanks to it, Ferrari were able to record timings to within a 1/1,000th of a second. Practice makes perfect, and the mouldbreaking technology paid off with F1 World Champion titles for drivers Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter in 1975, 1977 and 1979, and Constructors titles in 1975-77 and 1979.

TAG Heuer’s next leap forward was to build that 1/1,000th of a second technology into a chronograph. That’s how the ‘Chronosplit’ was born: the world’s first quartz wrist chronograph equipped with a double digital display. Its fusion of glamour and hi-tech appealed so much to Enzo Ferrari, founder of the company, that he ordered a limited edition of fifteen, embellished with the famous prancing horse logo. The Chronosplit is still a groundbreaking symbol of groundbreaking teamwork.

Button Hamilton


The McLaren name is a legend, renowned for fielding some of the greatest drivers and the most advanced cars ever. For over 26 years, TAG Heuer and McLaren have been official corporate partners, working together to push the boundaries of Formula 1. Our joint track record is spectacular.

Since we joined forces in 1985, TAG Heuer has provided McLaren drivers with cutting-edge timekeeping technology for their test sessions. So, it is no coincidence that we and McLaren have notched up over 120 Grand Prix wins, and been victorious in the World Drivers’ Championship nine times. All the winning drivers have earned a place in the F1 Hall of Fame: Senna, Prost, Häkkinen, Hamilton. All of them have been TAG Heuer brand ambassadors.

It takes a very special partnership to last so long. So what binds two such dynamic companies as TAG Heuer and McLaren together in this enduring meeting of minds? Shared values: a common belief in innovation, performance and prestige. The shared need "to be the best at everything we do".

Jean Campiche


Mastering time is TAG Heuer’s business. It always has been. It always will be. Almost a century ago we broke the 1/100th of a second barrier. Today we are the only masters of timing 1/100ths, 1/1,000ths, and 1/10,000ths for motor racing.

TAG Heuer’s pioneering precision has put us at the forefront of Formula 1 since the very beginning. It has made us official timekeeper on the most prestigious circuits for the world’s top-performing teams.

For eleven consecutive seasons from 1992 TAG Heuer was official timekeeper for the F1 World Championships. The advanced technology that won us that role is on a staggering scale. We’ll let the figures speak for themselves: 18 tons of equipment; 20 kilometers of wiring; 19 antennas embedded in the track; 20 technicians monitoring 20 cars simultaneously through 150 on-site monitors. And those pioneering techniques made sure that in over 175 Grand Prix races not a single time was contested or corrected.

Equally impressive is TAG Heuer’s mastery of the most challenging number in sports timing: the 1/10,000th of a second demanded by the Indy Racing League for the Indy 500 race. We were official timekeepers of the race from 2004 to 2006, and are still the ‘Official Watch of Indy 500’.

Our state-of-the-art timekeeping gave us a still unbeaten world record for the closest finish in the whole of motor racing history. It happened in France, in the 2006 Race of Champions, a highlight of the season, when top drivers from different racing categories go head to head. A mind-boggling 2/10,000ths 0.0002 of a second separated winner Mattias Ekström from Heikki Kovalainen.That minuscule fraction of time represents an astonishing 10 millimeters between cars travelling at over 220 mph.

When it comes to ultra-precision timekeeping, no other watch brand can overtake TAG Heuer.


2010 - A journey into the future of gt

Right from the starting line, TAG Heuer has kept level with every breakthrough in automobile speed, precision and design. We have invented timing technology for the most advanced GT cars. Today, TAG Heuer works with the makers of the world’s most glamorous and forward-looking sports cars, from the Audi R8 to the McLaren MP4-12C.

The pundits say the future is electric, and TAG Heuer is backing the future again. We are partners with GT producers Tesla, the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are already revolutionizing GT technology and creating the cars of tomorrow.

A 100% electric car, that accelerates to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds? It may sound like science-fiction, but the TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster has achieved it.

In 2010 TAG Heuer devised, organized and managed the ‘Odyssey of Pioneers’, an epic journey round the world by this groundbreaking GT car. The most energy-efficient car on the planet, the Roadster caught the imagination of the media and created a stir in the world’s major capitals. It was welcomed everywhere by celebrities, and driven in London by racing legend Sir Stirling Moss.

On its journey, it helped spread the TAG Heuer message: by daring to innovate you achieve ultimate performance.


2010 - At le mans, with audi sport

We have joined forces with Audi Sport as official partner and time-keeper, and achieved in 2010 a sensational result on the world’s most famous circuit, Le Mans. First, second and third place all belonged to Audi Sport and us. The nine winning drivers proudly celebrated their triple win in customary style, wearing the TAG Heuer logo and sporting Carrera timepieces.

Drivers at Le Mans are not only battling against other drivers: they’re in a battle with the elements. By day their eyes need protection from blazing sun. By night they are competing against reduced visibility. Apart from being Audi Sport’s official partner and timekeeper, TAG Heuer supplies Audi Sport with hi-tech sunglasses and night-vision glasses. When one of the winning team’s drivers tested them in the extreme conditions of Le Mans, it enabled our R&D team to refine the technology to the limit.

TAG Heuer and Audi Sport - partners in technology, precision and performance.