CALIBRE_1969 TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer Calibre 1969 (CH 80)- First Look

Eighteen months after we first brought you the news that TAG Heuer was developing a new in-house chronograph movement, we can share with you the first photos of the new Calibre- introducing the TAG Heuer Calibre 1969, also known as the Calibre CH80.

In the coming days we’ll be sharing more with you about the movement and the history behind the name, with a special article from Mark Moss which explains why 1969 was such a pivotal year for Heuer/ TAG Heuer. The short version of this story is that 1969 was the year that Heuer first launched the Chronomatic Calibre 11 movement, considered by many to be the world’s first automatic chronograph movement- a claim not without some controversy, as Mark will explain.

CALIBRE_1969 TAG HeuerNote that in March 2014, TAG Heuer announced that they had changed the name of the Calibre 1969 to “Calibre CH80”. There are some small differences between the two movements, and we’ll bring you the full story shortly.

Technical Specifications- Calibre CH 80

CALIBRE_1969_ECLATEThe Calibre 1969 is a brand-new design, that owes nothing to neither the Calibre 1887, the Mikro family of movements, nor to any other existing movement. Long time readers will recall that the Calibre 1887 is based on a Seiko design, but modified and manufactured by TAG Heuer in Switzerland. While TAG Heuer’s R&D team have been busy designing an incredible range of precision movements, this is the first time that we have seen that know-how filter down to a production movement.

TAG Heuer 1887 and 1969Starting with the basics, the Calibre 1969 is an integrated chronograph movement, with a vertical-clutch system. This is a departure from the oscillating pinion system used in the Calibre 1887 (above right) and more in keeping with the design of newer high-end movements.

The other key specs are:

  • 28,800 vibrations per hour (4hz)
  • 70-hour power reserve
  • 6.5mm thickness
  • Operates within COSC spec (although movements will not necessarily be COSC-certified)

While we haven’t seen a watch with the Calibre 1969 movement yet- the first model will be a Carrera Calibre 1969- we can tell you that there will be one visual link to the original Calibre 11…one of the key elements sits on the left hand-side. Unfortunately for those who recall the left-hand crown of the Chronomatic movements (below), in this case its the date window that sits at 9 o’clock rather than the crown.

Monaco 1133B_1969The Calibre 1969-powered watches will feature a tri-compax layout, with registers as follows:

  • 3 o’clock: chronograph minutes
  • 9 o’clock: chronograph hours
  • 6 o’clock: running seconds (time, not chrono.)

The movement features more than 200 components, with some key parts- such as the assortment and balance-wheel- being sourced from outside suppliers (in this case, Atokalpa- a Swiss company that is part of the Sandoz Foundation along with Parmigiani Fleurier), but most components being made by TAG Heuer at its new facility in Chevenez.

Chevenez

Chevenez coverChevenez is a small town about an hour north of TAG Heuer HQ at La Chaux de Fonds, sitting just inside the Northern Swiss border. The new site was announced by TAG Heuer towards the end of 2011, with building commencing in May 2012, as we showed you last year.

The key parts made in Chevenez include the bridges, plates and ébauches. The new site centralises TAG Heuer’s movement production into a single facility, with Calibre 1887 production moving from La Chaux de Fonds (TAG Heuer HQ). TAG Heuer expect to manufacture around 500 Calibre 1969 movements this year (a suspiciously precise number, which sounds like a a Limited Edition before the end of the year…) before growing this to 5,000 in 2014.

Today is the official opening of the new site, and we’ll be there in person to show you the new facility and bring you more information about TAG Heuer’s latest movement.

Read more about the new Calibre 1969 and see how it’s made here

CALIBRE_1969

 

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  • Shauno

    Great preview of the new movement, thanks DC!

    Not sure about the date at 9 though…

  • Robert

    Date at 9 will surely look strange… a simple full calendar complication (like on the Valjoux 72C or the ETA-Valjoux 7751 – without moon-phases) would be fantastic! And all these packed into the Aquarecer case…
    Dreams… Look at the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Chrono Calendar http://www.blancpain.com/en/news/new-complete-cal… – something similar dial layout would be great, on the basis of the new cal. 1969…
    If the BP link is not allowed, mod, plz delete! (BP is not a real competing for TH, so I think it is fine to give the link, only for the photo)
    Other option: a pointer date at 3 and a pointer day at 9, with common axis with the chronograph hands would also look nice…
    Best,
    Robert
    PS: I wonder what complications the 1969 will have and in which line TH will put it in.

  • Robert

    Sorry for my misprints above!
    Robert

  • DM

    Good to finally see a pic of it.

    Some intetesting details too; column wheel, vertical clutch and 70hours power reserve. I find the placement of the column wheel interesting; that it is smaller and pushed right to the edge as it is found on old Valjoux movements.

    The date placement isn’t much of an issue and is more down to where you open the hole in the dial really.
    (is this from the “concept demonstration model).

    I’d also like to see how it fits inside a watch-case. One of my bug-bears when it comes to using ETA movements is that they really are too small for modern applications. Considering how much space there is in a modern watch-case, there is no reason we should still be looking at that 38-40 hour power reserve.

    I like to see a movement fill the case and make use of the real estate.

    In this case, 70hours is a fine figure and my initial thought is how difficult it would be to “remove” the chronograph parts to have a simple three hander.
    Better yet, let’s face it, three hand movements are a known quantity and the problem isn’t in designing it but in productionising and establishing a manufacturing chain for it. But right now, TAGHeuer have manufacturing lines for two high end chronograph movements and a department for essentially R&D and bespoke works. How much extra would it take to manufacture a simple three hander that only has 50 or so parts?

    DM.

  • Cowboy Bebop

    Wow, it's great to see pictures of this, can't wait to see what it goes in to.

  • Edward

    Can you clarify the line "with some key parts- such as the assortment and balance-wheel- being sourced from outside suppliers"? What is the "assortment"?

  • Robert

    Is there a plan of going technically up a bit with the escapement containing important silicone parts, with adjustment directly on the balance wheel and having a balance bridge instead of a balance cock, like some competing brands have?

  • tag

    'its the date window that sits at 9 o’clock rather than the crown'

    I dont quite get this, isnt the date window sitting at 6 o'clock rather than the crown for calibre 11?

  • Thanks for the comments all- a few responses:

    – The Crown is on the right-hand side and the date window is at 9 o'clock (at least on the first models)
    – The assortment is the regulating mechanism/ hairspring- most of the industry is supplied by Nivarox (Swatch Group)
    – No, in-house hairsprings are not a priority (I did ask!)
    – Robert, never any problems linking to other watch brands here… Feel free!

    More info soon.

    dc

  • John

    Did I read correctly that there will be 500 models this year? Seems tight seeing as we're already into November.

  • Correct..should be in the next couple of weeks

    dc

  • LuxTime.pl

    The finishing looks great. Only 500 models ? I hope that isn't true