Nico-the-Edge-PIC-2 (1)

TAG Heuer Edge Chronograph Prototype

One of my favourite stories on Calibre 11 was the article from 2011 that finally revealed the truth behind a TAG Heuer that never was: The TAG Heuer Edge. The Edge was developed in the late 1990s as a new, entry-level model. Despite several thousand cases having been made, the acquisition of TAG Heuer by LVMH spelt the end for the Edge, with the new management team instead deciding to take the TAG Heuer brand up-market. The watches were scrapped and not one was ever sold.

We were fortunate enough to confirm the details of the TAG Heuer Edge with the Stephane Linder (who today of course is the CEO of TAG Heuer) back in 2011, Stephane being one of only a few current TAG Heuer employees who worked on the development of the Edge series.

You’ll often see watches in the Edge case sold as “TAG Heuer Prototypes” where watchmakers add a dial and hand-set from an Aquaracer/ 2000 series and claim that the watch is a genuine TAG Heuer Edge- they almost never are. You see, the problem is that while the cases are reasonably common, most of the dials were destroyed.

But now for the first time, we can show you not only four of the original dials for the Edge 3-hand watch, but also photos of a genuine TAG Heuer Edge Chronograph featuring a bracelet that was developed just for the new model.

Edge Watch Dials

Before we get to the Edge Chronograph, here are four prototype dials for the Edge 3-hand watch. Like most TAG Heuer models of the 1990s, the dials do not have the model name on the dial, but do carry the inscription “professional“.

The two dials above have the reference number from the dial manufacturer on the back

In addition to Orange and Yellow, there was also a “Meteorite” Charcoal dial and a beautiful metallic Blue.

In keeping with the square-edge design of the watch, the hour markers on the dial have squared-off corners, while the dials feature the coloured TAG Heuer logo, which at the time signified a quartz movement.

Edge Chronograph Bracelet

Seen here for the first time is the bespoke bracelet designed for the Edge Chronograph. It’s an interesting design- more complex than the bracelets offered on other TAG Heuer models of the day.

We can also show you that the Edge range included three sizes- below are the clasps for the these models- Full size (below left), Mid-Size (below centre) and¬†Women’s (below right).

These claps still have the original blue protective film and have never been fitted to a watch.

The bracelet has its own dedicated reference number- BA0250.

Caseback and Movement

The caseback of the Edge Chronograph is the same design as the 3-hand watch and is a simple stamped caseback. This example does not feature either the model reference number, or a serial number.

The Edge Chronograph boasted 1/ 10th precision, using an ETA 251.262 family movement, which was used in the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph from the same era.

TAG Heuer Edge Chronograph Prototype

And here is the complete watch- a genuine TAG Heuer Edge Chronograph. All of the parts that you see here are original and correct and reflect what was planned to go on sale back in the late 1990s.

While the design itself certainly would look out of place in today’s TAG Heuer range, the watch is nicely executed, with a consistent squared-off theme across key parts.

Probably the least-successful element are the hour-markers, which have a “stuck-on” feel to them. The gap between the 10 and 2 o’clock hour marker and the sub-dial is quite tight and doesn’t quite look right.

Nico the Edge PIC 4The stainless steel case features a sand-blasted finish, which in the photo above shows off well the shape of the case that sits beneath that unusual square bezel. It’s a complex design, and while I doubt the model would have proven to be a classic, it does give an insight into the design direction at the time.

The Chronograph pushers are well integrated into the case design, while the knurled crown is the same design as the one offered on the Edge 3-hand watch and features the TAG Heuer logo.

Alternative Chronograph Dials

So advanced was TAG Heuer’s development of the Edge Chronograph, that a second dial designed was also commissioned-¬†either as an alternative concept, or potentially an early-look at a second-generation Edge. The design is more up-market than the original one, with polished applied numerals at 12, 4 and 8 o’clock on the men’s model (above right).

This design was adopted on the second-generation Kirium Chronograph from 2001 onwards.

Second version TAG Heuer Kirium Chronometre

***

Photos

My sincere thanks to Nico from Germany for sharing these photos of his amazing TAG Heuer Edge collection.

  • checo

    Ugly!!

  • steve

    I like this watch, very rugged diver style watch. LVMH slipped up not realeasing this watch.

  • Mark

    Yes, it is a little ugly, but that doesn’t stop it being interesting. I think LVMH in the longer term did the right thing in focussing more on the re-editions (though I will never agree with putting an external bezel on a watch and calling it a “Carrera”!) but it would be interesting to see where we would be now had they gone with the Edge range…

  • I'm also in the camp that holding this one back was the right thing to do. But what I love about the watch is that we know it exists. Pre-internet era, how many other models like the Edge were developed that have been lost in time?

    How much would we love to trawl through the lost models of the 1960s and 70s!

    Hopefully, over time a few more lost models will surface.

    dc

  • wynonie

    Fascinating. I actually think it looks pretty good – looks more contemporary than, say, the 6000 series. The strap looks better than the rather fiddly 6000 series ones, or the 1000 series jubilees. Honestly, back then, I can see myself really having wanted one of these.

  • Philmo

    I wouldn't go as far as "ugly" but certainly utilitarian and if the policy was to move up-market, it was clearly not going to take TH in the right direction. Apart from appearing to be capable of fulfilling a "tool watch" role it has no obvious merit. The bracelet looks like the 4000 series and has a clasp which looks comfortable to wear, unlike the 6000 clasp, with sharp edges from the old pressed steel version. This was a pity as I rate the 6000 bracelet as the most comfortable I've worn, after the original S/el bracelet, which again had the pressed steel clasp.

  • toyzrme

    To my knowledge from collecting these, the movement is actually an ETA 251.242. the difference is the dial at the 10 has 30 hours as shown on the dial vs the 251.262 that has only 12 hours.

    • Thanks for this info @toyzrme do you have one of these in original condition?- if you do, would love to see some photos over at the forum http://forums.calibre11.com/forums/tag-heuer-discussion.42/

      Cheers

      • toyzrme

        I would like to clear up what I previously stated,, I stated 30 hours and meant 30 minutes.
        The ETA 251.242 has an alarm feature and has 4 buttons to control the features. This would fit but was unlikely used in the original Heuer Edge Chrono. ETA has updated their movements and only the current ETA 251.272 has the appropriate dial formation with 30 minutes at 10, small seconds at 6, 1/10 seconds at 2. I am still uncertain what the original had back in the 90’s. I would love to know if someone does know.