TAG Heuer Movement Strategy
TAG Heuer will continue to manufacture its haute horlogerie movements at La Chaux-de-Fonds. This covers the Monaco V4, Mikrograph, Mikrotimer and new for 2012 the Mikrotourbillon. These movements and watches are basically hand-made at TAG Heuer HQ in small numbers, and this will continue in 2012.
Other Movements- Sellita
Regular readers will know that Swatch Group has started to put the squeeze on competitors such as TAG Heuer for finished movements as well as key components, with the movement most impacted in 2012 being the Calibre 16 (ETA 7750), which is found in the Carrera, Link and Aquaracer.
For the first time in 2012 TAG Heuer will begin to use the Sellita SW-500 as the Calibre 16 to supplement the ETA 7750. As we understand it, there will be no differentiating feature on the watch to indicate which movement is being used (recall that the two movements are almost interchangeable).
When we met with CEO Jean-Christophe Babin in January, he mentioned that the Sellita SW-500 has recently been upgraded and had now been homologated for use by TAG Heuer.
None of these changes will be a surprise to regular readers of Calibre 11, and indeed the news of a new in-house movement plus the move to bring more components in-house is great news for TAG Heuer. The drift away from Swatch Group continues to grow momentum, and while Swatch Group’s desire to control finished movements is understandable, it does surprise that it has been allowed by the Swiss regulators to cut back on the supply of components for which it has a virtual-monopoly. It is also not a surprise that one of the first contracts terminated by Swatch Group is that of its major competitor.
Of course, these changes will impact the smaller brands much more than TAG Heuer, which is able to use its financial strength to build new in-house capabilities. It’s an exciting time to see the innovation and progress that the brand is making on its mechanical movements, and there is little doubt that the pace of innovation shows that TAG is more than capable of building a new range of movements that are superior to those supplied by ETA.
1887 Movement & Mikrograph: Abel Court