The new year always arrives with a rush for watch lovers, with the SIHH show (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, an exhibition principally for the Richemont brands) and Baselworld crammed into the first few weeks of the new year. As with last year, TAG Heuer chose to unveil the first of its new watches in Geneva during SIHH, where the LVMH brands- TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot- held a joint event on a boat moored on Quai du Mont Blanc on Lake Geneva. Last week we showed you the new Link Chronograph and Connected Modular 41, but there’s a lot more where they came from.
We used the opportunity to ask TAG Heuer CEO, and President of the LVMH Watch Division, a few questions on what TAG Heuer collectors can expect in 2018. And as always, there are plenty of surprises coming.
Calibre 11: What are some of the key themes that TAG Heuer collectors can expect in 2018?
Jean-Claude Biver: There will be three interesting developments in our collection. First is the new Chronograph Link, which is quite an amazing luxury sport watch in our collection. The next interesting piece is the new Formula One Lady, which has an extraordinary perceived value although the price positioning is just below 1000 CHF. I have a lot of trust in this collection not only because a very attractive and aggressive price, but mainly because of such a high perceived value.
Last but not least we will have the first ever chronograph, chronometer, tourbillon equipped with carbon nanotube hairspring which adds an incredible stability in the accuracy of the watch as it is also 100% anti magnetic and 100% anti thermic.
C11: When we last spoke, you talked about your plans to increase production of the Heuer-02 movement beyond the Autavia and Tourbillon. Can we expect to see more Heuer-02 models this year?
JCB: Yes, we will certainly see by year end or latest in 2019 some other models with the Heuer 02 movement which will become our reference chronograph movement in our collection.
C11: Speaking of movements, there was also the prototype “Heuer-03XT” movement that used the same principles as we saw in the Zenith Defy Lab launched late 2017- is that part of TAG Heuer’s 2018 plans?
JCB: X-Time which has now been introduced in the 10 Zenith DEFY Lab pieces and DEFY Inventor pieces, will find in 2019 an interesting interpretation of this incredible invention at TAG Heuer in the form of an X-Time origami execution.
C11: The Heuer-01 Carrera is, I understand, TAG Heuer’s best-selling model. Have you thought about taking the modular, skeleton approach with another model, such as the Aquaracer?
JCB: Yes, that could be quite an interesting idea and I will talk with our Product people about it. Although I have to remind you that in my 44 years in this business I have never seen a successful diving watch with a chronograph…..
C11: Customisation seems to be a big theme as are the low-volume limited edition watches you’ve done, such as last year’s Skipper and the 2018 Calibre11.com special edition watch we’re working on together. This seems to be a theme that only TAG Heuer understand in the market- do you expect this trend to continue?
JCB: Yes, I believe that the trend of customisation is only at its beginning and therefore I see some future for such concepts.
C11: With the benefit of almost 2 years, how do you see the market for Smartwatches today? Do you expect the growth to continue, or do you think we have hit a ceiling with today’s technology (only ~24 hours from a charge, limited functionality without a partner phone, some chip makers (Intel) putting less emphasis on mobile devices).
JCB: Smartwatches will develop and find their way into the watch market. I am pleased we entered this field and technology with TAG Heuer and we foresee some further development for our brand in the coming years. I also believe that we are still in the stone age period of the smart watches and that there is so much more and amazingly interesting to come.
C11: Heritage models continue to play a key role in today’s TAG Heuer. We’ve had the Monza and Silverstone in the past, and the Monaco, Carrera and Autavia remain part of the range today. Do you see other historic models that could come back, or will it be more a development of these existing models?
JCB: I see of course a very interesting 50th Anniversary of the Monaco for next year and cannot wait to wear this watch on my wrist and have it in my collectors safe at home.
C11: Finally, TAG Heuer has invested a lot in its heritage department. Can you tell us a little about this work?
JCB: I believe that with the work in the archives of the brand that has been done in the last three year, we can proudly say that we have quite similar information about our historic pieces than what you can get and find from leading brands like Patek Philippe. And I am extremely proud of this major and incredible job that has been accomplished for TAG Heuer and its numerous collectors.
Out thanks to TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver