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.
Note 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
The 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.
Starting 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.
- 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 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