I understand that the movement in the 3-hand Edge watch was going to be the 955.112 ETA quartz movement that was used across many TAG Heuer quartz watches. I haven’t been able to find out which movement was planned for the Chronograph version, but the 1/10th quartz ETA 251.262 would have been a strong possibility, being used in most late 1990s TH quartz-powered Chronographs.
So What Happened?
The reason that the Edge was scrapped had nothing to do with the design of the watch- it was because the company had a change of management in 1999 when LVMH acquired TAG Heuer.
The new management team- which would eventually include current CEO Jean-Christophe Babin- decided that it wanted to increase the prestige and positioning of the brand, a strategy that was inconsistent with the launch of a new entry-level model. High-tech, innovative models were the order of the day, and the Edge just didn’t fit.
The Edge wasn’t the only victim of this strategy- the venerable Formula 1 series (which featured a basic mineral crystal and other low-cost parts) was dropped in 2000 for the same reason- TAG Heuer was on a different path to reclaim the reputation that Heuer had built as a watchmaker.
But that is not the end of the Edge story. Because the decision to scrap the Edge was made very late, several thousand cases had already been made, as well as a short-run of complete prototype watches. While most of the cases were scrapped, a batch of around cases were sold to an independent UK watchmaker, who gave the Edge a second life.
Roy Taylor runs RLT Watch Co. a UK company that sells a range of its own watches. A few years ago he came across a batch of Edge cases, which he used as the basis for his own watch- the RLT-29. While the dial had no TH markings the caseback and crown both featured the TAG Heuer logo.
The RLT-29 used a variety of different parts- custom dials and hands were added to offer a complete watch. The only change to the case was the use of black number markings.
Several people then tried to fit their RLT-29 with genuine TAG Heuer dials and hands from other models- mainly the 2000-Series- to try and make the watch look more genuine.
Looking Back at the TAG Heuer Edge
Given the amazing re-birth of TAG Heuer under LVMH ownership, it’s hard to argue that the company should have focused on developing more entry-level watches like the Edge rather than pushing up-market and developing a range of innovative concept watches and in-house movements.
Even if the strategy had been right, the design is not one that had the makings of a classic TH watch. What I don’t like about the design is not the looks itself , but more that there is no real TAG Heuer DNA in the design, which I suspect was exactly the intention. The overall result is more of a “fashion” watch.
I’m sure that there are dozens of rejected designs from watch companies every year- it’s just that we never get to see them. And that what makes the Edge a great story, because it gives an insight into what today’s range may have looked like if it had not have been for the change of ownership.
TAG Heuer Edge: Peter Barnes
RLT-29: Paxman: http://www.timetechtalk.com/forum4/6926.html