TAG Heuer Movement Strategy

Calibre 11 has covered the key developments in TAG Heuer’s movement strategy over the last 18 months and today we can bring you a detailed look at what is happening in 2012 and beyond. And the news is significant: more in-house Calibre 1887s, a new high-end mass production movement and a continued move away from ETA, Nivarox and the rest of the Swatch Group.

New in-house Movement

The most significant news today is that it has confirmed that it is tooling up to manufacture a new high-end in-house movement. The movement is 100% designed and assembled at a brand new green field site in Chevenez. The Chevenez site will not only produce many components, but will also assemble the new movement.

As we understand it, the new movement will be positioned above the Calibre 1887 and more in the segment of watches currently powered by the Calibre 36.

While nothing is official, our guess is that the new movement is based on the Mikro-platform, the innovative dual-chain Chronograph movement that has powered the Mikrograpgh, Mikrotimer, Mikrogirder and Mikrotourbillon.

Calibre 1887 Update

Production of the Calibre 1887 will move from its current location at Cornol (Cortech) to the new site in Chevenez by the end of 2013. Cortech will now focus soley on producing cases.

Volumes of the Calibre 1887 will be expanded so that the movement can be offered across the TH range- not just the Carrera.

The other piece of news on the Calibre 1887 regards its hairspring. Nivarox (Swatch Group) informed TAG Heuer in January of this year that they would not renew their contract to supply hairpsrings for the Calibre 1887, forcing TH to look elsewhere. You can read more about the background to this decision here.

To replace the Nivarox Hairsprings, TH will source Hairsprings from a both Atokalpa (Switzerland) and Seiko Instruments Inc (“SII”) , whose TC78 movement forms the base for the Calibre 1887. We see this as an interim step and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see TAG Heuer- either on its own or as part of LVMH- making its own hairsprings in Switzerland within the next 10 years.

Also note that the rotor on the 2012 version of the Calibre 1887 has been updated to the design shown above- part of the changes and improvements that continue to be made on the Calibre 1887.

Haute Horlogerie

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


  • AM

    Do you think the original calibre 1887 will become a collectors watch now with all these changes?

  • All good news.I know to design and build an in house movement will hit us in the pocket (nothing new there) but I get fed up with so many watches with the same movements.

  • You're right. Oddly the assortment – because of Nivarox defacto monopoly – is at the same time one of the most taboo and one of the most common and standardized watch component in Switzerland with very similar assortments from the same supplier equipping most Swiss Brands regardless of their price positioning, history or image. Like if a Ferrari were using the same pistons as a Dacia Logan (to the honour of the Dacia Logan). New players like Atokalpa or Seiko Instruments will create competition, progress, innovation and variety on a component which insofar has been quite "quiet" except for the silicium. Or TAG Heuer Concepts like the Pendulum or the Mikrogirder 10000 proposing new ground breaking ways of regulating especially in medium-high and high frequencies.

  • Jordan

    Do you know when the change from the ETA 7750 to the Sellita 500 will take place? I am looking at buying a new carrera heritage in the next few months and want to know if it has the eta or sellita movement. Also are the movements comparable in terms of accuracy?

  • DC

    Thanks for stopping by Jean-Christophe.

    What can you tell us about the new movement? What will the dial lay-out be?


  • Mark

    That's the key question for me David. The Vj7750 layout is so ubiquitous now that I don't feel creating another movement that follows that configuration would be the right move, especially not given the competition can offer the more classic 3-6-9 layout.

    What I think would be ideal would be a base movement that is configurable for 2 or 3 registers in 3-9 or 3-6-9 configurations. And modular enough that complications such as a triple calendar could be added – there is a rich history of triple calendar chronographs with Heuer, it would be great to see another in the range, combining sport and dress watch themes.

  • Himawan

    This is not quite surprising, more to a confirmation of a good news. I think this is all what we expect from TAG-Heuer moving forward with the strategy of insourcing. Keep posting..

  • DC

    Not sure Mark- looks like no more info for now. If it is based on the Mikro platform (and that has not been confirmed), then I guess it will have a tri-compax layout, with registers at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock and with the potential for a power reserve for the Chrono.

    A few points from a post made elsewhere by JCB:

    – New Chrono will be similarly priced as C. 1887- above that is Calibre 36 and above that Mikrograph

    – New Chrono has "different dial related architecture, thickness and modularity"

    Lets hope its a little thinner than the Cal. 1887


  • Kback

    The 1887 Calibre is a step in the right direction. I believe the Insource-Strategy prevents TAG Heuer from relying to much on the Swatch Company. Over 3/4 of all Swiss Watch Companies buy Embouches/Hairsprings and so on from Swatch and do not diversify themself properly in terms of suppliers. This is a serious cluster risk. I know, insourcing is not a very cheap solution, but sustainable.