The new industry standard in the horological world is the 80 hours power reserve. TAG Heuer has a brand new factory built to kick-start their 80 hours assault.
TUCKED IN THE NORTHWEST corner of Switzerland and a stone’s throw away from the French border, is the sleepy village of Chevenez. According to the census collected in 2003, the head-count of the denizens was 673. But tin 2013 there was a sudden surge in its population, which bumped it up to just under 1,000. No, they weren’t invaded by French refugees, nor was there a baby boom in the village. In fact there is a new factory being erected there, in the middle of a picturesque mountainous valley, which is near impossible to find if you are not familiar with the swiss countryside. TAG Heuer has found a new home for its ever expanding family right here in Chevenez. The new factory is brand new and the entrance greets you with a futuristic outlook, with a sculpture depicting a man working at his desk, and behind it a complex of similar structures anodised in dark colours with a symmetrical roof line. The factory was actually part of the TAG Heuer- owned factory Co-Tech which is located in another part of Switzerland.
Here TAG Heuer Chevenez produces the brand new CH 80 movement and this movement will be the work horse for future models and their solution to their movements dependency. The factory produces a target of some 60,000 movements per annum and is on its way to a maximum target of 100,000 units of movements to be achieved by next year. Is this the beginning of the new age of TAG Heuer, once again on their way to global domination in the entry level luxury watch market?
The star and the best sellers at TAG Heuer have added a couple of novelties to their existing sportier range . They are beautifully classic in their clean design with a touch of sportiness. It has a seconds scale on the flange.
Busy and outrageous designs seem to have taken a backburner recently, one of the brand’s most decisive moves is its leaning towards the truly pure and classic line. The clean line with its round case and matching bracelet brings us almost back to the ’60s, and it has that universal appeal that most will find irresistible. Its versatility can see it being worn during the daytime, corporate hours and after hours, and still see you through the entire weekend. The black opaline dial here is decorated with polished faceted appliqué hour indexes and it repeats on the hour, minute and second hands. It’s driven by an automatic mechanical movement with a date at three o’clock. The classic beauty is housed in a slightly down-sized 39mm brushed polished stainless steel case and it is water resistant to the depth of 100M.
Twin-Time Automatic 41mm
Taking the three hands a step further and still remaining as elegant as ever is the Twin-Time Automatic, a practical feature that gives you the hometime and a second timezone in any city. A classic charmer, with the anthracite sunburst dial giving a strong background to the faceted polished hour, minute and second hands and hour markers coated with luminescent and GMT indicator in steel with red tip, yet still retaining that ‘sport’ element with the seconds scale on the outer flange. The stainless steel 41mm case houses a Calibre 7 Twin Time automatic mechanical movement.
Calibre CH 80
There is a race in the industry to come up with an 80 hour power reserve from a single barrel, not unlike the race to produce a single engine car with the highest mileage per gallon in a car, which has been happening for the last decade. With new technologies material science, the world of watchmaking is slowly moving into uncharted territories. The Calibre CH 80 is a fine example of the new breed of watches, which hold— not only far superior power supply —but have also managed to keep the thickness of the movement down, making it slimmer than ever. (For further explanation in the new technology that goes into the CH 80, read the full blown version in our Technological Innovations.) This handsome watch has a white dial with three black counters—hour counter at nine o’clock, minute counter at three o’clock and the continuous seconds at six o’clock. The dial is further marked with appliqué black hour indexes and the hour, minute and chrono hands in steel coated with luminescent and red central chrono hand and a date window between four and five o’clock. This new in-house manufacture movement with automatic chronograph mechanical movement is encased in a brushed polished stainless steel body.
Monaco V4 Tourbillon
In 2004 something happened in the horological scene that reverberated throughout the world. Tag Heuer revealed the Monaco V4, which shocked everyone in the industry. It was supposed to be a one-off to show the world what the watchmaker can do, but once the world spotted it, they demanded more. As a result the Haute Horlogerie department was set up, but this actually deals very little with the traditional art of watchmaking, instead using science to deal with the challenges that face watchmakers. In 2009 Monaco V4 became fully commercialised. Hence, this has created a whole different branch of watchmaking, avant-garde watchmaking. Though it’s still a very new philosophy the idea is beginning to grow amongst the younger watchmakers.
Inspired by a car engine’s ‘V’ configuration, the four barrels are arranged in two sets of ‘Vs’ and held together by two ‘V’ bridges driven by a belt each, and the mainplate slopes inward to the centre to give the entire movement a ‘V’ configuration. This year celebrating its 10th Anniversary, Monaco V4 is given a new feature, a tourbillon has been dropped into the movement making it more precious than ever. It is also belt driven and a world first, which gives a smooth transition of power all-round. That’s the name of the game, the avant-garde Haute Horlogerie. The watch is entirely in black with a grade 5 titanium with carbide coating and black-coated dial, the hands and markers are blackened as well but coated with white luminescent.
Previous page: Carrera Calibre CH80 Chronograph.
Above: Calibre 5.
Below: Assembly line at TAG Heuer.