If there is one brand that could curate an interesting exhibition of their history, it’s TAG Heuer. The Museum in Motion, a pop-up exhibit featuring a collection of heritage watches from the Swiss watch brand has been touring the globe, grouping classics and personal assets of collectors for the first time. The pieces included in the exhibition display the rich history of TAG Heuer, with a focus on the brand’s relationship with the sport of motor racing and innovations in luxury sports watch design.
TAG & Motor Racing
In 1963, Jack Heuer created the Carrera chronograph in homage to the most dangerous car race in the world, the Carrera Panamericana. The Carrera went on to become a staple of the brand and was the first sports chronograph explicitly made for drivers thanks to its easy to read dial and shock-resistant case. The manual winding chronograph featured a Valjoux 92 calibre and remained manual until 1970 when it switched to the automatic and iconic Calibre 11 movement.
Another TAG piece with a fascinating automotive history is the Autavia which was initially a dashboard clock for automobile or aircraft instrument panels. The 12-hour chronograph featured two sub-dials for hours and minutes with seconds in a central dial. Unfortunately, however, the Autavia was hard to read, and in 1958, during a race, Heuer’s team placed third due to a misreading of the dial by one minute.
This led to the replacement of the Autavia with the Monte Carlo which was much easier to read. The Autavia reappeared in 1961 as a drivers watch designed for the wrist and significantly more legible. The bezel features sixty one-minute markers allowing for a defined interval marker to be set, as well as a 12-hour scale for the display of a different time zone.
In 1969, TAG released the Monaco, a watch considered revolutionary at the time as the first piece to introduce the Calibre 11 mentioned above. The Monaco also featured a micro-rotor and was the first square-cased, water-resistant chronograph made even more famous two years after its release by Steve McQueen who wore the watch in the movie ‘Le Mans.’
The Monaco turned the traditional aesthetic codes of watchmaking on their heads. It had a metallic blue dial, bright red minute hand, and a crown positioned on the left as the watch did not require winding. As well as the notable approval of McQueen, Swiss racing driver Jo Siffert was the first to debut the watch during a race in 1970, and the first driver to be sponsored by the brand.
The original Monza was released in 1976 celebrating the relationship between TAG and the Ferrari Formula 1 team and more specifically the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championship win in 1975 at Monza.
In 1971, Heuer became Ferrari’s timing partner by installing a timing system as Ferrari thought the French were cheating them at Le Mans. Instead of payment for the system, a Heuer badge was placed on the front of every car. In addition to this, every driver had a Heuer patch, and a gold watch engraved with their blood group.
The Camaro and Monaco ‘Dark Lord’
Amongst the many vintage pieces on display for the Museum in Motion Exhibition, two standouts include the Camaro and Monaco Dark Lord.
The Heuer Camaro is named after the famous 1966 Chevrolet model and draws similarities to the Carrera, in a larger case. The watch was made (and named) in an attempt to build a profile in the US motor racing scene. Initially launched in 1968 the Camaro was the last series before things became Chronomatic. The Camaro never received the automatic update and its production run came to an end in 1972.
Another piece that will likely be of interest to enthusiasts is the Monaco ‘Dark Lord,’ only ever produced in a small run. The black PVD-coated Monaco was never included in the original catalogue and is extremely rare. Somewhere between 100-200 units were produced and it is improbable you will get to see one in real life outside of the exhibit.
It’s not all vintage watches, as where would the history and innovation of TAG lead without some modern pieces? The Tourbillon chronograph, TAG’s most cost-efficient piece is also on display. A 45mm watch made from grade-5 titanium, stainless steel, and rubber.
The flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock is a staple of these pieces. And considering its price point, you get a hell of a lot of watch for the price. The Tourbillon features a Calibre Heuer 02-T movement, which is based on the old CH-80 Chronograph.
Museum In Motion
The TAG Heuer Museum in Motion is heaven for collectors and watch enthusiasts, offering the chance to see unique vintage watches that otherwise would never be experienced. Enjoy pieces like the 1965 Carrera and the 1970 Carrera Caliber 12, Autavia models from 1968-74, early Monaco watches and a 1972 piece named in honour of the city of Montreal.
Museum In Motion
The innovative world of TAG Heuer and their rich racing history are on display in the most comprehensive and detailed way possible. Running from the 10th to the 24th of January at Malmaison by The Hour Glass.
Exhibition date: 10 – 24 Jan 2019
Venue: Malmaison at The Hour Glass, 270 Orchard Road #01-01 Singapore 238857
Opening hours: 12.00pm – 8.00pm
In conjunction with the Museum in Motion exhibition, The Hour Glass is offering complimentary polishing and extended warranty to customers. The first 100 customers will be entitled to this service for any Carrera watch brought in from 10 – 24 Jan 2019 at Malmaison by The Hour Glass. Complementary polishing is subject to the material and condition of the watch. Extended one year warranty is also available for any TAG Heuer watch purchased in Malmaison by The Hour Glass from 10th to 24thJan 2019
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