The TAG Heuer brand began as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG and was created in 1860, when Edouard Heuer set up a watchmaking workshop – at the age of twenty – in St. Imier, Switzerland – in the Jura mountains. Only nine years later, he patented one of the first crown-winding mechanisms for pocket watches. A leader in chronograph watchmaking innovation, Heuer patented his first chronograph in 1882 and an oscillating pinion – which is still used by major watchmakers creating mechanical chronographs – just five years after that. He also patented the first dashboard chronograph and introduced the first wrist chronograph, with the crown at the 12 o’clock position; as well as manufacturing “Flieger” chronographs, which were specifically for pilots.
A chronograph is, essentially, a specific type of timepiece with both timekeeping and stopwatch functions. There are digital and analog chronographs, and are available as basic models or as highly complicated. A basic chronograph has an independent sweep second hand – it can be started, stopped, and returned to zero, simply by pressing the stem. hand – it can be started, stopped, and returned to zero, simply by pressing the stem. Those that are less simple can have several, independent hands to measure seconds, minutes, hours, and even tenths of a second. These use additional complications.
In 2013 the company opened its newest facility – d’Avant-Garde Manufacture – in Chevenez, Switzerland. This location will be the epicenter of their mechanical chronograph movement production. This site is set to complete 50,000 movements per year; a number which will grow to 100,000 by 2016. It will produce two types of movements – the Calibre 1887 (which debuted in 2009 and based on a partially re-engineered old Seiko chronograph movement) and the newly released Calibre 1969.
The TAG Heuer Calibre 1969 Automatic Chronograph watch movement precisely regulates 12-hour and 30-minute counters, as well as the oscillator pinion, first patented by Heuer in 1887. The Calibre 1969 is named so due to the fact that 1969 was the year that the company released the legendary Calibre 11, which was their first automatic chronograph movement. This movement is a minor improvement from the Calibre 1887 in terms of functionality and refinement. For example, it has fewer parts, which makes it more efficient. It’s also thinner and has a longer power reserve – of 70 hours. It operates at 4Hz and offers a triple sub-dial layout – counters at 3, 6, and 9 – as well as the date.