The new integrated mechanical chronograph movement is being produced at the just finished fourth TAG Heuer Manufacture in Chevenez in the Swiss Jura.
In 2009 TAG Heuer launched the Calibre 1887. As you might know this movement is an old Seiko chronograph. It had been partially re-engineered by TAG Heuer and was then produced in Switzerland. The integrated column-wheel automatic chronograph movement is outfitted with a contemporary version of the brand’s 1887-patented oscillating pinion. TAG Heuer invested 20 million Swiss Francs to produce it in the volume the companies accelerating growth required. A dedicated workshop had to be constructed at TAG Heuer’s facilities in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The first Calibre 1887 rolled off the workshop’s semi-automatic assembly line in 2010. To date 130,000 have been produced.
Now the brand is taking the next step by industrializing its first 100 % in-house manufactured chronograph movement. The plan is to double TAG Heuer´s movement manufacturing capacity and to make the company to the number one chronograph movement manufacturer among watch brands in Switzerland.
The new integrated mechanical movement is being produced at the just finished fourth TAG Heuer Manufacture in Chevenez in the Swiss Jura.
Total expenditure for the new project: another 20 million Swiss Francs.
Total volume planed in 2013: 500 pieces; in 2014: 5.000 pieces.
The quality of the manufactured movement is the direct result of key lessons learned in the production of the Calibre 1887 and the design and production of the several award-winning “haute horlogerie” movements.
Here are first technical facts: Vertical-clutch system; 28,800 A/h (= 4 Hz); 70 hour power reserve; a difference of time adjustment after 24 hours of minus 4 to 6 seconds. The very thin movement (only 6,5 mm) houses 233 Swiss components.
The assortment is delivered by Atokalpa, belonging to the Swiss Parmigiani Group, as is the four-spoked balance, which is KIF auto-shock adjusted.
The dial’s counter layout, like the original Calibre 11, is classic “tri-compax”: central chronograph hand with chronograph minutes at 3 o’clock, chronograph hour at 9 o’clock and small second at 6 o’clock.
The Calibre 1969 also features a date window at 9 o’clock. The decoration is with “Côte de Genève” and snailing on the black tungsten oscillating weight and the minute and automatic bridges, which are nickel-plated and angle polished, with shiny beveled edges. The bridges, plates and ébauches (the incomplete watch-movement) are all produced at Chevenez in the Swiss Jura.
By adding the Calibre 1887 and the Calibre 1969 to its manufacturing capacity, TAG Heuer’s growth in chronographs is now assured. Production volume of the two movements will surpass 50,000 units in 2013 and reach a projected target capacity of 100,000 by 2016.
This pushes TAG Heuer among the biggest industrial chronograph producer among all Swiss watch brands, and one of the very few Swiss Manufactures capable of producing mostly all of its own major components — not just movements but also dials and cases.
To conclude my little presentation let me also confront you with some historical facts:
In the year 1969 Jack Heuer and his three industrial partners Breitling, Hamilton and Büren unveiled the Calibre 11, the world’s first automatic chronograph movement, which he housed in the now-legendary square-shaped Heuer Monaco. The groundbreaking movement and its successors – Caliber 12, Caliber 14 and Caliber 15 – are among the most innovative in the pioneering Swiss brand’s history, and continue to inspire TAG Heuer designers, engineers and artisans to this day.
Of course, by 1969, the company, which opened its first workshop in 1860, had already well established its credentials, especially in the realm of high-end chronographs. Jack Heuer’s great grandfather, Edouard Heuer, patented his first chronograph in 1882, and in 1887 patented the ‘oscillating pinion’ still used by major watchmakers of mechanical chronographs. In 1914, Heuer launched its first wrist chronograph; two years later, it stunned the racing world with a 1/100th-of-a-second stopwatch. This incessant drive to carve time down into its tiniest and most precise fractions continues: in 2012, the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrogirder, the only mechanical chronograph precise to 5/10.000th second, equipped with a never-before-seen regulating system made of micro blades and beating at an incredible 1.000 Hz, won the Aiguille d’Or in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, on of the watchmaking’s most prestigious award.