The CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of the Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, Michel Mousselon, was a guest speaker at the IFA Paris Shanghai campus a few days ago. He delivered to the students in MBA Fashion Business and Luxury Brand Management keys to success of a name that has accompanied, for more than a century, the legend of the sport.
From the start of his address to students of IFA Paris, Michel Mousselon, CFO of the watchmaker TAG Heuer delivered a key for better understanding the DNA of the Swiss watchmaker history. TAG Heuer is indeed a reputed brand name and logo, but it is also and above all a dense heritage, with a past marked by the spirit of excellence and progress of its founder. TAG Heuer is an « old house » and « all begins in 1860 », said Michel Mousselon, when the brand founder, Edouard Heuer, aged just 20 years, guided by his passion, founded a watchmaking workshop in the Swiss Jura, under the name « Edouard Heuer Fabrique d’Horlogerie. »
The young watchmaker excels by developing in 1869 the first self-winding – his first patent – and then in 1880, again, when he makes the first chronograph (the mechanism is patented in 1882), positioning the brand as the first service sports performance. Then, patents are multiplying. First waterproof case in 1895, first oscillating pinion in 1887. Heuer’s science starts to impose its time. His descendants will follow his steps. A real race against time is soon waged among Swiss watchmakers to develop ever more precise mechanisms.
One step is taken forward in 1916 with the development of new mechanical meters and with the Mikrograph – a bestseller until 1969. The first automatic chronograph with micro rotor marks an evolution. Electronic timing is miniaturized. A symbol : during the first US manned space mission around the earth, initiated in February 20th, 1962, cosmonaut John Glenn wears a Heuer counter. TAG Heuer markets in 1969 the Heuer Carrera, the Monaco and the Autavia is on the wrist of Steve McQueen in the film Le Mans (1970). Mythic.
The watchmaker, which has always focused on speed, enters Formula 1 circuits and becomes the official timekeeper for Ferrari, from 1971 to 1975. The brand is appreciated by champion Ayrton Senna and will work for thirty years with McLaren. Its links with the world of sport will go far beyond. Cristiano Ronaldo and Maria Sharapova will be also its ambassadors. TAG Heuer is also very active in ski, mountaineering, sailing (with for example the America’s Cup), surf or marathon.
The TAG Heuer name actually dates from 1985 – when the TAG Group acquired the brand. Before the LVMH group became its parent company in 1999. An history marked by technical and technological developments : from the oscillating pinion in 1887 to the Mikrogirder presented in 2012, TAG Heuer has marked its difference, assured Michel Mousselon. The brand « always stayed at the forefront of his time, ahead of watchmaking expertise. » The brand will have been, also, the first to talk to young generations – and « we are not talking only of age but mindset too. » Among his muses, the brand collaborates with the electro DJ David Guetta or with the famous model Cara Delevingne. With its 155 years of history, new steel frames and always more sophisticated designs, TAG Heuer has left his mark – and marked its time – on the history of Swiss watchmaking.