Between the Carrera and the Monaco, TAG Heuer has plenty to offer anyone in the market for a classic driver's watch. But if you're having some trouble deciding between the two, the Swiss watchmaker has announced the re-release of the classic Silverstone Chronograph.
Originally introduced back in 1974, the Silverstone is inspired by the British circuit by the same name, with a rounded-square case inspired by the track's curves. It featured the first automatic chronograph movement, and earned a following all its own.
The re-release will be available with a brown or blue face with coordinating perforated alligator leather strap, and bears the classic Heuer logo before TAG took over. Only 1,500 examples of the re-issue will be released, with a price tag of approximately $6,500 apiece.
At the same time, TAG Heuer has announced a renewal of its partnership with the McLaren team that launched twenty-five years ago, marking it one of the longest-standing sponsorships in the sport's history. Follow the jump for press releases on both developments.
[Source: TAG Heuer]
TAG Heuer: Pioneering Design for 150 Years
The coolest mechanical chronograph of the Seventies is back!
TAG Heuer: 150 Years of Avant-Garde Design
TAG Heuer timepieces epitomize prestige and performance, brilliantly fusing technology with design. The world leader in luxury sports watches and chronographs since 1860, TAG Heuer has always focussed on the "look" of its watches. Since the beginning, it has been a pioneer in watch design, even if the term "design" was not always used.
Before the 1920s, watch faces were round; it was impossible to imagine representing the flight of time differently. Under the influence of Art Deco, however, the company increased the variety of shapes it proposed - some watches became oval or cushion shaped. To be the watch brand and timekeeper of reference in the world of motor sports requires well-designed instruments with maximum readability. With its aperture at 12 o'clock, the Monte-Carlo of 1958 was the most readable sports timer in the history of watchmaking. In 1969, Jack Heuer solved the impossible puzzle of the square, waterproof case with the unforgettable Monaco - the boldly original watch worn by Steve McQueen in the 1970 race film classic Le Mans. Five years after, in 1974, the company launched the Silverstone chronograph, with a totally new square and round case design. In 1977, the square - oval case of the Chronosplit (the world's first quartz wrist-chronograph with LED and LCD display, launched in 1975) was followed in 1977 by the Manhattan model, with its startling hexagonal shape. Stopwatches also benefited from this acute design imperative. The artist Richard Sapper designed the Microsplit in 1976, and the stunning piece was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Since the 1990s, TAG Heuer has worked with world-famous designers like Eddie Schöpfer (2000, S/el), Jorg Hysek (6000, Kirium), Roberto Ventrella (Alter Ego), Ross Lovegrove (Avant-Garde Eyewear) and Christoph Behling (Grand Carrera).
The brand is a repeat winner of every major watch design award, including 5 Red Dots, 1 DFA, 2 IF Design, 1 Chicago Athenaeum Good Design, 1 China's Most Successful Design Award, and 2 Design Watch of the Year Prizes at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève.
This leading-edge design focus can also be seen in TAG Heuer boutiques and in its Baselworld booth, SKIN. The most avant-garde booth ever built for the prestigious watch fair, SKIN won the Silver Award in EXHIBITOR Magazine's 23rd Annual Exhibit Design Awards competition in 2009.
Now, to celebrate and pay homage to 150 years of pioneering design, TAG Heuer is reissuing on of its most iconic creations of all time: the SILVERSTONE chronograph.
The SILVERSTONE: a signature chronograph of F1
Originally launched in 1974, the SILVERSTONE chronograph gets its name from the famous racetrack of the same name. An hour's drive west of London, between Northampton and Oxford, Silverstone is best known as the home of the British Grand Prix, which it first hosted in 1948. On May 13th 1950, the opening race of the 1st ever FIA Formula One World Championship started at Silverstone.
Since that, Silverstone racing track received 43 Formula One British Grand Prix starts and became the ''home'' Grand Prix for McLaren with 12 wins in 35 years.
The racetrack has a special place in TAG Heuer's heart because many of its racing ambassadors and F1 team partners scored career-making victories on it. From Emmanuel de Graffenried, the very first ambassador, in 1949, Juan Manuel Fangio in 1956, Jo Siffert in 1968, Alain Prost in 1985 and 1989, Ayrton Senna in 1988, David Coulthard in 1999 and 2000, Mika Hakkinen in 2001 or Lewis Hamilton with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Benz in 2008, the Silverstone racetrack has pushed the best to achieve their best.
The top drivers of the 1970s admired the SILVERSTONE chronograph for its distinctive name, unique shape and avant-garde look, and the buzz they generated helped make it a style icon of the period. TAG Heuer was Ferrari's timekeeper throughout that decade, but it was also partnered with McLaren, BRM and Surtees-Ford, and every driver from these teams wore a TAG Heuer watch. In 1974, the year the SILVERSTONE was launched, Clay Regazzoni and Emerson Fittipaldi became TAG Heuer ambassadors. The two legendary drivers chose the chronograph as personal lucky charms. Fittipaldi won his 2nd F1 World Championship that year, driving for McLaren while Regazzoni won the Silverstone GP in 1979.
The TAG Heuer SILVERSTONE: Iconic and Vintage Design
Design has always been an essential component of TAG Heuer DNA, but the company has become the world leader of prestigious sports watches and chronographs by breaking its rules and challenging its conventions.
The SILVERSTONE's distinctive and vintage design - a squared case with rounded edges in polished stainless steel - was based on another breakout timepiece of the period, Steve McQueen's 1969 Monaco. Softer edged, graced with a colourful dial, totally new shape, and fully loaded with leading-edge chronograph functionality, the SILVERSTONE is one of TAG Heuer's purest designs and most emblematic creations ever.
It became a defining symbol of the 1970s, and a coveted design object ever since.
A tribute to TAG Heuer's unique chronograph heritage
The SILVERSTONE was initially driven by the proven Chronomatic Calibre 11 automatic movement, developed in cooperation with Dubois Dépraz, Breitling and Hamilton-Büren, and launched in 1969 as the world first automatic chronograph movement with micro-rotor. Typical characteristics of the movement are the date counter at 6 o'clock and the two pushbuttons, placed across from the crown in two indentations.
To keep the counters, pushbuttons and crown configuration of the original, the new SILVERSTONE's movement is the Calibre 11 with Dubois-Depraz module.
The re-edition is faithful to the original - not just the same bold mix of round and square and the distinctive technical features, but also the same vintage "HEUER" logo and "SILVERSTONE" lettering at 12 o'clock, and a strap in top-grade perforated alligator.
With its disruptive blend of sport and style, and resolutely geometrical design, the SILVERSTONE is a perfect example of TAG Heuer daring, and a standard bearer of its famous motto: "Swiss Avant-Garde Since 1860."
TAG Heuer, the leader in prestigious sports watches and chronographs since 1860, is one of the largest and fastest growing luxury Swiss watch brands. The Swiss watchmaking legend draws upon its active engagement in the world of sports to create the most accurate measuring instruments and sports watches in the world. TAG Heuer is the first watchmaker ever to master luxurious chronographs with an unsurpassed precision of 1/10th, 1/100th and 1/1,000th of a second. From the Olympic Games in the 1920s to its role as official timekeeper to within 1/10,000th of a second for the legendary Indy 500, TAG Heuer, in a constant quest for innovation, excellence, performance and prestige, continues to aim ever higher, as reflected by its 6-year partnership with 2008 Formula 1 World Champion, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and its 25-year partnership with team McLaren and its drivers Lewis and his teammate Heikki Kovalainen. TAG Heuer, more than ever, epitomizes prestige and performance through partnerships with 2007 F1 World Champion & Scuderia Ferrari F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen, world number 1 golfer Tiger Woods and WTA tennis star Maria Sharapova, as well as Hollywood icon Leonardo DiCaprio and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan. TAG Heuer is a privileged member of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), the most exclusive club in the Swiss watchmaking industry.
TAG HEUER CELEBRATES DOUBLE ANNIVERSARY IN STYLE AT THE McLAREN TECHNOLOGY CENTER
WOKING, England, December 2, 2009 - Motor-racing greats Lewis Hamilton joined Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren Automotive Chairman Ron Dennis, TAG Heuer Honorary Chairman Jack Heuer, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin and more than 120 international journalists at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) on Wednesday to celebrate TAG Heuer's 150th anniversary and the 25th year of its winning partnership with McLaren in F1.
Long-time TAG Heuer Ambassador Lewis Hamilton, wearing his 2009 driving suit and helmet, marked the quarter century in style by arriving at the party behind the wheel of a 1986 F1 McLaren race car, once driven by world champion Alain Prost.
Guests at the lavish cocktail and dinner party at the Sir Norman Foster-designed Centre were given a sneak preview of two new TAG Heuer creations and complimentary copies of the just-released TAG Heuer: 150 Years, a beautifully illustrated commemorative book from Editions Assouline.
In over 200 pages, TAG Heuer: 150 Years outlines the watchmaking brand's unique trajectory from the small, artisanal workshop of Edouard Heuer in the Swiss Jura to world leader in luxury sports watches, chronographs and professional sports timekeeping. The book was presented by Edouard Heuer's great-grandson, Jack Heuer, TAG Heuer's Honorary Chairman and one of the watch industry's most brilliant innovators.
"We are of course proud of our accomplishments but also grateful to have so much to celebrate," said TAG Heuer CEO and President Jean-Christophe Babin, who opened the festivities with 2008 FIA World Drivers' Champion and longtime TAG Heuer Brand Ambassador Lewis Hamilton. "A century and a half of pioneering innovation at the avant-garde of Swiss engineering and design, and a quarter-century with McLaren - one of the longest-running sponsorship agreements between a brand and a racing team in the history of Formula One."
TAG Heuer's partnership with McLaren, begun in 1985, is one of the most successful in sports, with six FIA World Constructors' Championship titles and nine FIA World Drivers' Championship titles to its name. TAG Heuer, an active participant in the McLaren Technology Centre, is also involved in the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren super sportscar projects and timekeeping tests. To date, TAG Heuer and its partners have developed 6 exclusive SLR chronographs, each a stellar work of design and function reflecting the values common to both
the brand and the team: passion, performance and sporting prestige. The high-profile partnership has also helped develop the world's most sophisticated sports timing technology.
The true stars of the party were the brand's two latest creations, the SILVERSTONE, a "one-off" re-edition of one of TAG Heuer's most iconic timepieces, and the CALIBRE 1887, an avant-garde chronograph movement made entirely in-house.
"TAG Heuer: 150 Years, is a wonderful tribute to our brand's history," said Jack Heuer. "And so are these two new timepieces. A stunning reissue of a great icon and a new, all-TAG Heuer movement – I couldn't dream of two more spectacular birthday presents!"