The chronograph is certainly one of the most interactive complications in all of horology, being that it takes a push of a button to begin a sequence of something happening within the movement. Unlike most complications that are passive and are useful over a passage of time, the instant response of a chronograph and it’s corresponding ability to measure elapsed time has demonstrated tremendous utility in all aspects of modern life.
In the world of horology, one does not have to look very far to find a brand that has devoted itself to the art of the chronograph. With the brand’s involvement during the infancy of motor-racing till today, TAG Heuer has come to be associated with the chronograph in a way that no other brand can claim. In fact, while there have been many worthy chronograph movements made by other brands over the years, none have showcased the kind of innovation that TAG Heuer has propagated during the last 10 years alone.
The brand’s tendency to push the envelope has come to be expressed convincingly in watches from the Mikro family, counting the MIkrogirder, MikroTourbillon, MikroPendulum and Mikrograph as members. Cornering that aspect of the market for high speed chronographs, its safe to say that TAG Heuer has in this area, built up an unsurpassed horological legitimacy.
While these high end watches have impressed watch connoisseurs the world over, in the minds of the more average watch buyer, TAG Heuer represents something else altogether. The avant-garde styling, superb quality and accessible prices have combined to make watches from the brand a solid proposition when it comes to value and performance. This has of course translated into the brand becoming one of the best selling and most well-known in the world.
With the brand evolving higher with their innovations in technology and complications, it became necessary to adjust the communications strategy in order to convey these new developments to the awareness of a larger public.
Case in point then, “La Maison TAG Heuer” the traveling version of the famous TAG Heuer 360 Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. With this exhibition travelling to locations around the world in the coming months, people will be able to partake in and understand the heritage of TAG Heuer, just as they would be able to at the special access only home museum in Switzerland.
For the world premiere and first stop of the tour, Kuala Lumpur’s Pavilion Mall, a high-end shopping centre in the heart of Malaysia’s capital, was chosen as the ideal location to situate the 100m2 structure that would house “La Maison”.
Contained within the dramatic structure were a series of rooms that would convey different aspects of the brand’s history. For example, the “Family Room” which contained key masterpieces from five generations of Heuer family innovators, complete with portraits of founder Edourad Heuer to today’s Jack Heuer.
Then there was the “Kitchen”, in which master watchmaker Marko Mäkinen was on hand to answer questions and to show visitors aspects of the technology contained within the movements from the brand. The “Garage”, a room dressed up to look like the interior of a Formula One garage was also similarly engaging, showcasing unique pieces from the brand’s association with motor-racing. Lastly, there was the “Portrait Gallery”, a corner with portraits of key brand ambassadors over the years like Steve McQueen, Aryton Senna and Leonardo DiCaprio, who have helped to convey the values of the brand to the public.
Watch nerds among us will also be very excited to know that most of the key pieces that have gone into making TAG Heuer’s reputation will be displayed for all to see. Never have there been so many iconic pieces gathered together in one place, and for this reason alone, the exhibition is a must see.
As Jack Heuer stated, “Each of the pieces in this show is a precious member of my family. From the oldest stopwatch to the newest chronograph, they show who we are and what we’re made of. I am delighted that the whole world will finally have the opportunity to see and share this with us, to know us by our proudest achievements, most breathtaking creations, and most intense moments.”
If you’ve missed “La Maison” in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll certainly have a chance to see it as it travels the world. The exhibition will make high profile stops in Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo, then on to the US cities of Houston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Miami and Dallas.
With the backdrop of the exhibition and the wonderful pieces from the historical archive behind us, Eric Vernes, Vice Presdient for TAG Heuer South East Asia was on hand to share a few key pieces of news with the press.
First, the Calibre 1969, a lower cost chronograph movement meant for mass production and announced late last year would be renamed the CH80 when it goes into serial production. This new name was chosen due to the fact that the old name of Calibre 1969 contained too many strong associations with the TAG Heuer brand. Since the movement would be used as well by other brands in the LVMH group, it was better to find a name with more neutral associations. That and the fact that with it having an 80 hour power reserve, meant that the name “CH80” was more suitable.
Second, there would be new initiatives relating to a brand new marketing campaign that would be announced at Baselworld 2014. Not many clues were forthcoming, except that there would be a very exciting new brand ambassador that would be introduced.
All these then, along with the travelling exhibition, certainly suggests a strong forward momentum that TAG Heuer is carrying into 2014, with much to look forward to for watch lovers everywhere. In the meantime, do check out “La Maison” when it comes to a city near you. It will no doubt be an eye-opening and engaging experience.
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