The two Maisons have announced their partnership, a true alliance between two brands sharing the same passion for motorsports.
This collaboration will be illustrated through racing and speed sports, as well as in product development, as exemplified by the new TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph.
Two histories – one passion
TAG Heuer and Porsche have a number of things in common, from their rich histories and reputations for innovation to cutting-edge technologies, powerful and independent mindset, and a knack for excellence in design. And for over half a century, their stories have intersected in intricate, intriguing ways.
Of course, the argument can be made that certain similarities of heritage can be traced all the way back to when both companies were founded by self-taught entrepreneurs. Edouard Heuer and Ferdinand Porsche were visionaries and pioneers whose creations changed their chosen fields forever. Heuer was responsible for the first manufactured chronograph and Porsche invented an electric wheel hub motor. Both these accomplishments earned medals at World’s Fairs held in Paris 11 years apart. Heuer was honoured in 1889 and Porsche presented the first Lohner-Porsche Electromobile with this innovation at the Expo in Paris in 1900.
A beautiful friendship begins… and flourishes
The true cornerstones of the new partnership, however, are descendants of the brands’ founding fathers. Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferdinand Anton Ernst or “Ferry”, joined his father’s engineering office in 1931 at the age of 22 and founded the car brand that bears the family name in 1948. Within a few years, the Porsche name would be associated with race track success all around the world, including a class win in the Carrera Panamericana race of 1954. In honour of its successful participation, Porsche calls its most powerful engine “Carrera”.
Edouard Heuer’s great-grandson Jack led his family’s company for decades. In 1963, he created the first Heuer Carrera chronograph, designed to let drivers tell the time at a glance in the heat of the action.
This ground-breaking timepiece and Porsche’s most powerful Carrera engine united Porsche and Heuer – for the first time – in the spirit of the Carrera (or race), which embodied ambition, speed and technical excellence.
Jack Heuer was also responsible for the Heuer Monaco, the first square-faced, water-resistant automatic chronograph watch. Its name evoked the Monaco Grand Prix as well as the Principality’s renowned Monte Carlo Rally, which Porsche won in three consecutive years, from 1968 to 1970, with its signature 911 model. Just as the Porsche 911 had done for automobiles, the Heuer Monaco – with its distinctive case, its blue metallic dial, its red seconds hand and the crown positioned on the left side of the case – broke with the familiar design codes of traditional watchmaking.
The Heuer Monaco’s innovations had come at a significant financial cost and as an alternative to an expensive advertising campaign, Jack Heuer further cemented his brand’s link to Porsche with a creative sponsorship arrangement with Fribourg, Switzerland-based racing driver and Porsche dealer Jo Siffert. In 2005, at the premiere of the film Jo Siffert: Live Fast – Die Young, Jack Heuer remembered the terms of their contract: “In exchange for CHF 25,000, he would put our logo on his car and suit. In addition, he could buy our watches at wholesale prices and resell them to his racing friends at a substantial profit. Which he did with great success because half of the F1 paddock was wearing Heuer watches by the end of the 1969 season!”
It was this connection that led Steve McQueen to wear the Heuer logo on his racing suit during the filming of Le Mans in 1970, in which he drove a Porsche 917. The enigmatic American actor said at the time, “I drive the same car as Jo Siffert, and I want to wear the same suit as him.”
There was another important – and more formal – link between Porsche and Heuer, or more precisely, TAG Heuer, the name assumed by the Swiss watch brand when it was sold to the TAG Group in the mid-1980s. Together, the brands developed and produced the TAG-Turbo engine that enabled the McLaren team to win three consecutive F1 world titles: with Niki Lauda in 1984, followed by Alain Prost in 1985 and 1986.
In 1999, the relationship grew even stronger – from the Porsche Carrera Cup and Supercup competitions, followed by the Endurance World Championship and more was yet to come. TAG Heuer, as a founding partner of the Formula E championship, helped raise the profile of thrilling single-seater races in electric cars. Porsche created its own Formula E team with TAG Heuer as title and timing partner in 2019, marking a starting point for an even more powerful and far-reaching collaboration. And in 2021, that “beautiful friendship” has become a holistic official brand partnership, celebrated by a special-edition timepiece.
Motorsports: continuing the legacy
The foundations of the long, strong link between TAG Heuer and Porsche are world-class motorsports and it is fitting that in the years to come, these thrilling competitions will be at the very heart of the new partnership.
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team made history in its debut season. It set a milestone at the opener in Diriyah (SA) in November 2019, when André Lotterer crossed the finish line in second place: that was the first time a rookie team finished on a podium in its first race since the maiden season in 2014/2015. In its second year, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will not only continue to attract new fans to a circuit that pits all-electric cars against each other, but also fight for the World Championship. Behind the wheel of Porsche’s latest all-electric racecar, the 99X Electric, will be drivers André Lotterer and his new teammate, Pascal Wehrlein.
Porsche has long distinguished itself in endurance events and together with TAG Heuer its GT Team is well prepared for the coming FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The milestone year will also include series partnerships in ten editions of the worldwide one-make cup series Porsche Carrera Cup.
In addition to physical competitions, TAG Heuer also engages in virtual racing by supporting the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. With such a rich common heritage on the track, TAG Heuer is naturally stepping in as global partner in Porsche’s ‘classic’ events and rallies as well.
One team on the green and on the court
Beyond the broad-based partnership in motorsports and e-sports, TAG Heuer and Porsche also share a passion for two other popular activities, golf and tennis. Golf has been a focal point of the TAG Heuer Connected watch developments in recent years, with the TAG Heuer Golf app offering a best-in-class experience to hundreds of thousands of players. Porsche for its part is running its own golf activities like the Porsche Golf Cup, and is sponsor of the Porsche European Open golf tournament since 2015, both of which TAG Heuer will join.
Porsche’s support of tennis includes its own tournament, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, of which TAG Heuer will be the Official Timing, Watch and Chronograph partner moving forward and which features some of the most talented women in the game. This comes of TAG Heuer’s already prominent on-court presence and via partnerships with world-class tennis players. Joining forces in these sports as well was the obvious next step for both companies.
TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph
Carrera: an icon of a name that has been associated with TAG Heuer and Porsche for generations – so it was a natural choice for the first creative product collaboration. A tribute to the heritage of two legendary brands, both on and off the racetrack, the new chronograph offers a first glimpse at what they can achieve together.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph is an exquisite example of coordination, cooperation and collaboration. Based on TAG Heuer’s Carrera Sport Chronograph design, with its distinctive tachymeter scale engraved on the bezel, it introduces a number of features inspired by Porsche’s design essence. A compelling union of two icons of performance, quality, and innovation, this chronograph is a seamless blend of both universes.
Porsche’s engraved inscription is visible on the bezel and the unmistakable font is also used for the indexes. The Porsche colours of red, black, and grey – which also recall historic Heuer models – are incorporated throughout the watch, and on clear display through the transparent cristal case back is the oscillating weight, which has been redesigned in affectionate tribute to Porsche’s celebrated steering wheel. It is printed with “Porsche” and “TAG Heuer”. The dial’s asphalt effect, created especially for this watch, perfectly expresses a passion for the road, while Arabic numerals suggest the numbers on the dashboard of Porsche sportscars.
This groundbreaking timepiece is presented either on a soft strap in luxurious calf leather and innovative stitching that echoes the Porsche interior or on an interlocking bracelet reflecting streamlined racing design. At the heart of this stunning timepiece is the in-house Calibre Heuer 02 manufacture movement with an 80-hour power reserve. The chronograph mechanism’s vertical clutch and column wheel demonstrate the brands’ unflinching demand for absolute precision.
Finally, the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph is a Special Edition watch and is delivered in bespoke packaging with colours and a style consistent with the remarkable watch inside. The black watch box features the logos of TAG Heuer and Porsche in white. Inside the box is a perfectly sized black travel pouch with an unmistakably Porsche red interior.
The official partnership between TAG Heuer and Porsche may be on its starting line but it has been built on a remarkable foundation. It is a friendship reflecting the dreams and aspirations of visionary founding families. It is a true collaboration developed over decades on some of the world’s most challenging racetracks and on the wrists of drivers who were the very embodiment of Jack Heuer’s motto, “Time doesn’t stop. Why should we?”
February 18, 2021