Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph
Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Image Credit: Supplied

Company banks on decades of glorious racing history and innovation to release new timepieces

It was a year of colour in 2023, with green, purple and blue tones adding vibrancy to dials across the price spectrum, and off the wrist plenty of eye-catching twists took place too. The industry shook to the news of restructurings, acquisitions, and brand purchases.

Fast forward to today and the annual Watches & Wonders 2024 in Geneva, the year’s largest event dedicated to watchmaking, we have 55 of the world’s biggest Maisons setting the scene for the new coming trends. It’s a record when it comes to participating brands, and with the whole heart of the Swiss city involved in the Salon it’s also the perfect environment for watch enthusiasts and industry professionals to come together for a week-long festival of haute horlogerie.

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph
Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Image Credit: Supplied

Among the many iconic names present, this year our centre of attention in Geneva belongs to TAG Heuer revealing four world premieres. After a tremendous year in 2023 commemorating the 60th anniversary of the iconic Carrera model created in 1963 by Jack Heuer, with no less than 12 releases headed by the new ‘Glassbox’ Carrera, TAG Heuer isn’t showing any sings of slowing down.

The Kurator caught up with Maria Laffont, Chief Product Officer at TAG Heuer, to delve deeper into the latest releases that took years of development, as well as to find out what trends we can expect to take place in the near future.

As ever, brand image is imperative in the luxury market but buyers today increasingly want substance to go with the status, and at TAG Heuer the hook is six illustrious decades of motorsport tradition. For Laffont, the very concept of luxury is evolving beyond just high-end prices.

“In today’s consumer mindset, people seek heritage, savoir-faire, innovation, and uniqueness from -luxury brands,” she says. “Every purchase is expected to have a compelling story and a sense of history. At TAG Heuer, we understand this completely. Our brand has successfully built a portfolio rooted in motorsports heritage, incorporating a commitment to innovation. Mixing this with our avant-garde -spirit sets us apart. We are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in watchmaking and high-end craftsmanship and have been able to truly connect with our consumers through this.”

Named after one of the most arduous classic events in racing, the gruelling Carrera Panamericana race across Mexico, TAG Heuer’s iconic model has proven to be as enduring as the legendary cars and drivers who prevailed, names like Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz, and savants such as Juan-Manuel Fangio. The great Argentine won the ’53 running of the race, covering more than 3,000 km of treacherous terrain in just over 18 hours. That’s the kind of adventure that sells watches.

Carrera Chronograph Panda
Carrera Chronograph Panda Image Credit: Supplied

At Watches & Wonders 2024 the brand premiered one Monaco and three new Carreras, and once again upheld the colour trend. “Teal Green took center stage in our releases this year, as seen in the recent launches of the Carrera Chronograph and Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon watches during the LVMH Watch Week, and which is also present in the Skipper release. We actually anticipate that colours inspired by nature, such as oceanic tones, will continue to be popular,” says Laffont.

“Materials with unique textures and finishes are expected to gain traction, providing a diverse and sophisticated range for luxury watch enthusiasts. For our Watches & Wonders releases, mother-of-pearl and an iridescent hue adorn the new Carrera Date, providing a classic and timeless touch to the wrist. To complete our releases, red stands out as a key color at this event, prominently featured in the new Monaco and subtly on the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Panda. It is very vibrant and catches the attention, a great asset for high-end watch making.”

Building upon the success of last year’s TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph in 2023, the Maison drew inspiration from Jack Heuer’s pursuit of legibility and the iconic 7753 SN for its modern reinterpretation of the 1963 vision. By refining the design and refreshing the timeless allure of the Panda Chronograph look within the new Glassbox construction, the introduction of the Carrera Chronograph Panda elevates the collection with a steel bracelet available for the first time.

Carrera Date
Carrera Date Image Credit: Supplied

“We are also bringing forth new precious timepieces like the TAG Heuer Carrera Date with mother of pearl dials,” explains Laffont. “Following the success of the bold-coloured 36 mm releases in 2023, this year we aim to create the perfect feminine watch, an ideal companion for both everyday wear and elegant evenings, a true chameleon in style. And diving into the world of watersports, we are reviving the Carrera Chronograph Skipper and further exploring our heritage dating back to our original Skipper Chronograph of 1968, launched under Jack Heuer’s leadership to celebrate the victory of the New York Yacht Club’s ‘Intrepid’ over New Zealand’s ‘Dame Pattie’ in the previous year’s America’s Cup. We recognise that our rich heritage not only provides a wealth of diversity and ideas but also serves as an amazing ground for innovation.”

It’s the kind of innovation that resulted in the only Monaco launched at the event, the new TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph featuring the latest TH81-00 mechanical split-seconds chronograph caliber crafted entirely in titanium. It’s the lightest automatic chronograph movement ever created by the company.

“It was a meticulous process,” says Laffont. “We really wanted to offer the highest quality of movement, which is why we collaborated with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. It took us two and a half yearsto develop the caliber and the movement underwent approximately 80 hours of hand finishing by skilled artisans, known for their expertise in the industry. This commitment to high-end craftsmanship added to the quality and precision of it. We then customised it to align it with TAG Heuer’s -vision, adding ergonomic features, such as the rattrapante pusher at 9 o’clock, which is an homage to the original Monaco Chronograph. The use of Titanium Grade 5 was also a significant factor in achieving the lightweight design. The case, as well as the movement components like the plate and bridges, were crafted from this material, contributing not only to the overall lightness but also emphasising the sporty and comfortable nature of the watch. We could not be prouder of the results.”