German automaker Porsche and Swiss watch manufacturer TAG Heuer have announced a “strategic brand partnership,” a long-term alliance intended “to jointly approach both sports competitions and the development of products.” The effort launches with the new TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph.
“The strong friendship of our brand with TAG Heuer exists since decades and I am more than happy that we are now taking the next steps in the frame of a strategic partnership,” Detlev von Platen, Porsche AG board member, is quoted in the announcement.
“We bring together what our customers love the most about both of us: authentic heritage, thrilling sports events, unique life experiences and the fulfillment of dreams. We both strive to create some unique, magic moments for our communities. We now look forward to doing it together.”
“TAG Heuer and Porsche have common history and values, of course, but more importantly, we share an attitude,” added TAG Heuer chief executive Frédéric Arnault. “Like Porsche, we are disruptors at heart, always in pursuit of high performance.
“With this alliance, TAG Heuer and Porsche finally come together officially after decades of close encounters and will create unmatched experiences and products for customers and fans that are passionate about both our brands and what we stand for.”
“Edouard Heuer and Ferdinand Porsche were pioneers whose visions changed their chosen fields forever,” the news release reports. “Heuer was responsible for the first manufactured chronograph and Porsche constructed a new electric wheel hub motor. Both these accomplishments earned medals at World Fairs held in Paris 11 years apart. Heuer was honored in 1889, the first Lohner-Porsche Electromobile with this innovation was presented at the Expo in Paris in 1900.
“The true cornerstones of today’s partnership, however, are descendants of the brands’ founders. 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 name of Porsche would be inextricably linked with race track success all around the world – including a class win in the Carrera Panamericana race of 1954. In honor of its successful participation, Porsche calls its most powerful sportscar engine at this time ‘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 action.
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 911 model.”
It was Swiss Porsche dealer and racer Jo Siffert who first gained sponsorship for his racing car from TAG Heuer.
“In exchange for CHF 25,000, he would put our logo on his car and suit,” Jack Heuer recalled in 2005. “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 paddock was wearing Heuer watches by the end of the 1969 season!”
Among those buying a watch from Siffert was racer/actor Steve McQueen, who had a Heuer logo on his racing suit and a Heuer watch on his wrist during the filming of Le Mans. McQueen’s watch recently sold at auction for $2.2 million.
In the mid-1980s, Heuer was acquired by the TAG Group and worked with Porsche to develop a new racing engine, propelling Niki Lauda and Alain Prost (twice) to Formula 1 championships with the McLaren team.
Among other sports, Porsche and TAG Heuer are involved together in major European tennis and golf events.
The new TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph has historic design cues from each brand. Displayed through the transparent crystal back is the watch’s oscillating mass which was designed as a tribute to the Porsche steering wheel.
The new timepiece is priced at $5,850. For additional information, visit the TAG Heuer website.