The Heuer wristwatch brand needs no introduction in modern day horology circles, being famous for its wide range of stylish and popular watches. The company we know today however, that of Tag Heuer started of life in a different form.
Started in 1860 in St Imier by Edouard Heuer, the company started by selling watches and after only four short years Heuer had grown the business so much that a move was necessary to further improve the company and increase sales. He decided to move to Bienne, where he would once more prove his business acumen.
In a few short years Heuer began production of a range of watches incorporating its own inventions, including a new patented crown winding system. Years later Heuer was the first company to start production on their own range of chronograph watches.
Edouard Heuer died in 1892 and left a very profitable company in the hands of his family. Under the management of two of his five children, that of Charles and Jules Heuer, the company continued to produce fine quality watches and over the coming years the brothers continued with their father's innovative spirit, introducing many new features into their watches.
Expanding the footprint of the business was high on the agenda for Charles and Jules, so they began producing clocks for motor vehicles and other forms of transport. Stop-watches also featured among the ever expanding product range of the company.
The first Heuer wristwatch produced was a ladies decorative design that paved the way for a man's watch not long after around 1913. Between then and the mid 1900s chronographs, stop-watches and waterproof models were the main business of the company.
In the latter part of the 20th century the company conformed to the fashion of the time and introduced a quartz watch that incorporated all of the functions of their best watches. The Heuer wristwatch quartz LED and LCD chronograph featured a mechanism for measuring time down to 1/100th of a second, called the "Chronosplit". Heuer were quick to react to changes in fashions and so later it also released a quartz chronograph with a more standard analogue display.
In 1985 Heuer merged with the "Techniques d'Avant-Garde" group and so the name Tag-Heuer was formed. No longer a private concern, the company was made public in 1996 and in 1999 Tag-Heuer was formally bought by the French company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A., for around $746m.
Finding an original Heuer wristwatch may not be that easy, you will probably have to wade through hundreds of the more modern Tag-Heuer watches first, especially on eBay. Having said that, if you can find one of the chronograph models from the 1940s, you will instantly recognize the quality of the watch. Expect to pay a few thousand dollars at least, but that will be money well spent.
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