The cornerstones of the official partnership announced recently between TAG Heuer and Porsche have been cemented through a series of close encounters that span decades of collaborations. Shared heritage and common interests in innovation and motor racing underpin a friendship that reflects the dreams and aspirations of the visionary founding families. The partnership speaks to Jack Heuer’s motto, “Time doesn’t stop. Why should we?” By Debbie Hathway
The partnership between Swiss luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer and German sports car manufacturer Porsche is a long-term collaboration covering everything from competition to product development. TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault says: “TAG Heuer and Porsche have common history and values, of course, but more importantly, we share an attitude. Like Porsche, we are disruptors at heart, always in pursuit of high performance. With this alliance, TAG Heuer and Porsche come together officially after decades of close encounters to create unmatched experiences and products for customers and fans who are passionate about our brands and what we stand for.”
Detlev von Platen, member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG, adds: “We bring together what our customers love most about both of us: authentic heritage, thrilling sports events, unique life experiences and the fulfilment of dreams. We both strive to create some rare, magic moments for our communities. We now look forward to doing it together.”
Edouard Heuer and Ferdinand Porsche both pioneered creations that impacted their chosen fields. Heuer was responsible for the first manufactured chronograph, while Porsche invented an electric wheel hub motor.
Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferdinand Anton Ernst or ‘Ferry’, founded the car brand that bears the family name in 1948. Within a few years, it became associated with race track success across the world. A class win in the Carrera Panamericana race of 1954 prompted Porsche to name 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 that enabled drivers behind the wheel to tell time at a glance.
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 and the Monte Carlo Rally, which Porsche won from 1968 to 1970 with its signature 911 model.
He brokered a creative sponsorship agreement with Switzerland-based racing driver and Porsche dealer Jo Siffert that saw him putting the logo on his car and suit in exchange for CHF25 000. Siffert could buy the watches at wholesale prices and resell them to his racing friends at a substantial profit. By the end of the 1969 season, half the F1 paddock was wearing Heuer watches. This was what 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 Heuer name later changed to TAG Heuer when the Swiss watch brand was sold to the TAG Group in the mid-1980s.
One of the brand’s important collaborations was the development and production of the TAG-Turbo engine that enabled the McLaren team to win F1 world titles with Niki Lauda in 1984 and Alain Prost in 1985 and 1986. In 1999, the relationship was strengthened through the Porsche Carrera Cup and Supercup competitions, the Endurance World Championship and more. TAG Heuer, as a founding partner of the Formula E championship, helped raise the profile of single-seater races in electric cars and Porsche created its own Formula E team with TAG Heuer as title and timing partner in 2019.
This year will feature more joint projects including the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).