1985 - 1990s: The return of the Carrera

Episode 6 March 22, 2023 00:05:29
1985 - 1990s: The return of the Carrera
A Matter of Time
1985 - 1990s: The return of the Carrera

Mar 22 2023 | 00:05:29


Hosted By

TAG Heuer

Show Notes

Season 1: The TAG Heuer Carrera |

In this episode, we travel back to a challenging time for the company, which led to the departure of Jack Heuer from the family business. And the creation of TAG Heuer. A decade later, the strong desire to strengthen the brand identity was finalized by the return of both the Carrera and Jack in 1996 at the Monza Grand Prix. 


Image: TAG Heuer Carrera, Reference CS3110


Show notes:

0:29 Arrival of quartz watches puts pressure for Swiss watchmakers 

1:14 Financial pressures and departure of Jack Heuer from the company   

2:13 The birth of TAG Heuer

3:16 Monza Grand Prix 1996: the return of the Carrera  

3:40 2447 Carrera makeover   

4:29 1996: Jack Heuer returns

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:03 Welcome to a Matter of Time, a podcast by Tagore. I'm your host, Nicholas Bebe, heritage director at tagore, with a lifelong passion for fine Swiss watchmaking. In this season, we're discussing the Carrera in its 60th year. I touched on at the end of the last episode, but in the 1970s and 1980s, the Swiss watchmaking industry went through a great amount of turmoil with the arrival of the court's watch in 1969, Switzerland was a first dismissive of this new innovation, but very quickly as production scaled and the accuracy and robustness of these new electronic movements emerged. Mechanical watchmaking was an extremely difficult position for Hoya at the time. This meant great pressure on their stopwatches, which represented 70 to 80% of their turnover. Speaker 1 00:00:59 It also meant that the new automatic chronograph movements were now in a very tight spot as they tried to compete with inexpensive courts watches. So by 1982, Jack and the senior management were in an increasingly difficult position. The finances were under massive pressure. The banks had already stepped in to say that they needed to be significantly more careful and had taken great control in the business. In 1982, Jack was pushed out of the company by his then CFO who had done a backroom deal with the PIJ group who would take over the business. PIJ hadn't had an extremely successful decades in advance of the court's crisis and were in a position to be able to secure the Hoya name. They also owned Manuelo, one of the key suppliers, and were keen to take advantage of the distribution network that Hoyer had built. They restructured the company and discontinued many of the iconic lines. Instead, focusing on the new, more inexpensive, uh, quartz time pieces to compete with Swatch that would go on to become the Formula One and the dive watches for which Jack had laid the foundation. In 1978 with the launch of the reference 8 44, I would now be known as the series 2000, and today the Acqua Racer Speaker 1 00:02:08 In 1985 e PK would have conversations with his close friend, Akra Muja, and his son Mansur, who had already been closely involved in Motorsport and McKee's Secure as European name to attach the technique to avant garde group branding to it was a perfectly natural fit. The Hoya logo was already omnipresent in the world of Motorsport, where tag were already committed through their ownership stake in the McLaren Formula One team. Upon taking over ownership, they bought an uh, three management consultants to investigate the strengths of the brand and see what the future could hold initially and highly profitably. They were focused on the dive watchers and courts watches, but by the mid 1990s, it was time to consider what the name tag, where stood for, and what stories from the past could be leveraged to create a new identity for the brand as a high-end watchmaker and so would come to the Mon Grand Prix in Italy in 1996, the great and the good of the most racing world had gathered in a nice little hospitality suite just behind the Ferrari pits Tag ho at this time, with the official timekeeping partners of Formula One. So it was only natural that they would choose to do a product launch of one of the most prestigious Grand Prix in the world. Speaker 1 00:03:27 Moss famed for its speed and excitement, so it provided the perfect platform to bring the Carrera back. Having taken the silhouette of the original reference, 2 4 47 from 1963, but now replaced the movement with the Leia 1861 as the Valio 72 was now long obsolete. The timepiece at first glance looks exactly like the original from 1963, but there's one interesting thing missing from the Dow, the name Carrera. It's often asked by collectors how on earth this could be the case. And the funny part of the story is, is that at the time the management at Tagore weren't sure that they owned the intellectual property to the Carrera name as Porsche was so dominantly using it. Of course, the situation was quickly cleared up, and by the time a full product portfolio was emerging for the Carrera, the name would now return to the Dow. This initial series of pieces launched in 1996, was meant to be a limited edition of 5,000 watches, but with this great commercial success quickly emerging, it was clear that it had all the potential to be a key pillar for the brand. Speaker 1 00:04:30 An unusual guest at the launch in 1996 was one Jack Hoyer, having spent the best part of 15 years pursuing a new professional career away from the watchmaking industry. It was an approach by the then c o Christian Vios to return to the brand and provide some color and connection to the watches of the past that encouraged Jack to rebuild his relationship with the brand. This relaunched the career in 1996 made it clear to the world that T Hoyer wasn't just about contemporary products, it was focused on the heritage of this incredible Maison and all of the stories that could be told around its connection to motor racing. It's been a pleasure to share with you the return of the Correra in this instrumental year for the company. I'm looking forward to sharing with you the next phase of the collection in the two thousands when the Corra would head in completely new directions and take on a whole new identity. With so many incredible stories, so many fantastic watches, it's only a matter of time before we get around to the next story.

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