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TAG Heuer Baselworl 2014: Jack’s final words

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— Jack Heuer’s biography is not only an emotional and valuable account of his own adventurous life, but also an historical overview of the watch industry and TAG Heuer Replica Watches’ most relevant timepieces. He shared a few last thoughts at Replica Watches UK Baselworld.


Jack Heuer signing his book © Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo

It was the first Replica Watches UK Baselworld edition with Stéphane Linder as CEO. The Monaco V4 Tourbillon earned Guy Sémon a few more accolades for his work as head of the haute horlogerie department. And it was unveiled that a massive marketing campaign with Cristiano Ronaldo as the brand’s new ambassador will be out soon. But Jack William Edouard Heuer was once again the star of the show for TAG Heuer: he is always the one whose historical perspective the media are looking forward to, the living legend every retailer wants to take pictures with. Even more so this year, because it would be the last time he was attending Baselworld – and he wasn’t even supposed to be there.

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Jack Heuer.
© TAG Heuer Swiss Replica Watches

Due to retire after his 80th birthday in 2012, the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Carrera in 2013 delayed Jack’s retirement and then a ski accident forced TAG Heuer to cancel the event that would, last January, combine the official presentation of his biography and his farewell. Both had to be postponed until Baselworld, where I met up with the man I call “Father of The Modern Sports Chronograph”. Since he came back to the watch scene as TAG Heuer’s Honorary Chairman in 2002, I must have interviewed Jack some 20 times; here are a few of his insights and revelations shared during our final conversation while discussing his book “The Times of My Life”.

 

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Ten chapters and 290 pages: The Times of My Life recounts Jack’s journey, with a specific emphasis on his period at Heuer between 1957 and 1982.
© TAG Heuer

On the quartz crisis

During the crisis I can claim the Swiss Rolex Replica watches industry exported 30 million movements – complete movements with balance wheels fully assembled in Hong Kong. It was half the production and the Swiss watch industry lost 50,000 jobs at the same time. So basically it wasn’t just about the quartz, and I prove it in my book. We were one year later than the Japanese producing quartz movements – and you don’t go down the drain because of that. What kind of killed us was when the Japanese tied the yen to the dollar and Switzerland would start the business with CHF 4.33 to the dollar and suddenly a dollar was worth CHF 1.33. All of a sudden, we more than tripled the prices in America.

 

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With his father at the Heuer workshops in 1958. Jack is the great-grandson of Edouard Heuer, who founded the brand in 1860.
© TAG Heuer

On the American Dream

I studied engineering. I accepted going in to the company because it was a challenge, especially opening the American market. So, I went there as a 22 year-old to open a subsidiary. And became fascinated by America. I learned a lot. The word marketing didn’t even exist in Europe. When I came back I was way ahead of everybody else in marketing.
On being a pioneer in sponsoring

We spent a lot of money developing the self-winding chronograph movement that we introduced in 1969. So when you have the product needed in the world market but you have no money to announce it because our advertising budgets were very limited, what do you do? A friend suggested we sponsor Jo Siffert and I thought it was a very good solution, because Formula 1 is worldwide and covered all our key markets. We got involved in Formula 1 and that’s how we put the brand into orbit: it became so chic to have a Heuer then that people would put a sticker on the car just to show that they had some kind of contract with us and show they had a Cheap Fake Watches UK. We would distribute ten thousand of these stickers.

 

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The famous Heuer logo on the 1970s Ferraris as seen in the movie Rush, with actor Daniel Brühl portraying Niki Lauda.
© TAG Heuer

On being an engineer and the Carrera

I was able to apply my engineering know-how, especially my graduate part of the studies, to the legibility of dials. Very clear design rules were established in my studies for analogue dials and I applied them to the Carrera. Still today we use the same rules, which are quite clear, in nearly all TAG Heuer watches. I would never have thought of the Carrera being so successful after such a long time. But I must say if you look at the Carrera from 50 years ago, it is still a beautiful watch. I am proud of myself. I made a lot of mistakes, but some things I did right – and the Carrera was one of them. My favourite timepiece from Heuer history is the all-gold Carrera we used to give to our drivers; I would like to say it had the driver’s name and blood group engraved on the back, but I took that mention out of the book because we couldn’t find one watch with the blood group – maybe it was my imagination, 30 years later!

 

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Urban myth? The gold Carrera given to the Ferrari Formula 1 drivers might not have had their respective blood group engraved on the back.
© Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo

On going from precision to status symbol

When I had finished the book, I realized quite clearly that during my times we were fighting for the accuracy of the cheap Fake Watches UK. My president of the board was furious at me because his chronograph was one minute late and he missed the commuting train to come to the board meeting – and today, people just take it for granted that you have to adjust a mechanical wristwatch once a week using your phone or your laptop. Nobody asks anymore in the store “is this an accurate watch?”. They say “oh, it looks nice”, they ask if it is waterproof, what kind of mechanical complications it has. These days, everyone dresses very similar; it’s quite difficult to distinguish yourself from the rest of the people – and the watch still is a good way to do it. The watch will be a discreet but good sign of your financial status and intellectual level. And I’m nearly sure that it will continue to be so.

On the most interesting people met

Out of everyone I met in my life and career, the most interesting were definitely the Formula 1 drivers. A racing driver in the 70s always had one foot on the grave, he didn’t know on Saturday night whether on Sunday night he would be celebrating a victory or dead. It was a dangerous sport in those years and we lost a few: Jo Siffert, Ronnie Peterson, Clay Regazzoni, Niki Lauda was burnt. It went close to your heart, each time. So they lived more intensely than the drivers today, they were truer and more original people.

And a final gift from Jack Heuer to the Worldtempus readers;

download The Times of My Life.

 

A famous picture: Jack overseeing Niki Lauda’s signature as Heuer ambassador, with Ferrari colleague Clay Regazzoni by his side.
© TAG Heuer

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