- You created the Carrera Heuer-02T tourbillon at an all-time low price of 15,000 Swiss francs. How did you save money?
- We believe that this is the most adequate price for a tourbillon watch, just that other market participants have similar models much more expensive. We took our iconic Carrera round case, the finished CH-80 automatic chronograph movement and added a lightweight high-frequency tourbillon in graphite and titanium. Its low weight allows the power reserve to be extended to 65 hours. But any TAG Heuer tourbillon is about precision, and the new caliber is COSC certified.… Thus, as if from separate modules, we put together a very high-quality watch, designed for mass assembly. Today, our manufactory has state-of-the-art technology that we didn’t have ten years ago. Now, thanks to massive investment and the work of the R&D department, it has appeared in our workshops. Moreover, these machines work with an accuracy of a micron, for example, by adjusting the axis of rotation, which was previously done by a person. So it's really cheaper to manufacture now.
“But a few years ago, TAG Heuer was famous for its conceptual development in the field of complex calibers, and today you are concerned about an affordable price. Don't you see a contradiction in this?
- Not at all. Before moving on to affordable watches, you need to master the technology in detail. This is my job. Believe me, it is not so difficult to produce unique models for very wealthy clients, and this is what many brands see as their credo. But making high technology available to ordinary people is a real challenge. And we decided that this niche was right for TAG Heuer. We have been investing in our state-of-the-art production in Switzerland for ten years now - tens of millions of francs. But today it gives us the necessary technological capacities for industrial production.
“15 thousand Swiss francs is the normal price for a tourbillon. The rest of the market players simply inflate prices"
- What is happening in the smart watch market?
- We are just beginning to understand the depth and scale of this phenomenon. In the near future, "connected" watches will represent a significant segment of the watch industry, I would even say a large part of this market. I am absolutely sure that in ten years' time premium watches will also be "connected". While I'm the only one who says this, and many consider me an idiot. But this is the course of history: as today there are no cars without a built-in radio receiver, in the same way all watches will soon be "smart". This does not interfere with the creation of luxury items, because one does not contradict the other. But it will be a big problem for those who turn a blind eye to this area of the watch industry, believing that it does not exist. We did everything right and on time.
© TAG Heuer Press Service
- How is the TAG Heuer Connected sales going?
“The first 15,000 models sold out in three months, and this is the first time in the history of TAG Heuer that we are faced with such a stir. Next year we have to make about 100 thousand. Which of the brands produces 100 thousand watches a year? Very few. It turns out that smartwatches are a separate direction within our watch brand, that it is a different profession and a different way of working in the watch industry. We are working on the next generation of our smartwatches and are building a hotel assembly line for these models.
- To finally put Swiss made engraving on the case instead of Swiss engineered?
- This decision depends on the Federation of Watchmakers, which dictates the laws of our industry. Yes, this watch was invented in Switzerland, assembled and tested here. And the case is made at our factory, but the "operating system" is imported, so the problem of the Swiss production of microprocessors remains. At the same time, we are well aware that the words Swiss made make sense for a very small number of people - for those living in Switzerland and for lovers of Swiss watches. They mean nothing to the rest of the world. The Swiss watch industry is a museum, like the Louvre or the Hermitage. Everything is very decorous and beautiful. And TAG Heueris also partly under the roof of this museum, but a huge part of the brand is outside the museum walls, let's say, in the section of contemporary art.
Guy Semont © TAG Heuer Press Office
- You grow peonies in your garden on your family estate in eastern France. Why did you choose gardening?
- I have three types of flowers growing: the first and most favorite - peonies, the second - old varieties of roses, they are called roses anciennes, and ranunculus. Many people like to dig in the garden, and so do I. But when I take care of flowers, the best ideas come to me, we can say that all my engineering discoveries were born in this garden. Therefore, the time of flowering, from May to September, is the most fruitful time for me.
- What is your personal philosophy of the time?
- I try not to lose it. I always try to waste my time doing something useful. I am a very organized being, I work a lot and sleep little. In this we are similar to Biver (Jean-Claude Biver, head of the watch department of the LVMH group, which includes TAG Heuer, - ed.) - we sleep no more than four hours a day. You know, in Africa they say: Western people have watches, and we have time.>