It’s not often that two storied legacy brands join forces to create an item that succeeds in seamlessly blending the values of both. This is what has happened with the new TAG Heuer Porsche Carrera Chronograph wristwatch—a special edition 44mm timepiece powered by the in-house Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic movement. Its design ethos weaves attributes from the two brands each known for their precision, performance and attention to detail.
“There are many features and design touches that echo each brand,” Frédéric Arnault, the CEO of TAG Heuer, tells us, “but more generally I would say that in both the car and the watch, the shape is designed to be unmistakable. To be beautiful while not losing its penchant for speed, to have a kind of attractive aggressiveness, to be elegant without being soft.”
He adds, “Looking at the side view of the watch, you can see how the new case has a clear sense of direction, a blend of strong edges but smooth forms. This is very much the case of the Porsche 911 with an amazing mix of curves and straight lines, of elegance and power.”
To further understand the partnership, we spoke with Guy Bove, the lead designer of the Carrera watch, who provided insight on what makes this watch tick and more importantly, how.
How did Porsche influence the design of the Carrera watch? Were there specific materials that Porsche wanted to include that would speak to their brand and their cars?
What I love about this watch is that it’s a Carrera Sport chronograph infused with the subtle and elegant design codes of Porsche. We wanted to emphasize the sporty side of the partnership, hence we decided to develop a dedicated dial with an asphalt effect where Porsche cars perform their best. The Porsche team was particularly involved in the color balancing of the final timepiece and sharing the right font.
After discussing what could be taken from the car, we agreed on using the interior of the car as an inspiration: the dashboard with the Porsche font is echoed in the indicators of the hour markers thanks to applied numerals. The steering wheel was the inspiration for the redesigned oscillating mass, and the stitching of the strap is similar to the leather seats of the car.
Since both Porsche and TAG Heuer require precision in their products, was there any overlap in the technical design process?
The Porsche team was able to see the future design of the Carrera and we met and organized several workshops to understand what were the important shared values and branding of Porsche and the TAG Heuer Carrera. Precision was, of course, a central focus—on the features but also the movement, which is why we selected our Caliber Heuer 02 for this piece, our most sophisticated movement and the flagship of our manufacture knowhow. It has an 80-hour power reserve with a vertical clutch and column wheel making it one of the most performant chronograph movements on the market. We thought our first Porsche product should encase only the best of our watchmaking expertise.
Is there a part that both products rely on for optimal performance?
There is no one piece that is critical to achieve that but rather a shared mindset, a relentlessness toward innovation, progress and pushing the limits of our respective industries. What is exciting is that together we can go even further, with synergies and expertise sharing, be that on materials, processes or technology, we see a lot of potential for cutting-edge developments in the years to come.
What sets this piece apart from other TAG Heuer watches?
I think the piece is both resolutely different and unique, but also fully aligned with the essence of the Carrera collection. Carrera is a very interesting collection for special editions for several reasons—it has a very long heritage and also several identities ranging from very refined to very technical, always with an undercurrent of elegance. So, the first step was to find the right Carrera to work with, and the second one was to make sure that the special edition makes the best use possible of the attributes of the watch. Clearly the biggest difference between this model and its sister model, the TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph, is the use of the Porsche numerals in the dial and the very different inner bezel. We know fans of both brands will recognize in this watch the values they love while discovering the strength and potential of this new collaboration and the start of a very promising joint-creative process.
What do you hope collectors will take from this collaboration?
What is so special about this partnership is that our TAG Heuer collectors are very often Porsche collectors as well, so there is a lot of common ground already established that will make our joint products all the more attractive to them. This new piece is very much a meeting of the minds, where we have infused our TAG Heuer Carrera look with specific elements from the Porsche 911. Several examples are the look of the dial, where the 5-60 numerals come from the current generation of 911 dashboards, and the seconds markings and inner bezel, from the dashboard clock.
On the strap, you will find a design not seen anywhere else at TAG Heuer, where the center part line and stitching, as well as the choice of leather, is clearly an homage to Porsche interiors. Through the sapphire crystal at the rear of the watch you can see a specific winding rotor which draws its shape from decades of 911 steering wheels. And at the front of the watch, the dial surface is an homage to the racetracks where 911s are often to be found—a granular asphalt texture which makes the minute markers and chronograph sub-dials stand out for better legibility. All these features seamlessly integrated create a new direction that will appeal to all our customers, but in particular the real connoisseurs of both Porsche and TAG Heuer.
How did this collaboration come to be?
Very naturally! Our stories have intertwined in intricate, intriguing ways over half a century. TAG Heuer and Porsche have a number of things in common, from rich histories and reputations for innovation to cutting-edge technologies, a powerful and independent mindset and a knack for excellence in design. And we share an attitude. Like Porsche, we are disruptors at heart, always in pursuit of high performance. When we met with the Porsche team for the first time, we could immediately feel we shared the same passion, and it felt very authentic and purposeful. We both wanted to create something unprecedented together, far beyond simply communications but really all-encompassing, across sports, lifestyle, product development and bringing our two organizations together to share expertise and bring creativity and innovation to the world that you could see only with the connection of both brands.
Images courtesy of Tag Heuer