There are various car and watch collaborations, in the industry today, but the million dollar question is… Who really gets it right? and I’m not just referring to slapping a car logo on the dial, under some temporary licensing agreement. Today, marks the start of a new chapter between TAG Heuer and German sportscar manufacturer Porsche. The duo has just announced an extensive new 360 degree partnership that will set a new standard for brand integration: ranging from competition to product development, with the new TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition 44 mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic being a glimpse of what you can expect from this collaboration. (Read all about the new TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition here). The year 2021 will feature a rich portfolio of joint projects that reflect TAG Heuer’s and Porsche’s shared commitment to speed and precision sports.
TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault says that the time is right for his brand’s partnership with Porsche: “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 finally come together officially after decades of close encounters and will create unmatched experiences and products for customers and fans that are passionate about both our brands and what we stand for.”
“The strong friendship of our brand with TAG Heuer exists since decades and I am more than happy that we are now taking the next steps in the frame of a strategic partnership,” says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “We bring together what our customers love the most about both of us: authentic heritage, thrilling sports events, unique life experiences and the fulfilment of dreams. We both strive to create some unique, magic moments for our communities. We now look forward to doing it together.”
Porsche and TAG Heuer have a number of things in common. For starters, their rich histories… Both companies were founded by self-taught entrepreneurs – Edouard Heuer and Ferdinand Porsche – visionaries whose creations changed their chosen fields forever. In the same way, Heuer was responsible for the first manufactured chronograph, Porsche invented an electric wheel hub motor. Both these accomplishments earned medals at World’s Fairs held in Paris 11 years apart. Heuer was honoured in 1889 and Porsche presented the first Lohner-Porsche Electromobile with this innovation at the Expo in Paris in 1900.
Going back even further, the true cornerstones of the new partnership, are the descendants of the brands’ founding fathers. Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferdinand Anton Ernst or “Ferry”, joined his father’s engineering office in 1931 at the age of 22 and founded the car brand that bears the family name in 1948. Within a few years, the Porsche name would be associated with race track success all around the world – including a class win in the Carrera Panamericana race of 1954. In honour of its successful participation, Porsche calls 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, designed to let drivers tell the time at a glance in the heat of action. This ground-breaking timepiece and Porsche’s most powerful Carrera engine united Porsche and Heuer – for the first time – in the spirit of the ‘Carrera’ (or ‘race’), which embodied ambition, speed and technical excellence.
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 as well as the Principality’s renowned Monte Carlo Rally, which Porsche won in three consecutive years, from 1968 to 1970, with its signature 911 model. Just as the Porsche 911 had done for automobiles, the Heuer Monaco – with its distinctive case, its blue metallic dial, its red seconds hand and the crown positioned on the left side of the case – broke with the familiar design codes of traditional watchmaking.
The Heuer Monaco’s innovations had come at a significant financial cost and as an alternative to an expensive advertising campaign, Jack Heuer further cemented his brand’s link to Porsche with a creative sponsorship arrangement with Fribourg, Switzerland-based racing driver and Porsche dealer Jo Siffert. In 2005, at the premiere of the film Jo Siffert: Live Fast – Die Young, Jack Heuer remembered the terms of their contract: “In exchange for CHF 25,000, he would put our logo on his car and suit. In addition, he could buy our watches at wholesale prices and resell them to his racing friends at a substantial profit. Which he did with great success because half of the F1 paddock was wearing Heuer watches by the end of the 1969 season!”
It was this connection that 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 enigmatic American actor said at the time, “I drive the same car as Jo Siffert, and I want to wear the same suit as him.”
There was another important – and more formal – link between Porsche and Heuer, or more precisely, TAG Heuer, the name assumed by the Swiss watch brand when it was sold to the TAG Group in the mid-1980s. Together, the brands developed and produced the TAG-Turbo engine that enabled the McLaren team to win three consecutive F1 world titles: with Niki Lauda in 1984, followed by Alain Prost in 1985 and 1986.
In 1999, the relationship grew even stronger – from the Porsche Carrera Cup and Supercup competitions, followed by the Endurance World Championship and more was yet to come. TAG Heuer, as a founding partner of the Formula E championship, helped raise the profile of thrilling single-seater races in electric cars. Porsche created its own Formula E team with TAG Heuer as title and timing partner in 2019, marking a starting point for an even more powerful and far-reaching collaboration. And in 2021, that “beautiful friendship” has become a holistic official brand partnership, celebrated by a special-edition timepiece that proclaims proudly, “It was worth the wait!”.
Motorsports: continuing the legacy
The foundations of the long, strong link between TAG Heuer and Porsche are world-class motorsports and it is fitting that in the years to come, these thrilling competitions will be at the very heart of the new partnership.
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team made history in its debut season. It set a milestone at the opener in Diriyah (SA) in November 2019, when André Lotterer crossed the finish line in second place: that was the first time a rookie team finished on a podium in its first race since the maiden season in 2014/2015. In its second year, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will not only continue to attract new fans to a circuit that pits all-electric cars against each other, but also fight for the World Championship. Behind the wheel of Porsche’s latest all-electric racecar, the 99X Electric, will be drivers André Lotterer and his new teammate, Pascal Wehrlein.
Porsche has long distinguished itself in endurance events and together with TAG Heuer its GT Team is well prepared for the coming FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The milestone year will also include series partnerships in ten editions of the the worldwide one-make cup series Porsche Carrera Cup.
In addition to physical competitions, TAG Heuer also engages in virtual racing by supporting the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. With such a rich common heritage on the track, TAG Heuer is naturally stepping in as global partner in Porsche’s ‘classic’ events and rallies as well.
One team, on the green and on the court
Beyond the broad-based partnership in motorsports and esports, TAG Heuer and Porsche also share a passion for two other popular activities, golf and tennis. Golf has been a focal point of the TAG Heuer Connected watch developments in recent years, with the TAG Heuer Golf app offering a best-in-class experience to hundreds of thousands of players. Porsche for its part is running its own golf activities like the Porsche Golf Cup, and is sponsor of the Porsche European Open golf tournament since 2015, both of which TAG Heuer will join.
Porsche’s support of tennis includes its own tournament, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, of which TAG Heuer will be the Official Timing, Watch and Chronograph partner moving forward and which features some of the most talented women in the game. This comes of TAG Heuer’s already prominent on-court presence and via partnerships with world class tennis players. Joining forces in these sports as well was the obvious next step for both companies.
For the competitor in all of us
TAG Heuer and Porsche know that their clients and fans are not simply observers. They are everyday thrill seekers who are eager to take on new challenges and make their own marks. They believe that beautifully-designed objects should not be locked in a safe or stored in a garage but should be used, put to the test, and enjoyed. For precisely these enthusiasts TAG Heuer and Porsche are creating unforgettable moments through the different Porsche experience formats.
Click here for more information on the collaboration.