by Kyle Stults on May 31, 2011
The 100th Indy 500 race was this past weekend, marking a major milestone for the race that has become an icon of American sports culture. While it was Jorg Gray ambassador and driver Alex Tagliani who started the race from the coveted “Pole Position”, it was Team Bryan Herta Autosport driver Dan Wheldon who took the checkered flag. In addition to his $2.6 million cash prize for winning the Indy 500 race, Wheldon was also presented with a limited edition TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 Centennial Chronograph (pictured below), the “Official Watch of the Indy 500.” And now you too can own this watch — the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 Centennial Chronograph watch is available at Tourneau and other TAG Heuer dealers with list price of $1,650. Not a bad looking watch!
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 Centennial Chronograph
Limited edition of 1,000 (individually numbered)
44mm stainless steel case, fixed polished bezel, 200 meter water resistance, brushed steel bracelet
dial: “brickyard” pattern, Indy 500 Cenennial logo
by Kyle Stults on May 30, 2011
Let the Only Watch 2011 Charity Auction Previews begin! The TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph is a very special watch featuring two of the very best elements of TAG Heuer. First is the “Monaco” watch design, a square case style with a strong racing heritage that TAG Heuer has so strongly revived in recent years. Second compelling element is the use of TAG Heuer’s new “Mikrograph” movement, the first movement capable of 1/100th second accuracy — an amazing feat for a mechanical watch. As of right now, this makes the one-and-only TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph the only other watch to use the new Mikrograph movement — the first being the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph which was introduced a couple months ago at Baselworld 2011. Yes, it’s a pretty busy dial (see our sub-dial break-down bel0w), but I think this adds to the awesomeness of the watch.
TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph Watch for ONLY WATCH 2011
43mm steel case, “Only Watch 2011″ engraved rotor (see-through display back)
The complications of the chronograph, as described by Calibre 11, are as follows:
Image: Calibre 11
- 12 o’clock sub-dial: The Chronograph power reserve
- 3 o’clock sub-dial: Chronograph elapsed minutes with three hands (0/10/20) mounted on a rotating disc (in the photo above, 25 minutes have elapsed)
- 9 o’clock sub-dial: Watch elapsed seconds with three hands (0/20/40) mounted on a rotating disc (in the photo above, almost 50 seconds have elapsed)
- 6 0′clock sub-dial: Chronograph elapsed seconds (with a double-ended needle showing 0-30 seconds on the outer counter/ large needle and 31-60 seconds on the inner counter/ small needle)
- The flying central hand (with the open circle) indicates the 100th of a second which is read off the inner sapphire disc that reads 0-100. At the other end of the Flying central hand is a “/100″ engraving is laser-cut by hand
“Only Watch” is a biennial charity auction of one-of-a-kind watches created by many of the most renowned watch brands in Switzerland. This exceptional event is held every two years in Monaco during the Monaco Yacht Show and is under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II. All the proceeds from Only Watch go to support Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research which is why many of these watches go extraordinarily high prices.
Starting today Perpetuelle will begin its coverage of Only Watch 2011. Stay tuned in because over the next few months, you will get to see awesome “piece unique” watches from each of the participating brands for the 2011 event:
Click through to see our in-depth preview of each watch:
- Harry Winston Midnight GMT Tourbillon
- Patek Philippe Ref 3939A Minute Repeater
- Urwerk UR-103 “Phoenix”
- Romain Jerome “Rock the Rock”
- Hublot Oceanographic 4000m dive watch
- MB&F HM-4 “Flying Panda”
- TAG Heuer “Monaco Mikrograph”
- Bell & Ross Pink Gold “Casino”
- Louis Vuitton Tambour Diver Chronograph
- Blancpain Villeret Grand Decoration
- Piaget Altiplano Skeleton
- Breguet Reveil Musical Watch
- Audemars Piguet Gstaad Classic
- Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute
- Van Cleef & Arpel “From the Earth to the Moon” Watch
- Girard-Perregaux ww.TC
- Corum Golden Bridge Automatic Titanium
- Vulcain Anniversary Heart Watch
- Chanel J12 Marine Watch
- Franck Muller “Totally Switzerland”
- Ulysse Nardin Freak Diavolo
- Vacheron Constantin “Dove” Watch (M.C. Escher-inspired)
- Zenith El Primero “Destro” watches
- Montblanc Villeret 1858 Pulsograph
- Ikepod Red Hourglass by Marc Newson
- Bovet Fleurier, Celsius, Chaumet, Chopard, De Bethune, Delacour, De Witt, Frédérique Constant, Hermès, Laurent Ferrier, Maurice Lacroix, Richard Mille
Only Watch 2011 will be held September 24, 2011 and managed by watch auction house Antiquorum. But you don’t have to wait this long — because part of the excitement leading up to the September 24, 2011 event is the release of each participating brand’s special edition watch.
ONLY WATCH 2009
If you are interested in looking back, I covered the Only Watch 2009 auction extensively including blogging about several of my favorites inlcluding: Piaget Emperador Coussin, MB&F Sage Vaughn HM-2, Bovet 3-in-1 Mona Lisa Watch, Tourneau Jump Hour, Louis Vuitton Tambour, Chanel J12 Joallerie with pink sapphire, and Blancpain 500 Fathoms. The Only Watch 2009 auction was hosted by Patrizzi & Co.
New for 2011, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 “Orange” is actually not a new model, but rather a slightly different take on TAG Heuer’s popular Formula 1 series. The Formula 1 collection is TAG Heuer’s “entry level” model — a sporty, but basic watch (quartz movement) — and affordable, too. With an estimated retail price of $1,200, this is about as low as you can go while still getting a watch bearing an iconic brand such as TAG Heuer. The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Orange will hit display cases everywhere in June, available on a rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet, both pictured.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Orange (rubber strap)
On another note — there is now a very interesting dynamic between quartz and mechanical at sub-$1,500 price points, and this watch is a good example. As I see it, above the $1,500 price point the watch consumer can now clearly value mechanical movements over quartz movements, but below this price point it’s not so clear. There seems to be a fierce battle between both types of movements at sub-$1,500 prices — but I think that quartz is slowly but surely but being devalued at higher price points, giving way to watches with mechanical movements. In a few more years, it will be interesting to see the state of the market for watches quartz movements at prices above $1,000. I, for one, see quartz continuing to be de-valued by the consumer, and thus relegated further and further down the value chain. Back where it belongs…hehehe
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Orange (steel bracelet)
TAG Heuer is set to release a series of special edition Monaco models in 2011, the first of which you see here today: the TAG Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Racing (Ref. CAL5112). This square cased watch sports silver and orange dial-tones, with a Calibre 36 automatic mechanical movement that is suspended between four shock-absorbing arms (you can see one in each corner of the case) for added shock absorption and visual appeal. The TAG Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Racing is the first addition to the Monaco Twenty Four series since the striped Monaco Gulf which debuted in 2009. As on the Monaco Gulf, the oversized number “24” at 12 o’clock pays tribute to the LeMans, most famous endurance race in the world. The new TAG Heuer Monaco 24 Racing watch price is near $15,000 and will be sold through TAG Heuer boutiques. Via: Calibre 11, which also has some good “live looks” if you are interested.
Monaco Twenty Four Racing Calibre 36
40.5mm stainless steel case, Calibre 36 movement (El Primero base)
Baselworld 2011 – Looking beyond all the hype of TAG Heuer’s awesome new Mikrotimer Flying 1000 concept watch, TAG Heuer has also unveiled several new production models worthy of a closer look. My favorite of the new TAG Heuer Carrera Heritage line is the a cleanly dialed watch you see below which sports bold blue dial numerals and a nice looking blue alligator strap. There are several variations, also shown below, courtesy of TAG enthusiast blog Calibre 11 which has a very thorough overview of these solid new offerings from TAG Heuer if you are interested in more of the backstory.
TAG Heuer Carrera Heritage Caliber 6
39mm stainless steel case, silver dial with blue numbers and hands, automatic mechanical Caliber 6 movement (ETA 2895-1 base) on stainless steel bracelet or luxurious blue alligator strap
Photo: Calibre 11. Shown on the metal bracelet
2011 TAG Heuer Carrera Heritage Automatic Collection
by Kyle Stults on March 23, 2011
Team TAG Heuer just pulled off a flawless webcast live from Basel, Switzerland. Great job everyone involved — your highly synchronized efforts across press conference, social media (Facebook, Twitter) and blogger outreach has been simply superb and well received. TAG used the event to announce an amazing new concept watch — the TAG Heuer MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 Concept chronograph. I’m glad to give you an up close first look at this incredible watch, accurate to 1/1000 of a second! Full TAG Heuer press release is here, on the TAG Heuer Feed in our Official Baselworld 2011 Forum. One thing I want to reiterate — this is a CONCEPT watch — meaning that the piece you see here is very likely one-of-a-kind with many of its specs/details are likely to be fine-tuned. I’ll keep you posted with new det’s as I get them.
TAG Heuer MIKROTIMER Flying 1000 Concept chronograph
45mm titanium carbide coated case, titanium carbide coated pushbuttons
Tag Heuer Mikrotimer Flying 1000 concept manual chronograph movement (3,600,000 beats per hour)
LIVE from Basel, Switzerland: TAG Heuer announces a game-changing new concept in very high-frequency chronograph technology at BaselWorld 2011 with interactive online press conference. Tune-in here at 1:45 PM TODAY to watch our livecast of the event:
Check out the new Tag Heuer Carrera Mikrograph which was just unveiled by Calibre11, a leading blog dedicated solely to the brand. I must say I am pretty excited about this watch. To see it on the screen is one thing — it looks awesome — but to see it in action will be another! Reason is that the watch measures time to 1/100th of a second — via the main seconds hand (blue). This means that the blue hand makes its way around the dial one time per second – and showing you time elapsed to the nearest 1/100th quickly and easily. It’s almost like having a stopwatch on your wrist! Very cool. Also interesting is that there appear to be 2 balance wheels in the movement — don’t think I have ever seen that before! Stay tuned for more details and price…. The Carrera Mikrograph will be priced at a whopping $50,000 per piece.
Tag Heuer Carrera Mikrograph
43mm rose gold case, limited edition 150 pieces
note the presence of 2 balance wheels
60 cookie cutters, 1 counterfeiter…and 1 unclear business strategy…
I don’t know why I’ve been sitting on this article for a couple months now…but since I am on the topic of TAG Heuer this week let’s take a look at an important topic – e-commerce. I first wrote about TAG Heuer’s e-commerce initiatives about 2 years ago (see: Tag Heuer opens to online sales – a controversial move by a leading watch brand? December 20, 2008), followed by a more extensive article noting expansion of the initiative (see: TAG Heuer Quietly Expands Authorized E-Commerce Initiative Aug 18, 2009). Lo and behold, since 2008 TAG Heuer has aggressively but quietly ramped up its the e-commerce platform from the initial 2 e-tailers to a current count of 60, (yes 60!) Authorized E-tailers.
Now at least TAG Heuer is trying to figure out how to make the Internet work with what is actually a very big and industry-wide problem — that is, an entrenched and geographically defined network of Authorized Retailers that is seemingly incompatible with a territory which has no walls and knows no boundaries…aka the Internet. But…like its doomed-from-the-start Meridiist mobile phone and its insanely over-priced “luxury” flash drives, I think that TAG Heuer’s “Authorized e-tail” strategy reflects a poor understanding of the e-commerce channel. So I decided to give the situation some greater scrutiny…
While on the one hand I give credit to TAG Heuer for being one of the more forward-thinking brands when it comes to the Internet – particularly for a brand of its size and stature – on the other hand I have to say “What the hell is TAG Heuer thinking with its e-commerce strategy?”
First, a quick look at what is known about TAG Heuer’s e-commerce strategy. Basically, TAG Heuer allows some of its Authorized Retailers to set up storefronts on a Tag Heuer-hosted domain (tagheuershop.com). Each “Authorized E-tailer” website is identical except for the swap out of the the name. Note also these storefronts are separate and distinct from (ie not seamless with) the dealer’s normal website, although in some cases Tag Heuer is *generous* enough to place a small dealer logo in the lower-right-hand corner of the page which links back to the dealer’s primary website. You can click on any one of the 60 Authorized E-Tailers here on TAG Heuer’s website and see for yourself what I am talking about.
Is a generic “one-size-fits-all” approach the answer for a luxury sales channel?
TAG Heuer’s unwillingness to relinquish any sort of marketing control to its dealers (by forcing them all to adopt a Tag Heuer hosted website) is a bit control-freakish but not uncommon in the luxury watch industry. Most watch brands simply are not comfortable relinquishing control of the sales experience, online or off. But this cookie-cutter approach is just awful. Why does Tag Heuer need a new subdomain for each dealer? They are, after all, nothing but a bunch of identical storefronts housed under the same domain and offering the same products at the same price (control your excitement, please). Why not just own up to reality and just have 1 tagheuershop.com and allow all dealers to re-direct to it and receive the lead-gen fee and/or share the commission? Particularly if TAG Heuer is handling order processing and fulfillment (which I don’t know for sure).
Overall, I get the impression that Tag Heuer is treating its Authorized Dealers like 3rd graders with this whole “authorized e-tailer” cookie-cutter approach. As a consumer, I am 100% indifferent as to which of the 60 e-tailers I would choose to purchase from — there is absolutely no differentiation across these sites, so what is the point?
Not to mention that gray marketers are now unabashedly ripping-off TAG Heuer’s own storefront designs. Which is ironic because the gray market is one set of dealers that Tag Heuer probably wanted to help diminish by implementing such an e-commerce strategy. The one clone site (that I know of) has 100% ripped off TAG Heuer — the site looks virtually identical to the TAG Heuer e-shop, including rotating “Authorized TAG Heuer E-Commerce” logo, but on the FAQs page the company clearly states that it is not an authorized Tag Heuer dealer. The other difference is that it is offering prices that are lower to any of those found on the official Tag Heuer e-shops. Interestingly, the site may have been taken down since I first drafted this article a couple months ago – I tried accessing it this morning but it would not load (I’m not going to give them unwarranted publicity by listing the URL). But I did take a screen shot (see below)!! Even if this particular site was taken down, knock-offs can pop up like weeds, which forces TAG Heuer to run around the Internet playing whack-a-mole.
Grey market dealer has ripped off the design of tagheuershop.com – including the “Authorized E-Commerce” logo. Note too, the gray-market DISCOUNTS being offered:
In summary, I just don’t see the logic behind Tag Heuer’s strategy here. It comes off as a weak, half-a** effort that a deep-pocketed sales and marketing powerhouse like TAG Heuer should be ashamed of. Of course I am willing to hear an explanation if TAG Heuer is willing to offer one, but if history is a guide they will stay hiding under their desks.
Maybe they should take some notes from brand such as Bell & Ross, Cartier and others. While the e-commerce platforms of these brands are not perfect, they are leaps and bounds ahead of what TAG Heuer is doing.
Well, that’s all I have to say for now. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you are an authorized dealer (Tag Heuer or otherwise) — I’d also love to hear your perspective on the topic. Comment below, anonymously if you prefer.
Also, I recommend some more good reading on the topic over at my watch friend Ariel Adam’s blog, here.
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