< CEO speak >
As the iconic Carrera celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it was the perfect time for Mitrajit Bhattacharya to catch up with Jean-Christophe Babin, President and CEO of TAG Heuer
Could you tell us the idea and the spirit behind the exhibition?
The idea is to celebrate the most iconic TAG Heuer timepiece, the Carrera series, born in 1963 from the mind of Jack Heuer, our honourary chairman. Also, we have the desire to express beyond the direct sport inspiration. A very minimalist simple, timeless and unique product. I mean, the Carrera 50 years is very close in dial design to the very first Carrera. You have elements which you can see in both, the design and architecture of the C70s or its essential shapes.
You have the car inspiration because it’s like a dashboard. There is a tachymeter scale inside for the performance, the precision, the readability, and you have those very neat and simple indexes, which you can compare to some architectural curves and symbol. I mean, what was done in the 60s and 70s. It’s to put the product in a context.
Do you have different products for different decades?
No, no because Carrera was born in 60s, Monaco in the 70s and the Aquaracer in 1979. We decided in the early 2000 to focus only on five because they have probably got history better than others and the Carrera was one of those five. The Carrera has very limited business as it was mostly a replica.
Moving on to the other range, what do you have new to offer beyond the Carrera?
Carrera was reborn in the early 2000 from a replica to a full collection and became a pillar. To power that collection, initially we used a calibre from ETA. The new Carrera we present here are powered by calibre 1887. The Jack Heuer Calibre 1887 Chronograph (Ref. CAR2C11) combines the bullhead Chronograph layout of the sensational 2012 Mikrogirder and several key design elements of the 80th Birthday Jack Heuer Carrera. The idea being in the midterm to be 100% TAG Heuer-powered as we ramp up our production. We will add a second calibre this year beside the 1887, which we internally call 1888.
Which is your favourite baby now?
The Mikrogirder 10000, which won the Geneva watchmaking Grand Prix. With Mikrotourbillon, the said piece epitomises the mix of technology and design. The Mikrogirder was more awarded because of the technology. though the design was extraordinary but no one mentioned it. So, we thought it was fair to pay tribute to the design with another piece, which is the Carrera 50 years, which borrows the Mikrogirder’s asymmetric design. It’s not a Mikrogirder but like the Mikrogirder, it
has an in-house movement and has a dial which reminds you of the first Carrera designed by Jack Heuer. It’s made from Carbon Matrix Composite and not carbon fiber, which uses epoxy as a bind. Epoxy yellows over time. Plus epoxy is allergenic. We have used polyamide which is a nylon instead of epoxy, and this process comes straight from the belts of the V4 because we have a mould for the V4 belt and the binder to make the V4 belts is polyamide. Polyamide has the advantage not to yellow over time and is hypoallergenic.
Babin is now the CEO of Bulgari