In watchmaking, careers can nonetheless span many years, and we’re not even speaking about households that personal their very own manufacturers. Engravers and sprucing specialists is likely to be at manufactures or specialised producers for upwards of 20 years. This implies that for nevertheless lengthy you personal a specific watch, the individuals who labored on that piece is likely to be with you for the size of your individual journey with that watch. This is a little bit of a romanticised notion, to make sure, nevertheless it additionally applies to the front-office of us, and generally even the highest brass. Even if they don’t seem to be on the similar firms, or in the identical roles, as if you first meet or hear of them, there’s a good probability that they are going to stay within the trade for his or her complete careers.
We select to start this story about TAG Heuer Designer in Chief Guy Bove this fashion as a result of we first met him in 2006, when he was Georges Kern’s chief designer at IWC. As now we have famous earlier than, his design for tonneau-tortue Da Vinci stays one among our favourites. Over the years, he moved from IWC to Chopard, after which to Breitling with Kern once more, after which lastly to TAG Heuer. Despite the various acquainted faces one encounters within the area of interest watchmaking commerce, few relationships graduate to the extent of friendship. For this motive, I’ll dispense with our ordinary apply of sustaining third-party voice. It could be disingenuous to take action anyway.
Guy Bove is actually a good friend, and we felt this most keenly at Watches and Wonders Geneva, the place we met once more after years of pandemic-enforced distance. Time is often tight at such gala’s, and I perceive after a few years that I’m nobody’s precedence however the advertising and marketing and communications departments. Despite this, Bove actually made a whole lot of time for me, for which I’m grateful, and delivered some off the document feedback, which I’m sorry to exclude. I’ll say that he’s a grasp of utilizing bodily communication to convey sure factors, such that you’d by no means be capable to quote him anyway. To that, I say well-played sir!
At TAG Heuer, Bove has been busy, touching nearly all the things within the present assortment, as he says. This after all doesn’t imply he’s accountable for each current TAG Heuer design, however relatively that he has been coming to grips with all the things within the model’s grand design story. If you wish to know what his design imaginative and prescient is at TAG Heuer, you want solely look to the current Aquaracer timepieces, which he himself declared is totally modified, but the thoughts’s eye might not register any revolution right here; Bove asserts that when you have a look at the brand new Aquaracer and the 2015 model side-by-side, the variations are apparent, and that’s only a reality. When you look fastidiously, there are many refined variations between the present 43mm mannequin and the previous one, which helps to clarify why the watches put on so otherwise.
I realise I’ve not stated a lot but about Bove and that’s as a result of the interview runs fairly lengthy. It has already been edited for readability in addition to to take away banter… all the same old belongings you may say between mates, which I’ll spare you, pricey reader. I’ve additionally reduce out the questions, all to have more room for Bove’s solutions. That stated, from my biased place, I characterise Bove as a creator of nice integrity. As you’ll uncover, he doesn’t merely wander into any given assortment trying to make his mark all over the place. At similar time, maybe quixotically, he’s additionally not too eager on the pattern in direction of up to date reissues. You can see this for your self within the TAG Heuer Tribute to Reference 844, which we spent a whole lot of time analyzing in difficulty #61 final 12 months. There are some ways to make a industrial success of such a watch, however Bove proposed this one, which is suitable provided that TAG Heuer means to look ahead relatively than backwards, making an attempt to recapture glory days.
On that be aware, we are going to depart it to Bove to take the present ahead, with a nod in direction of our personal particular focus this difficulty.
On innovation, sustainability and the joint improvement with La Joux Perret for the Aquaracer Solargraph…
The watch has all of the benefit of quartz, with out the disadvantages (of the identical). You don’t have to fret a few battery. You don’t need to open the seals to vary the battery. You don’t have to the touch the look ahead to years and also you don’t have to consider, is the battery going to be dead? You simply expose the Solargraph to daylight for 10 seconds and it’ll begin operating, and two minutes of publicity can have it operating for your entire day (the TH50-00 motion will get a full cost on publicity to daylight for lower than 24 hours, though virtually talking meaning you’ll have to omit in daylight for a few days – Ed). What’s cool in regards to the watch is that when you take it off and set it apart, it’s going to maintain ticking for six months. That’s actual innovation, and this is a vital a part of TAG Heuer’s historical past, and nonetheless is immediately. We wish to maintain innovating on quartz watches as a result of it’s a enormous phase for us. Right now, we’re focussed on the innovation message with this watch, however you might be proper to counsel that that is additionally about sustainability – you don’t need to take care of batteries, throw away batteries, mine extra minerals to make extra batteries…it’s nice!
On the Aquaracer assortment typically…
There are some actually good issues about (historic) Aquaracers, and we didn’t wish to change that an excessive amount of, however we did do a whole lot of work nonetheless, on the case. If you, have a look at it from the aspect, when you evaluate it with the earlier (2015) mannequin, the horns are a lot shorter and steeper. We additionally added the aspect from the unique 844, which redefines the view of the watch (in profile). I feel it appears to be like like a really dynamic sports activities watch. We additionally performed rather a lot with the proportions to get it to suit proper on the wrist…when you look to the Superdiver (above), I feel this is likely one of the slimmest skilled water resistant to 1,000 metre dive watches (in manufacturing immediately). With this mannequin specifically, which is 45mm, we tried exhausting to make it match correctly on a human wrist! With the Aquaracer 200, we’re speaking about human powered actions (versus motorsports in different ranges) exterior the water too. So, I don’t know what you do throughout your lunch break, however say you go snowboarding, or mountain climbing. You can put on the Aquaracer 200 as a result of it’s robust sufficient to go in your journey, after which match again beneath the cuff of your shirt if you get again to work.
On the Monaco Gulf…
Well, you possibly can see that we haven’t achieved an entire redesign right here — this can be a restricted version adaptation. I feel (for us) the query was how will we adapt the Gulf to the Monaco; when you contemplate simply the geometry of (the Monaco Gulf) it’s the similar as now we have in our present vary. Then once more, when you actually have a look at it, it’s fairly a special beast. We needed to determine what makes the Monaco tick — sorry for the pun! It’s the interaction between circles and squares and also you see it on the dial, however you additionally see it on the aspect of the case the place there’s a round arch in an oblong form. We have additionally used the sq. chronograph counters, with the sunshine blue and orange colors, which anybody who’s not blind can see. We have the navy blue on the dial, the place it’s sunray-brushed within the centre circle and flat within the sq. exterior — Gulf additionally used navy blue apart from the sunshine blue. It doesn’t cease there… on the dial at 12 o’clock now we have the 60 as a substitute of the hour markers (typical for the Monaco) and the colors proceed onto the strap, and the motion the place the column wheel can also be orange. It is a real collaboration between us and Gulf.
On the problem of working with iconic designs…
When you get your palms on an icon (just like the Monaco but additionally the Aquaracer), there are a couple of methods you possibly can have a look at the mental problem. You can say out with the previous, in with the brand new; you possibly can say we’re afraid to the touch that — let’s not do an excessive amount of there; or you possibly can ask what the individuals who labored on the model at the moment have been making an attempt to say after they created the watch, initially. I like that final one. Most of the time, you possibly can’t ask the precise individuals who labored on the watch as a result of they’re lengthy gone, however Jack (Heuer) remains to be round. For him, it was all about legibility.
With some watches, you possibly can see that they (no matter model it’s) went very far — possibly too far — and altered rather a lot. Other instances, you possibly can inform that they have been afraid to the touch something. For us, it begins with a query (as I stated). It is admittedly about understanding what TAG Heuer was making an attempt to do at any given time. With the Aquaracer for instance, there’s a whole lot of good things within the 2015 model, however on the similar time, the model is transferring in a special path now, so we needed to ask how we are able to transfer the watch within the path the model goes.
On the Carrera Plasma…
What’s humorous about this watch is the automotive connection. You know the way automotive firms ship camouflaged prototypes onto racetracks for testing? That camouflage is the inspiration. What’s totally different is that now we have used diamonds for the camouflage, which you see much less typically in automobiles… We additionally needed to push boundaries right here, and make a present of pressure about what may very well be achieved with rising diamonds, slicing them, and getting them to suit onto circumstances very exactly. You see that a few of the diamonds are set into the case in such a method that a couple of face reveals, which implies further complexity when it comes to doing the sides. Then there’s the polycrystalline diamond dial, which is a form of panda dial, which has by no means been achieved earlier than in black and white diamond; the entire thing is a single piece. The concept was not so deep as to reference asphalt or F1 tires, as you thought (I assumed each the case and dial had racing concepts behind them – Ed). The crown is a single diamond, and right here we had two questions: one was might this even be achieved, and the way wouldn’t it be connected to the watch. (Obviously), we did it, and the little protect your see within the diamond crown is how it’s linked to the motion.
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