TAG Heuer Dial 911 for Porsche
TAG Heuer and Porsche, who celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911 Carrera in Paris earlier this month, are in for the long haul
The entire Arnault family was out and about Place Vendôme, at the first in-person event under the partnership, announced in 2021, between Porsche and TAG Heuer. Joining TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault were his father Bernard Arnault (founder and chairman of LVMH) as well as brothers Alexandre Arnault (executive vice president of product and communications at Tiffany & Co.), Antoine Arnault (CEO of Berluti and chairman of Loro Piana) and Jean Arnault (marketing and product development director at Louis Vuitton Horlogerie). An indication of how important this collaboration is to both partners.
The time and place of the event were also significant: half a century to the day since the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 made its debut at the Paris Motor Show, on October 5, 1972. The French capital is also where LVMH, which owns TAG Heuer, has its head office. As Frédéric Arnault pointed out, “a lot of people think the partnership between our two legendary brands goes back decades when it actually dates from last year, even though we’ve crossed paths many times in the past. The timing and the people made the difference. TAG Heuer has strong ties with motor sports and motor racing, and Porsche was the obvious partner with which to continue in this direction. When I arrived at the brand, I contacted Detlev von Platen, executive board member for sales and marketing at Porsche. We talked a lot, so did our teams, and we shook hands.” The same Detlev von Platen added, “Both our companies, individually, had the same inspiration at the same time, fifty years ago. Originally Carrera was the name of the engine, then the race we won in 1954. The first 911 to be given the Carrera name appeared in 1972.” Meanwhile, as early as the 1960s, Heuer was sponsoring Porsche for certain races.
Frédéric Arnault & Detlev Von Platen © TAG Heuer
A 360° collaboration
Now hundreds of people around the world are collaborating on the project. “Connections came about naturally between sales, the designers and the engineers in the markets,” said Frédéric Arnault. “From the outset, we wanted this to be a 360° collaboration. This is our fourth watch together since last year, targeting a different audience each time, and we have a roadmap for at least the next three years. Projects will include collabs on movements, of course, but also for the cars. Porsche has teamed up with TAG in the past for its engines, so it’s part of our history. We’re also collaborating in Formula E, tennis and golf.” Proving that the two executives are on a wavelength, Detlev von Platen added: “We both cultivate innovation, quality and technology. We’re moving forward together on numerous projects, whether for connected watches or engines. In fact our engineers are working together on the software inside the cars and the watches. We’ve integrated information on temperature, battery and weight, and will be adding options relative to motor racing. And why bother with a key when you have a watch?”
What clearly appears to be a meeting of minds as far as products and services go extends into a more existential arena, according to Detlev von Platen: “Contemporary luxury is changing. Quality and innovation are as vital as ever but customers are also seeking out brands with an attitude and a community they can identify with. Modern luxury isn’t something you buy. It’s something you want to be a part of. This is particularly true for Gen Z and indeed we’re seeing huge interest in TAG Heuer among this generation, particularly in terms of experience, creativity and inspiration. Ultimately our two companies share the same dynamic, the same DNA, and can stimulate each other. The brand is a promise that we intend to keep.” Listening to von Platen, it’s clear how much he relishes working with people as enthusiastic and passionate as the teams at TAG Heuer to create fabulous products.
Porsche RS 2.7 © Brice Lechevalier / WorldTempus
Design and history
Maria Laffont, TAG Heuer’s vice president of design and product, explained how the collaboration with her opposite number at Porsche works: “We sit down together and look at the story we want to tell, which can be a product launch or an anniversary, for example. Next we study the design. We develop a three-year view to ensure the products are coherent over time and also coherent with the regular collection. It will always be the TAG Heuer Carrera, in a more sports or more classic version depending on the limited edition.” Laffont explained how she also consults regularly with TAG Heuer’s heritage director, Nicholas Biebuyck, “so we can understand the origins and respect heritage, authenticity. Continuity is vital.” For the new Carrera chronograph, for example, Porsche let on that the most famous colour for the Porsche 911 was, without hesitation, blue. In fact the Porsche 911 Carrera launched in blue and white and red and white versions. As for Nicholas Biebuyck, he pointed out that TAG Heuer released the industry’s first red dial, in 1974. It made perfect sense for these three colours to appear on the two TAG Heuer Carrera limited editions, which integrate multiple design features from the Porsche Carrera. TAG Heuer’s heritage director is adamant: “There is enormous potential with Porsche at every level, across all their lines and every race category.” Does this mean more to come in 2023 at LVMH Watch Week in January or at Watches and Wonders at end March? Watch this space.
Over 150 years of watchmaking savoir-faire and technical innovation have made TAG Heuer a global reference in avant-garde sports watches. As it tracked the rise of sports demanding increasingly precise timekeeping, TAG Heuer continually developed its unique capabilities through a long-term vision of what watchmaking is today, and what it will look like tomorrow.Find out more >
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