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Keeping up with time

india Updated: Dec 05, 2009 20:18 IST
Vinod Nair

Tag Heuer, the Swiss luxury watchmaker, celebrated its 150 years in London this week.

In India it is known for its brand ambassador, actor Shah Rukh Khan. The celebrations were a mix of emotions, with Honorary chairman Jack Heuer rejoicing the fact that the watch brand his great grandfather Edward Heuer started is now the favourite of many around the world. Asked how he felt when the brand was sold to French luxury conglomerate Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH) during the 80s, Heuer said for almost 20 years that followed, he abstained from anything associated with watches.

However, he was happy that the brand grew from strength-to-strength under the leadership of its CEO Jean-Christophe Babin and he came back as the honorary chairman when Jean-Christophe (whom he described fondly as the “fifth generation of the Heuer family”) invited him to take over the current position.

Part of the celebration was held at the McLaren Formula 1 automotive facility in Surrey, England where a toast was raised to 25 years of association between Tag Heuer and McLaren. On the occasion, Tag Heuer also extended its 25-year partnership deal with McLaren, while launching its limited edition Silverstone model that was originally introduced in 1974. Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton was present at the evening.

The latest iteration of the Silverstone features the brand’s original ‘Heuer’ logo, flanked on the dial by two silver counters at 3 and 9 o’clock. Stainless steel pushbuttons at 2 and 4 o’clock, a hand-applied date window at 6 o’clock and curved, sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment complete the watch’s look.I was told that originally Silverstone was used as bomber base during WW II. The Silverstone Circuit is a world-renowned racing track located in the English village of the same name. Best known as the British Grand Prix, which it first hosted in 1948, the circuit two years later saw the opening race of the first-ever FIA Formula One World Championship. Today, Silverstone remains one of the most challenging tracks.

Tag Heuer, I always thought was seen as a masculine watch, but Jack Heuer wouldn’t agree with me. He said laughing, “These days ladies like nice, big watches in their hands. So, I don’t think it’s a masculine brand any more!” I guess I have to agree with him on that.