Is TAG Heuer The Greatest Sports Watch Brand?

Let’s ask a provocative question: ‘Is TAG Heuer the Greatest Sports Watch brand?’

When you consider the different styles of high-end watches, you can broadly divide them into two groups: dress watches and sports watches. If we’re going to assess what makes a great sports watch, we need to establish some reasonable criteria – the features that I believe a true sports watch should have are precision, functionality, style and tradition.

The first element of a sports watch has to be precision. It’s hard to think of a single sport that is not defined by time, whether it be the amount of time a diver can spend under water, the fractions of a second separating two Formula 1 cars, or the timing of a Football game (Yes, [TAG] Heuer made a Football timer).

Over its history, TAG Heuer has been at the forefront of precision timing, from providing the revolutionary 1/ 100th second Mikrotimer stopwatch to the Olympic Games in the early 1900s, to the style of the original Carrera Chronograph, a design inspired by the dashboard of a racing car. And then there are the sports that require specialist timing, such as the Regatta function on the 2013 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m Calibre 72.

The second feature is water resistance. While this is obvious for yachting and diving, it’s also a necessity for other sports-orientated Chronographs. When Jack Heuer wanted to make a big splash to announce his new Calibre 11 movement back in 1969, he chose to showcase the new movement in the revolutionary Heuer Monaco, the world’s first square-case watch that was waterproof. The design of the 1969 Monaco lives on today in the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12, which faithfully pays homage to that classic design. Water resistance was vital for Chronographs, because their complexity meant that the cost of repairing any water damage was prohibitively expensive and often meant replacing the entire watch. For this reason, all Heuer Chronographs from the 1970s through to today’s TAG Heuer range are water resistent, even if they will never go beyond the swimming pool.

Style is also a key feature of a sports watch. While the priorities in a dress watch tend to focus on elegance and sophistication, a sports watch are typically bolder in style and have the dual purpose of needing to be highly functional as well as still looking good with a suit. The TAG Heuer watch that achieves this the best for me is the Carrera 1887 Chronograph.

Like the original Carrera of 1963, today’s model features both a Chronograph (effectively, a stop watch feature) and a tachymetre scale (used to measure speed), but contained in a beautifully polished stainless steel case.

The last feature to look for is tradition. Why? Well, because tradition is a crucial reason why we love sport, whether that means following the same Football team as your Grandfather and father, or arguing all day about who was the better driver, Schumacher or Senna (the answer is Senna, by the way). And when it comes to sports tradition, few brands can match TAG Heuer. Drivers such as Jo Siffert, Mario Andretti, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, Lewis Hamilton and Gilles Villeneuve all proudly wore their [TAG] Heuer watches.

So, let’s go back to the original question: “Is TAG Heuer the Greatest Sports Watch brand?”. It’s a question to which TAG Heuer owners already know the answer.