Q&A: Jean-Claude Biver on the hurdles of making an affordable tourbillion

Just six months after the release of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01- the backbone of a new collection of elegant and contemporary manufacture chronographs- comes the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T, a COSC-certified automatic chronograph combined with a titanium and carbon flying tourbillon. WatchPro caught up with CEO Jean-Claude Biver at Baselworld to get the lowdown.  

When and why did you decide you wanted to make an affordable tourbillon?

‎TAG Heuer has always been since 1860 a Swiss Avant Garde Luxury Watch Brand, with a very high perceived value and what can be called an accessible price level. Independently of the price segment, whether it is a 2’000 CHF watch or a 20’000 CHF watch, the perceived price must always be at least 4 times higher. Since we have build our industrial independency and being able to produce any movement, watch case or dial, we thought it would be interesting to start building our own tourbillon movements. But should we do this, the condition would be to present a tourbillon watch which perceived value would be 4 times higher than the retail price.

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Was there a price threshold you wanted to hit?

Yes, we wanted to have a perceived value between 40’000 CHF and 60’000 CHF, which would request a retail price between 10’000 CHF and 15’0000 CHF.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T

Obviously you can’t mess with the fundamental structure of a tourbillon so how did you go about making savings?

We did not do any special savings, but from the first design of the movement to its production and requested tools, everything has been conceived, developed, planed, tooled and produced in order to achieve such a perceived value. I think that it might well be the first time a Swiss watch brand starts a tourbillon project with such a goal and such a concept.

Why was achieving COSC certification important?

It was important to show that contrary to what people can believe, TAG Heuer has not built a cheap version of a tourbillon or has done special savings while building the movement. The best way to convince people about this was to achieve the impossible bet: make it the first and unique chronograph tourbillon automatique certified COSC Chronometrer.

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One Comment;

  1. Chinese Swiss said:

    He forgot to say “we supply most of components in China”.

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