America made space – and timekeeping – history in 1962 when the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon. While Neil Armstrong was first to set foot on the moon, he left his Omega Speedmaster inside the lunar module. That made Buzz Aldrin the second man to walk on the moon but the first to wear the Speedmaster on the lunar surface (silver lining, right?).
Since then, the famed “moonwatch” has attained iconic status, and the brand has certainly capitalized on its association with space. But with the space race heating up again – this time to conquer the “red planet”– what will be the next “Marswatch”?
If Jean-Claude Biver has anything to say about it, the first watch to be worn on Mars will be a TAG Heuer timepiece.
At a press conference yesterday in Beijin, China, the brand CEO and President of the LVMH Watch Division was accompanied by the brass of the Chinese government to announce the official partnership between the watchmaker and China’s Mars Exploration Program.
Earlier this year it was announced that an unmanned probe to Mars will be sent to orbit and land on the red planet. Scheduled to launch in 2020, the ambitious program aims to explore the topography, soil, environment, and atmosphere of Mars.
The partnership also continues TAG Heuer’s space credentials. Thanks to Omega’s achievements in 1962, many of us forget that astronaut John Glenn took with him a stopwatch manufactured by TAG Heuer during the first manned US orbital flight, before the moon landing. The stopwatch was selected by NASA because it could withstand the high G-forces of lift-off, unlike others that tried and failed before.
Of course, for a Tag Heuer watch to be worn on Mars - or for Mr. Biver to get there himself - we’ll need to wait for a manned mission first. While this is one small step for TAG Heuer, it might just be a giant leap for the brand’s conquest of the Asian market.