TAG Heuer is taking industrial integration further: it is doubling its mechanical chronograph movement manufacturing capacity by building a new site in Chevenez, in the Swiss canton of Jura, which will create 100 jobs and be operational by the end of 2013. The site will produce the in-house Calibre 1887 mechanical chronograph that was launched two years ago, plus a brand new calibre which is being developed internally in order to complete the range of TAG Heuer high-end/high-performance chronographs.
Four months after the acquisition of Artecad, a major Swiss dial manufacturer based in Tramelan (canton of Bern), TAG Heuer has announced further significant capital investment, this time in mechanical chronograph movements. TAG Heuer leads the world in prestigious high-precision chronographs, especially with the Calibre 1887, Mikrograph 100 and Mikrotimer Flying 1000 movements. Additionally, the company recently introduced at Baselworld 2012 the Mikrogirder 10.000 Concept as well as a revolutionary high-precision dual tourbillon chronograph, the MikrotourbillonS. They are all manufactured in-house by the company at Cornol and La Chaux-de-Fonds and are used to power iconic TAG Heuer chronographs such as the renowned Carrera Calibre 1887, winner of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2010 when it was awarded the “Petite Aiguille” prize. TAG Heuer also buys high-end Swiss mechanical movements from Sellita, ETA, Dubois Depraz, Soprod and Zenith. Given the reduction in supply announced by ETA - supported by COMCO through its provisional measures - and the additional volumes needed to meet its growth targets, TAG Heuer must manufacture more and more mechanical movements in-house as well as intensify its cooperation with other traditional and independent partners in Switzerland and abroad.
In a few weeks’ time, the construction of a 2,400 square-metre facility will start at the Chevenez site where the key components of the TAG Heuer mechanical chronographs will be produced and finished, as well as assembled, in addition to the existing capacity at La Chaux–de-Fonds. In total, over 100 new jobs will be created and the site as a whole will employ over 150 staff. The mechanical movement component production currently based at the Cortech facility in Cornol will be transferred to the new Chevenez site, enabling TAG Heuer to allow Cortech to concentrate on case production while significantly increasing capacity.
So with Cortech manufacturing high-end cases, Artecad manufacturing dials, Chevenez and La Chaux-De-Fonds concentrating on watch movements and assembly, TAG Heuer is becoming one of the most highly integrated Swiss watch manufacturers in terms of key high-end watchmaking expertise and components. This is consistent with TAG Heuer’s full support of Swissness and the consequent proposals to strengthen the criteria for the Swiss Made label, as a proactive member of the Council of the Swiss Watchmaking Industry Federation.
Regarding assortments, given TAG Heuer’s strong development and the non-renewal of a supply contract with Nivarox-FAR SA that expired at the end of 2011, the brand has decided to obtain the high assortment volumes it needs to satisfy its movement production capability by combining supplies from Swiss companies together with high-end assortments that will be specifically developed and manufactured by Seiko Instruments Inc.(SII). SII is a manufacturer known worldwide for the quality of its components, its production processes (Liga for TAG Heuer assortments) and quality assurance. SII is a member of the Swiss Chronometry Society (Société Suisse de Chronométrie), where it actively contributes to improving assortment knowledge.
In parallel TAG Heuer is continuing to study both traditional and potentially revolutionary regulation systems such as the Pendulum presented in 2010 (magnetic field substituting the hairspring) or the Mikrogirder 10.000 shown in 2012 in Geneva and Basel (mikro-blades substituting the hairspring and balance wheel), in order to assess the possibilities of producing in the future assortments in-house in Switzerland.