'Democratizing' the Tourbillon
Tag Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T
How do you make a $15,950 watch an absolute steal? Try giving it a tourbillon, the most painstakingly difficult complication in watchmaking, and then undercutting the price of the next-cheapest Swiss tourbillon by more than half. It’s an incredible feat, before you even consider that the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T is crafted from high-end materials like grade-5 titanium and carbon fiber. It’s even certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). So unprecedented is the watch’s pairing of an intricate, rotating escapement and a low price tag that some of the watch community has accused TAG of using Chinese parts to reduce costs.
TAG Heuer CEO and watch industry veteran Jean-Claude Biver denies this, of course, and in a recent interview with Calibre 11 said the secret behind the Heuer-02T’s mind-boggling price is both a more efficient production line and a simple reduction in profit margins. Frankly, it’s a far cry from watchmaking dark magic — but it proves the hallmark complication of haute horlogerie might not be so unattainable after all.