TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 - one of the most significant products of 2010.....By: SJX (registered) Thursday, August 12th, 2010 - Photo Nav: View All 1 photo(s)
is the TAG Heuer Carrera 1887. I mention this in the upcoming Business Times watch supplement to be published on 27 August in Singapore.
When the 1887 calibre went online in December 2009, it caused an uproar. Beginning on certain French watch forums and spreading quickly, the news got out that the new Calibre 1887 from TAG Heuer was not what it was cracked up to be. Nowhere in the press release did it state that the movement was based on a Seiko movement, the 6S37. Even though TAG Heuer would manufacture the movement itself in Switzerland, it only licensed the intellectual property from Seiko, the movement remained similar enough to the Seiko 6S37 for denizens of watch forums to notice.
The resulting furore brings to mind several questions. If one of the Switzerland's leading mass luxury watchmakers, and one of the largest in terms of output, can license technology from Seiko, will others do the same? But TAG Heuer is more open minded in its sourcing of components and technology, so it may be the exception.
Or might this provide a springboard for Seiko to market its upper end products overseas, since it now has some form high-end legitimacy? The 1887 is in many ways a more sophisticated movement than the Valjoux 7750 it replaces.
At the same time, the fiasco brought home the power of internet forums. Jean Christophe Babin himself responded on some of the forums. Several industry insiders mentioned this episode in discussions throughout 2010. One independent watchmaker branded this an wake-up call for the industry which has become complacent in its assumption on consumers' disinterest. This has caused ripples in a insular industry and many will proceed with care now.
The irony is the 1887 is actually an extremely competitive product. It is priced at a modest premium above the Valjoux 7750-based Carrera chronograph, making it good value. The new 1887 movement with column wheel and vertical is superior in terms of construction to the Valjoux. At its price point the 1887 is certainly one of the most interesting options and probably the most significant product in its class.