Updating a motor-racing heritage
Jack Heuer inherited the family innovation and sporting genes. Alliances he forged with legendary drivers and teams have made TAG Heuer and racing synonymous in the public’s mind. Life among the motor-racing greats. Skiing was Jack’s first passion, but then a classic sportscar stole his heart. Through his enduring love of motor racing, Jack has sponsored some of the greatest names in the business. In doing so, he has made TAG Heuer timekeeper to the racing world.
From skis to gears
Jack skied for the Swiss University Skiing team. The racing bug bit when his father gave him an MGA sportscar on graduation, and then copiloting in rallies really hooked him. “Speed is a question of attitude,” he says. It seems swapping skis for gears came easy.
He and the legendary Jo Siffert became close friends. Jack laughs when he tells how Siffert once drove him to Geneva. The snow lay deep, but Jo treated the treacherous road just like a circuit. The skids and slides were hair-raising, but they got there—early!
In 1969 Heuer started sponsoring Siffert. It was a true innovation: no watch brand had done it before. It was the first step towards making the Heuer logo as prominent in worldwide motor racing as it is today.
Putting Ferrari in pole position again
Siffert’s death in 1971 was a shock for Jack, but the racing link had to go on. That same year the ailing Ferrari team asked Jack to come to the rescue. Installing sophisticated TAG Heuer timing equipment meant drivers could check every inch of their performance.
The rigorous testing paid off. Soon Ferrari were in pole position again, and Niki Lauda was world champion. Timekeeping for Ferrari was a massive coup. The Heuer logo was on every Ferrari, and emblazoned on the suits of every driver—of stars like Regazzoni, Villeneuve, and Reutemann. Jacky Ickx was another star cultivated by Jack, who even launched an alarm clock shaped like his helmet. It sold well, and Ickx received a healthy royalty.
In tune with the times
If it sounds like Jack was never off the race track, his life as an inventor is equally full of achievements. Among them is launching an automatic chronograph range, including the Monaco. It broke the mold by having the first square wateresistant chronograph case. Its crisp design made it cult with trendsetters. When Steve McQueen sported one in ‘Le Mans’, his rebel image made it a global hit. On relaunch it sold out within the year. “People love wearing watches that are instantly recognized”. The Monaco is one of those. As the fourth generation of Heuers, Jack is as up to the minute as 4G technology. Some people squander inheritances, some squirrel them safely away. When you’re as adventurous as Jack, you enrich your heritage.