TAG Heuer And Porsche Unveil An Exclusive Partnership And New Timepieces
Two of the world’s most iconic brands join forces in an alliance that promises to transcend automaking, watchmaking, and motorsports.
In the world of motorsports, the sponsorship game is relatively simple: bring money to the table, and get your name on a car, a driver, or even the entire series if your bank account is big enough. Sponsorships have a tendency to come and go, and while they provide more than enough awareness for your brand, they can sometimes feel like a vanity project.
However, today’s announcement from TAG Heuer and Porsche got my attention due to the level of its integration, strategy, and depth. As TAG Heuer bills it, this new partnership is “an authentic alliance between two brands whose common DNA in motorsports and racing forges a holistic and long-term collaboration ranging from competition to product development.”
TAG Heuer and Porsche
The relationship between TAG Heuer and Porsche transcends the current management in place at both companies. Both brands were founded by entrepreneurs and visionaries, Edouard Heuer for TAG Heuer (1860) and Ferdinand Porsche for Porsche (1931). Both men had the vision to make the very best watches and cars that money could buy. Decades after their founding, each brand would find themselves on the track, competing not against each other but almost in a parallel quest for excellence.
One of the binding elements of this relationship has been the word “Carrera,” which means "race." After its class wins at the 1954 Carrera Panamericana race, Porsche laid claim to the first use of the word for a product when it named the now-iconic Porsche 911 after the company's successful showing at the race.
For TAG Heuer’s part, the brand created the first Carrera chronograph in 1963 to be a driver’s watch with optimum readability during race conditions. In the ensuing decades, Porsche and Heuer found themselves at the same track time and time again. It wasn’t until the late 1960s and early 1970s that the brands formally inked a partnership when they launched a creative sponsorship with Swiss driver and Porsche dealer Jo Siffert.
Jack Heuer remarked in the 2005 film Jo Siffert: Live Fast – Die Young, “In exchange for CHF 25,000, he would put our logo on his car and suit. In addition, he could buy our watches at wholesale prices and resell them to his racing friends at a substantial profit. Which he did with great success because half of the F1 paddock was wearing Heuer watches by the end of the 1969 season!"
While we could probably write an entire article about the uncommonly close relationship between the two brands, there are two other notable mentions in the history of TAG Heuer and Porsche's relationship. The first is Steve McQueen, who famously raced a Porsche 917 at Le Mans in 1970 and even wore the Heuer logo on his racing suit.
The second was a decade later, when the two brands developed the TAG-Porsche engine that led to McLaren's dominance in the 1980s. For those on the outside of motorsports, the McLaren connection is a little known yet fascinating tidbit of TAG Heuer's history and one that I love to research.
The rumblings of a new era in the TAG Heuer-Porsche saga started in 2019 when the brands launched a Formula E team. Today the brands are announcing what the partners are calling "a holistic official brand partnership." In layman’s terms, it means the brands plan to collaborate on everything from watches to golf to even Esports.
In a press release, TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault said of the new relationship: “TAG Heuer and Porsche have common history and values, of course, but more importantly, we share an attitude. Like Porsche, we are disruptors at heart, always in pursuit of high performance. With this alliance, TAG Heuer and Porsche finally come together officially after decades of close encounters and will create unmatched experiences and products for customers and fans that are passionate about both our brands and what we stand for.”
For Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche, the relationship is more than just a logo on a car. It is about “bring[ing] together what our customers love the most about both of us: authentic heritage, thrilling sports events, unique life experiences, and the fulfillment of dreams. We both strive to create some unique, magic moments for our communities. We now look forward to doing it together."
The Partnerships, So Far…
Making sense of the new multi-faceted partnership between the Swiss watchmaker and German automaker takes a bit of digging. But from what we can tell, it will touch nearly all aspects of both brand's activations.
On the racing side, it means continued collaboration in Formula E, with the new 99X Electric car driven by André Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein. Further down the track, we will see action in the FIA World Endurance (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC). The two brands will also be collaborating for the Porsche Carrera Cup. Lastly, TAG Heuer and Porsche will be partnering in Esports and forming the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup.
And here's where it gets interesting, the partnership will also extend to other sports such as golf and tennis, with TAG Heuer joining Porsche sponsored events as official timekeeper.
Of course, this partnership would be incomplete without a few exceptional timepieces. Today, TAG Heuer is launching the new Carrera Porsche Chronograph. Based on the Carrera Sport Chronograph, this new timepiece incorporates Porsche design elements such as Porsche's font and historic colors, and it has a special bezel inscription. The watch also comes with a unique asphalt effect on the dial, meant to mimic both brand's "passion for the road."
This 44mm stainless steel timepiece is powered by TAG Heuer's in-house Heuer 02 calibre and boasts a power reserve of 80 hours. The watch comes in two versions, the first on a black leather strap made to mirror a Porsche automobile's interior, and the second, on a metal bracelet. Both pieces come delivered in a special presentation box along with a travel pouch lined with Porsche red.
Stay tuned to Watchonista, as we'll be bringing you more on this partnership (and its timepieces) very soon!
(Images © TAG Heuer)