Revolution Awards 2017: Lifetime Achievement — Jack Heuer, Watch Entrepreneur

Revolution Awards 2017: Lifetime Achievement — Jack Heuer, Watch Entrepreneur

Cars and watches have always been linked, just because speed is only a function of distance over time. Since the automobile became commonplace, there have been watches linked to cars — mostly chronographs — and some of them were produced by Heuer, the company founded in 1860 by Jack’s great-grandfather, Edouard Heuer; but past the middle of the 20th century, that relationship was a little diluted. Omega created in 1957 a chronograph aimed at motor-racing fans and to master speed, and everyone knows how that went: to infinity and beyond.

Trained as an engineer, Jack Heuer was one of the few of that profession to join the Swiss watch industry. When he joined his family’s company in 1958, he immediately started to look for ways to make Heuer grow. In 1962, Heuer released the first product developed by Jack — the Autavia — a chronograph inspired by racing and aviation, which was a great success. Later that year, he went to the 12 Hours of Sebring race in Florida, where he met internationally famous Mexican race drivers Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez (AKA the Rodriguez Brothers), who at the time were racing for Ferrari. In their meeting, they told him about a legendary road race across Mexico that happened in the ’50s — the Carrera Panamericana. By the way, it is after the same race that some Porsche cars are also called Carrera. The following year, Heuer released a very honest motorsport-inspired chronograph called the Carrera, which was another great success and that marked the start of a line of great chronographs and time-only watches. Later came the now-iconic Monaco square-cased automatic and water-resistant chronograph — a first in watchmaking history. Jack Heuer was the mind behind the product placement that made the Monaco the great success it is up to this day, in the movie 24 Hours of Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen.

Steve McQueen wearing the Heuer Monaco in a scene from Le Mans (1971).

After the Quartz Crisis, Jack Heuer had to — painfully — sell his family company in 1982, after which he forged an amazing second career with his other love, electronics; only to return to the company, which was by then called TAG Heuer, as honorary chairman in 2001.

The great passion of Jack Heuer for racing has always been an integral part of his work and it has helped shaped TAG Heuer into what it is today. For his unremitting dedication, vision and ability to create timepieces that continue to influence and inspire even today, Revolution presents Jack Heuer with this well-deserved Lifetime Achievement award.