Jack Heuer—watch innovator and marketer; great-grandson of Heuer watch founder Edouard Heuer; and honorary chairman of TAG Heuer, the Swiss luxury sport watch brand—in January received the Jewelry Infor-mation Center’s Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement at its gala awards dinner in New York City. He was honored for “raising the visibility and status” of the fine-watch industry for a half century.
“His personal history and professional accomplishments [have] earned the respect and admiration of the entire watch and fine-jewelry industry,” said JIC director David Lafleur. “He’s had a major impact in making consumers aware of the style, sophistication, and elegance of fine watches.”
“We continue to be inspired by his ability to create iconic timepieces that transcend generations,” noted Ulrich Wohn, president and chief executive officer of TAG Heuer North America. One is the sporty yet elegant Carrera chronograph (1964), which combines style with cutting-edge technology and remains a key part of TAG Heuer’s line. In 2006, Carrera watches provided 12 percent of the brand’s global sales.
Heuer joined the family business, Ed. Heuer & Co. S.A., in 1958. He started Heuer Time Corp., its first U.S. subsidiary, in 1959 and became majority shareholder of Heuer & Co. S.A. in 1962. It acquired Leonidas Watch Co. in 1964 and was renamed Heuer-Leonidas S.A. In 1969, it launched the world’s first automatic chronograph and also became one of the first nonautomotive sponsors of the Formula 1 racing circuit, which promoted the brand globally.
Heuer pioneered electronic timekeeping and helped launch several of the world’s first electronic timing instruments, including the Automatic Car Identification and Timing system (1976), which, though modified, is still used in Formula 1 timekeeping.
In 1982, Jack Heuer sold Heuer-Leonidas S.A. to the Piaget Group. In 1985, Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) bought it from Piaget and renamed it TAG Heuer S.A. In 1999, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) bought TAG Heuer, which named Jack Heuer honorary chairman in 2001.