TAG Heuer

Heuer Quartz 200 Metres Professional 980.031 James Bond watch (photograph ©2011 All Rights Reserved. USA)

Heuer Quartz 200 Metres Professional 980.031 James Bond watch, The Living Daylights, 1987 (original photograph, ©2011 Dell Deaton, All Rights Reserved. USA)

The James Bond connection to this watch brand was unknown to the public for almost a quarter-century until first identified through original research by David Chalmers, Paul Gavin, and me, published in 2010.

In terms of product placement for wristwatches, Jack Heuer recalls in his autobiography The Times of My Life, that in 1964 Rolex was already well-established with a Hollywood property manager to “get a Rolex watch on the wrists of stars.”

Heuer stopwatches were at that time already being regularly supplied “to Hollywood film directors who needed an accurate means of timing their shooting.” Thus Mr Heuer was then prompted to make his own mark in movie product placement, beginning with contact Don Nunley.

Don subsequently succeeded in getting a Heuer chronograph on the wrists of Charlton Heston, Burt Reynolds and Jack Lemmon. In 1970 he pulled off a coup by getting Steve McQueen to wear the Heuer logo on his overalls and to sport our “Monaco” wrist chronograph when filming Le Mans ….

Product placement was so much simpler in those days, and I think I must have been amongst the pioneers. Today a company needs no end of intermediaries and specialist lawyers, all of whom of course take their cut from the high product placement fees.

Jack Heuer is the great-grandson of Edouard Heuer, who founded E Heuer & Compagnie in 1864. Significantly, Edouard Heuer patented an independent crown-winding mechanism (two replace key-winding) in 1869 and 1870.

Ultimately, Jack Heuer came to head what had become Heuer-Leonidas, but was separated from it during the summer of 1982 when Heuer-Leonidas became TAG Heuer through the Techniques d’Avant Garde deal. The TAG Heuer website has more details.

This approximately mid-1980s transition to TAG Heuer ironically paralleled dramatic behind-the-scenes changes within the James Bond movie franchise.

In 1985, Roger Moore stepped down from a role he’d been making his own since 1973, and the James Bond watch product placement arrangement with Seiko UK was ending after appearances in the last five consecutive movies.

TAG Heuer then became a James Bond watch in 1987 with the introduction of Timothy Dalton to the lead role in The Living Daylights, United Artists and EON Productions.

It is not known, however, if the physical markings on any of the screen-worn James Bond watches show “TAG Heuer” or simply “Heuer.”

Dell Deaton | July 12, 2104

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