TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program

TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program

TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program Watch Industry News

TAG Heuer is making a play for space exploration history as the official timekeeper of China’s Mars Exploration Program. The announcement came this week in Beijing as TAG Heuer CEO and branding wizard extraordinaire Jean-Claude Biver celebrated with scientists and officials of the China National Space Administration the unveiling of the exterior design of China's first Mars rover. TAG Heuer is a sponsor of the program, and the planned 2020 Chinese mission to Mars will include a TAG Heuer timepiece on board.

Since that is four years from now and the project and collaboration are still at the relative outset, there remain quite a few unknowns. One thing we know, however, is that if the mission is successful, TAG Heuer will be able to claim putting the first watch on Mars. It is not yet clear what watch model will be making the journey - and four years from now will present even more possibilities - even though the brand's marketing materials show the Heuer 01. Nor is it clear whether the watch will have some role or function for the mission - or if it will be just a passive passenger.

TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program Watch Industry News

TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program Watch Industry News
Replica Heuer stopwatch that went to space in 1962 at the TAG Heuer Museum at La Chaux-de-Fonds

At the event in Beijing, Mr. Biver wore over his jacket sleeve a replica of the Heuer stopwatch worn over the spacesuit of astronaut John Glenn to remind us all of TAG's history and space pedigree. In 1962, a Heuer watch was on the arm of the American astronaut aboard the Friendship 7 as he became the first American to orbit the earth and the fifth person in space. The Soviets had beat the Americans into space wearing Russian timepieces, but as TAG Heuer is proud to point out, the "first Swiss watch in space" was a Heuer. Also recall the 2012 TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 SpaceX Chronograph (hands-on here) that went into orbit and then docked at the International Space Station with the private aerospace company SpaceX.

TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program Watch Industry News
John Glenn climbs aboard the Friendship 7 in February 1962 with the Heuer watch on his wrist
TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program Watch Industry News
Actual Heuer stopwatch worn by John Glenn, at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC

China’s first Mars program will consist of orbiting, landing, and rover deployment on the red planet, building on the success of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. At its most distant, Mars is over 400 million kilometers from earth, and besides the higher data transmission rates required by that distance for remote operation of the rover, technical challenges include powering the rover due the relatively low level of sunlight that reaches the planet and its dusty atmosphere. China has also previously indicated plans for an eventual manned mission to Mars, slated for between 2040 and 2060 - for which watch brands are surely already lining up.

TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program Watch Industry News

TAG Heuer Watch Going To Mars With China’s Official Mars Exploration Program Watch Industry News
Jean-Claud Biver & project leaders from the China National Space Administration; Behind them is the countdown to the end of the naming and logo submissions campaign.

The event in Beijing was also used to announce a global solicitation for a program name and logo from the public. It is not yet clear how to submit entries - but please, suggest only dignified names (unlike when the public voted to name an International Space Station node "Colbert" after comedian Steven Colbert; or the unfortunate case of Boaty McBoatface). The naming and logo competition are a good way to get more exposure for the program, and more exposure in China can only be good for TAG Heuer. Further, if it enjoys even a fraction of the NASA Apollo's marketing success, it could offer Chinese, who already buy so many Swiss watches, a similar sense of "ownership" as the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch offers Americans, as well as a deeper connection to the brand. As an aside, one does also wonder what happened to Chinese Fiyta and their watches such as the Spacemaster designed specifically for and actually worn by Chinese taikonauts such as Zhai Zhigang on his 2008 spacewalk...

The space game is clearly an important but competitive one for watch brands. Mr. Biver has much experience with official timekeeping and strategic partnerships, but milestones among watches in space are certainly a rare and valuable commodity. What everyone wants to know: will this Sino-Swiss alliance lead to a limited edition watch? We'll just have to hold our breath to find out. tagheuer.com

  • Marius

    This is ONE HUGE MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR BREWMONT!

    • proudAmerican702

      “That’s one small step for Tag, one giant leap for Tag-kind.” 🙂

  • DannyBoyJr

    Will they force Tag Heuer to use knock-off Chinese “tourbillon” movements? 😉

  • MA

    Can they send JCB there too?

    • IanE

      They don’tneed to – didn’t you know, he is everywhere all the time (that’s the Santa clause in his contract!).

      (Seriously, though, I find his energy and stamina pretty awsome.)

      • proudAmerican702

        +1. Like Guy Martin of British motorcycle racing, I could listen to JCB talk forever. I know quite a few can’t stand him, but I find JCB’s passion to be intoxicating. He’s done very well for himself, and the watch industry. That can’t be denied.

  • JunkHoarder

    I hope they’re smart enough not to send an automatic, since those wouldn’t work very well on a space probe hybernating motionlessly for months. Maybe solar would work the best.

  • Beefalope

    If Tag is going to send a watch into space, can it at least make sure that whatever watch goes up there doesn’t suck?

    • Berndt Norten

      Or that it never comes back??

      • Beefalope

        It would be even better if Biver is wearing it as it’s never coming back.

        What would really be awesome is if Ricardo Guadalupe took a Hublot out there and they spent the rest of eternity in space.

  • Kuroji

    Get your ass to Mars.

    • Mitchell Fried

      That should be “Get your ahhss to Mahhs”

  • Chaz

    I don’t know what’s more pathetic…T-H/Biver kow-towing to be included in the propaganda for a regime that regularly denies human rights, due process and protection of intellectual property or the CCP actually letting a FOREIGN (*gasp*) entity be involved in a project of national “pride”?

    (see the CCP’s regular tirades on “evil foreign influences” in anything from NGOs, South China Sea territory grabs, Tibet, Hong Kong autonomy to Hollywood and western pop culture)

  • Emperius

    Tag is losing my interest.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Enough already !

  • DanW94

    Soliciting the general public to name your space program is not bound to end well…..I see lots of submissions with the word Uranus worked in somehow…..

  • Boogur T. Wang

    “Past performance is no indication of potential future returns.”

  • NGAF

    +5 for TAG, +50 for China. +100 for the Mars program so some day we can leave all the bigoted, self-righteous egoistic snobby…WIS behind.

  • speedy

    So now, Omega -a brand hugely popular in China- is associated with USA’s NASA, and Tag Heuer, a brand almost exclusively tergeted at the USA for decades, is associated with China’s CMEP.

    Marketing is an interesting field…

    • Chaz

      Actually you’ll find T-H would almost be the national watch of Australia.

      • speedy

        Thanks, I ignored that. Here in Switzerland, it is seen as a brand for the USA, though.

  • Joe

    The caption under “Actual Heuer stopwatch worn by” states “Jong Glenn”.
    Is this a North Korean version of John Glenn (in collaboration with Tag Heuer)?

    • ZL

      fixed

  • Gabe Chambers

    Ssoooo a watch with no one wearing it – why not just send a cell phone so no one even has to look at their watch? Lolz

  • Simon_Hell

    Majority of marketing, and this here is a prime example, is based on the assumption that people are incredibly stupid and simple minded. Im supposed to pay a shitload of money to a mediocre watch company that has paid a shitload of money to the chinese communist party for allowing it to put a bumpersticker on the space shuttle that will ceremoniously carry the watch to space in an utterly poinless and meaningless act to prove what exactly?

    Tag Heurer, IT TOO HAS BEEN TO SPACE.

  • funNactive

    Blast the watch into space – a present for the little green men on Mars.