A little story about Zodiac and TAG Heuer

  1. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Nov 29, 2014

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    One story that I have been meaning to write for a while is about the links between Zodiac and TAG Heuer. I first started wondering about what happened when I saw a couple of the 1990s-era Zodiacs:

    Zodiac Red Dot
    [​IMG]
    (Photo Credit)
    [​IMG]
    (Photo Credit)

    Now that first watch looks the same as a TAG Heuer 1000...and the second is almost identical to a TAG Heuer 1500. Then I saw this:

    Zodiac Swiss Formula
    [​IMG]
    (Photo Credit)

    Looks like a TAG Heuer Formula 1 to me....identical case, bezel, etc.

    I did some digging and even had someone tell me that the 1990s-era Sea Wolf was designed by the same person who designed the TAG Heuer Super Professional, although I haven't been able to confirm this.

    So what happened?

    Willy Gad Monnier & Zodiac
    Willy Gad Monnier was the Finance Director at Heuer under Jack Heuer. In his book its pretty clear that Jack Heuer felt betrayed by Monnier, who had sided with the banks trying to push Jack out. As he says in his book:

    "I had fought hard and had devoted all my energy in an attempt to save my company, but had lost out against Piaget and Willy Monnier. I turned to Willy Monnier and said, “Mr. Monnier, you have won and I wish you all the best in this difficult job, which I hope you will continue in the sense of the founding family.”

    For a period of time, Monnier was the CEO of Heuer/ TAG Heuer before leaving and then buying Zodiac in 1990 and introducing the models you see above. At this time, TAG Heuer made no watches themselves, and outsourced production to Roventa Henex. My guess is that Monnier was able to buy the rights to the TAG Heuer 1000 (which TAG Heuer phased out in 1990) and likely the other designs too and had them made in the same place.

    The only point that makes this a little unlikely is that apparently Monnier did not leave TAG Heuer in the best of circumstances, so cooperation may have been unlikely.

    I did try and track down Willy Gad Monnier to ask him about this time, but unfortunately his health is quite poor these days.

    If anyone knows more detail about the watches from this time, it would be great to round out the story of the TAG Heuer "Zodiacs"
     
  2. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Nov 29, 2014

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    That green one is incredibly similar to my nephew's green F1, even the bezel which they've made slightly different is only a minor change to the pattern, had no idea Zodiac did that.
     
  3. Hubert

    Hubert Nov 30, 2014

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    Good story. My first Tag Heuer.
     
    IMG_20141129_235337462_HDR_1.jpg
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  4. TonyStark

    TonyStark Feb 14, 2018

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    Are you interested here specifically in the 90s era.... I have seen some earlier zodiac that were basically heuer with an overprinted dial
     
  5. MRC

    MRC Feb 14, 2018

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    Such as this one with Heuer reference 7721 and Heuer serial 179069. However the dial shows no sign of overprinting and is a creamy white that I have not seen on a Heuer-signed Heuer. Valjoux 7733 inside, date approx 1970.

    P1010109.JPG

    MC-Zodiac-1.jpg
    Photo by Rich Askham <http://thewatchspotblog.com/>

    By coincidence on my wrist this week although the photos were taken earlier.
     
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  6. TonyStark

    TonyStark Feb 14, 2018

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    Apologies by the way for resurrecting a very old thread... but I am interested in this topic. Hadn't noticed the date when I responded!
     
  7. TonyStark

    TonyStark Feb 14, 2018

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