TAG Heuer, the leading Swiss luxury watch company, and Parsons The New School for Design today announced the “Art of Watchmaking,” a partnership that taps the creativity of Parsons product design students to reinterpret a legendary timepiece, the iconic Monaco Automatic Chronograph, while learning the intricacies of haute horology.
The eight-week competition combines student collaboration in the design studio with mentorship from TAG Heuer master watchmakers, all culminating in the selection of three winning timepiece designs and the potential for TAG Heuer to produce the top design as a limited-edition piece. A first for TAG Heuer, this collaboration offers a group of young talent the rare opportunity to get an insider’s look into the world of high-end watch production, while enabling TAG Heuer to infuse new creative energy into the design process.
The project began in early September, when TAG Heuer presented 26 junior-level Parsons students with a comprehensive overview of the Monaco, which was first introduced in 1969 and shattered the conventional codes of watch design and engineering with the world’s first self-winding automatic chronograph movement and waterproof square case.
Students then were divided into eight teams, and charged with creating their own iteration of the Monaco. Many aspects of the timepiece are open to interpretation, including the material choice, color and design of the dial, subdials, hands, indexes and folding buckle. However, students cannot alter the distinctive shape of the Monaco’s case, whose clean, geometric lines marked a radical departure from the rounded watch dials of the ’60s and ’70s.
“The Monaco chronograph embodies the daring, forward-thinking, confident spirit that has propelled TAG Heuer for 150 years,” said Ulrich Wohn, president and CEO of TAG Heuer North America. “This piece is the perfect marriage of vintage sex appeal and modern coolness, and is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. Through our partnership with Parsons, one of the most prestigious design schools in the world, we have found an unparalleled platform for celebrating our passion for revolutionizing timekeeping and commitment to craftsmanship and evocative design.”
The teams each rendered 100 original concepts, and throughout October and November, will narrow down these initial ideas into one final design. During this time, students also will receive constructive feedback from TAG Heuer executives during milestone visits, as well as tour the brand’s New Jersey-based facility to experience firsthand the precision and craftsmanship that assembling a luxury watch demands.
“Parsons has a rich tradition of partnering with—and introducing our students to—companies at the leading edge of design,” said Joel Towers, dean of Parsons The New School for Design. “With the Art of Watchmaking we continue that tradition with TAG Heuer, a company that’s widely admired and highly regarded in the world of luxury watchmaking. Through our programs with LVMH and its brands, Parsons takes the creativity and innovation of our talented students, and applies that to the kinds of challenges they will face in the future work as professional designers.
A panel of executives from TAG Heuer and LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton as well as other esteemed guests will judge the completed designs. Additionally, the general public will be able to vote for its favorite creation on TAG Heuer’s Facebook page. Awards will be granted in mid-November to the first, second and third-place winning teams.
TAG Heuer and Parsons will organize additional events related to this project in November, and will provide details about these at a later date.
TAG Heuer Celebrates 150 Years of Watchmaking Innovation
The year 2010 marks TAG Heuer’s 150th anniversary – a milestone that celebrates the brand’s evolution from a small workshop in the Swiss Jura Mountains to its status today as a leader in the luxury watch market. Since its inception, TAG Heuer has demonstrated a passion for accurately measuring even the smallest increment of time. It is the only watchmaker to develop a mechanical automatic chronograph movement that displays 1/10th, 1/100th and 1/1000th of a second, as well as the only brand to capture 1/10,000th of a second. The brand’s 150-year legacy is peppered with displays of engineering prowess, including the world’s first oscillating pinion, patented in 1887, and the recently launched Monaco V4, which features a double-patented belt-driven movement that shatters the basic tenets of how a watch keeps time. Through a constant pursuit of excellence and innovation, TAG Heuer creates timepieces that are a defining symbol of state-of-the-art originality.
About Parsons The New School for Design
Parsons The New School for Design is one of the most prestigious institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. A student-centered curriculum allows for both focused and interdisciplinary learning, with unparalleled internship opportunities and industry partnerships laying the groundwork for entrepreneurship and professional success. An integral part of The New School, Parsons builds on the university’s legacy of progressive ideals, scholarship, and pedagogy. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit www.newschool.edu/parsons.