Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer has been redefining its signature look in recent years. The company’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver has an illustrious history of resurrecting and modernising old watchmakers, starting with Blancpain, then Omega, and most recently Hublot. The bulky, avant-garde looks of Hublot are indeed beginning to filter down to TAG Heuer under his leadership, especially in the Carrera collection which is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year. The brand’s latest pinnacle creation, the TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Tête de Vipère’ Chronograph Tourbillon Chronometer exemplifies this new style and features a rare ‘Viper’s Head’ chronometer certification from the Besançon Observatory in eastern France.
The ‘Tête de Vipère’ stamp, which means ‘Viper’s Head’, was applied to a chronometer for the first time by the Besançon Observatory in 1897. This high-quality metrological guarantee is a mark of the unrivalled precision and excellence of a watch. Abandoned in the 1970s, then relaunched in 2007, the ‘Tête de Vipère’ stamp has since been awarded to just 500 pieces. To obtain this certificate of excellence, each fully assembled watch undergoes a protocol involving 16 days of testing, in five different positions at three different temperatures.
The Besançon Observatory, operating on behalf of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, is the only independent/public organisation able to inspect chronometers. More than merely proof of quality and accuracy, this stamp is confirmation of technical expertise which borders on perfection. The stamp certifies the watch as a whole, not just the movement.
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