Tag Heuer Grand Carrera - Car Designer's Muse

Apr 11, 2008
Baselworld 2008 visitors, who came to have a look at the Tag Heuer stand, were amazed to see a cool concept car parked a few meters away. On seeing the car surrounded by the curious crowd, watch experts and Tag Heuer's fans would rightfully assume it is there to remind everyone about the brand's close links to the world of car racing and the latest horological innovations relevant to its realms.

This year Tag Heuer has proudly introduced an innovative application of its renowned Calibre S. The mechanism incorporated by a chronograph watch allows to calculate, to the nearest 100th of a second, the lap time of the driver and then calculate the fastest time out of twenty, all in one application.

The Grand CARRERA Calibre 36 RS Caliper Concept Chronograph, unveiled at Baselworld 2008, is one more important achievement of the brand. Tag Heuer engineers have managed to adapt the principle of the slide caliper to the timepiece. It has made possible the time reading to one tenth of a second by means of a central seconds hand driven by a mechanical movement.

In fact, namely the new Grand Carrera watch inspired Japanese designer Ken Okuyama for the creation of his futuristic car - the K.O. 7 Spider - parked by the Tag Heuer stand at Baselworld 2008. Moreover, the Concept Chronograph has its twin on the dashboard of the concept car! Nowadays nobody is surprised when a watchmaker takes inspiration from a concept car. How about cars getting inspiration from watches?

Ken Okuyama, a big fan of watches and an owner of several Tag Heuer watches, has built a remarkable career of an automobile designer. Okuyama worked for General Motors and Porsche on the Boxster and the new-generation Porsche 911. The designer also gained great experience while working as Design Director at Pininfarina, having supervised projects such as the Enzo Ferrari and Maserati Quattroporte.

In 2006, Ken Okuyama established his own company. The K.O. 7, a carbon-fiber and unpainted aluminum two-seat roadster,well proportioned and handsomely finished, has become the designer's first creation under his own name. The car is powered by a 2000cc Japanese engine. It was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March before being presented at Baselworld.

It's important to mention that the K.O. 7 is eco-compatible. It has been produced from advanced light-weight materials, such as aluminum, titanium and carbon. The combination of materials resulted in a remarkable horsepower to weight relationship. The K.O. 7 Spider weighs just 750 kilograms.

Having been introduced to Jean-Christophe Babin, the designer showed Tag Heuer's CEO a photo of what would be his first car. During their meeting Ken Okuyama found out the brand was launching its new Grand Carrera and became greatly inspired by the idea to design the interior of his first concept car to reflect the characteristics of the new Tag Heuer' watch.

The Tag Heuer Grand Carrera has perfectly fitted Ken Okuyama's philosophy expressed just in three words: modern, simple and timeless. The designer wants to create items with timeless design, so he opts for simplicity and resolutely modern forms. He is sure the Grand Carrera 'will sail through the next two decades without ageing a day'.

Ken Okuyama's design studio employs 140 people, with 35 of them working in the automotive department. The company also produces eyewear and furnishings, intending to present their exclusive furniture collection at the forthcoming Milan Fair. This year the company will produce the first 20 models of the K.O. 7 Spider, already pre-sold to an 'inner circle' of fans. Then it will concentrate on the production of 99 cars in 2009 and again in 2010.

It is interesting to mention, Ken Okuyama promises we will see Jean-Christophe Babin at the wheel of his super-sleek sports car!

Enjoy the best selection of stylish and functional TAG Heuer Grand Carrera watches:

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posted by: / Apr 11, 2008

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