MILAN — The patented ultra-resistant Dyneema textile rope, 3D-printed titanium, sustainable materials such as bio-nylon and recycled graphite, as well as single-screw assembly are just a few of the high-tech innovations embedded in Tag Heuer’s rebooted eyewear offering.
The latter is now produced and distributed by the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned eyewear manufacturer Thélios and it was unveiled in Miami as part of the LVMH Watch Week showcase, which ended on Thursday.
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The five-design collection traveled to Milan with an event held Thursday night to celebrate Tag Heuer’s relaunch and expansion in the category. The brand introduced eyewear in 2002, through a partnership with an independent French manufacturer that ran through 2016.
“Clearly, the philosophy has been already defined from the Tag Heuer point of view. We really wanted to find the right partner to have a very high-end eyewear collection, and to be able to have the same characteristics as we have on the watches, which means technicity, technology, lightness, comfort, ergonomics, performance, all these elements are always integrated into [our products],” said Tag Heuer’s new chief executive officer Julien Tornare, formerly of Zenith.
The executive pointed to legitimacy and success in the eyewear category, highlighting how customers have asked for it across Tag Heuer’s boutiques worldwide in the eight years since the line was discontinued.
“The shared value was the starting point. Basically, Tag Heuer has always been aiming for performance. Performance is a key word, [as are] achievement, success. And of course, avant-garde, which is part of the [brand’s] name. Tag [stands for] technique avant-garde,” Tornare offered. “The brief from the beginning was how can we be innovative avant-garde, drive these values linked to sport, because of course, there is a very strong route of sport in our brand. And when you combine all that, you basically create the same kind of environment, the same kind of mindset, whether we talk about watches or if we talk about eyewear,” he said.
The three-pronged collection includes the Pro Performance line with the most sophisticated technology, Sport Performance geared at athletes and sports enthusiasts, and Daily Performance.
“One point which is very unique in Tag Heuer eyewear is that it is truly starting from a legacy. But then it’s avant-garde so it’s [about] looking into something different and [do it] in advance versus the rest of what is in the market,” said Thélios CEO Alessandro Zanardo.
“We put on the table our competences and savoir faire in excellent and luxury eyewear, but then in reality, we’ve been pushed together with the Tag Heuer team to look out of our industry. So the solutions that together we have studied and then deployed, most of them are not existing in the industry.…The common denominator is the excellence, which is typical of the segment where we play, but then the technology, materials, processes to develop these products are unique,” he said.
The lineup comprises five key sunglass and optical frame designs. The cycling-inspired Shield Pro enveloping mask with interchangeable lenses is crafted from matte black recycled graphite and bio-nylon, while the double-bridge aviator design named Line and available also in an optical frame version is made of bio-nylon and carbon fiber. It embeds the registered Dyneema textile cable on the hinge for extra flexibility.
Nodding to a past bestseller, the 27 Degrees model, the Vingt-Sept rectangular style, combines bio-nylon, carbon fiber and stainless steel and comes with high-contrast Specta lenses. It is billed as the very first 3D metal frame.
Pushing the manufacturing agenda further, the Bolide-injected mask featuring bio-nylon and titanium details has adjustable temples to fit different facial shapes. In the optical frame space, Flex is a hinge-less and rimless squared design made of bio-nylon, carbon fiber and brushed titanium.
Some eyewear is also offered with 24-karat gold and platinum-coated lenses, enhancing visual clarity. The former metal is also known for its heat-protecting qualities.
The collection will hit Tag Heuer boutiques and its online store, as well as select retailers part of Thélios’ distributing network in March, with prices ranging from 350 euros to 490 euros for the core styles and 1,200 euros for the the most sophisticated versions.
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