Interview: Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Movements Director, TAG Heuer, on innovating with a focus on durability, accuracy, and quality

The brand unveils a new automatic rattrapante calibre TH81-00, the lightest automatic chronograph ever made by the brand
For Watches and Wonders 2024, TAG Heuer has unveiled timepieces in the Carrera and Monaco collections, its best-selling lines. However, its big release is the new automatic rattrapante calibre TH81-00, made in collaboration with Swiss movement maker Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. Calibre TH81-00 is completely made in titanium and is the lightest automatic chronograph ever made by the brand - it features in the latest TAG Heuer Monaco Split Second Chronograph models. “Every component of the watch reflects our passion for horological artistry,” says Carole Forestier-Kasapi, TAG Heuer’s movements director, who has previously served as the head of movement creation at Cartier for 15 years. 

We spoke to her about her journey with the brand so far and what entails movement development at TAG Heuer.  

WatchTime India: Can you brief me what your journey with TAG Heuer as Movement Director has been like?
Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Movements Director, TAG Heuer

Carole Forestier-Kasapi: I have two roles at TAG Heuer - the first one is movement creation or development, and second is high-end collection development. I spend time with the teams, the engineers in charge of movement development, the software management people, the designers. We have to work together closely - it's team-work to find a solution for the Maison. And of course there are meetings with product teams and sometimes interviews. We have monthly meetings to share with our CEO, related to the project and everything.                                                                                                                                                                                                              
WTI: TAG Heuer has released several novelties in Watches & Wonders 2024 - what was the focus of this year’s movements? 

CFK: We have focused on a new Rattrapante Split Second movement in the Monaco line for several reasons - this is the return of TAG Heuer’s horology. We have a big history of rattrapante at TAG Heuer - since the end of the 19th century, we know we had on the catalogue rattrapante watches already. At this time, it was stopwatches. A huge part of the Maison’s reputation is built on that - that is why we choose to build this complication. 

WTI: Do the two new Monaco Split Seconds Chronographs pay tribute to the collection’s 55th anniversary?

TAG Heuer Monaco Split Second Chronograph

CFK: We decided to create this complication because the Maison’s reputation has been built on rattrapante. So, naturally, we wanted to return to that by using this complication. This watch is sporty and that’s why we have developed a new movement whose balance wheel can support better shocks and acceleration. It has better accuracy, even when doing sports. We used light materials like titanium for not only the Monaco case but its whole movement is made up in titanium.

WTI: The TH20-00 calibre in the Carrera Glassbox editions has done exceedingly well. How important has this movement become for the brand?
TAG Heuer Caliber TH20-00

CFK: This movement is important for the brand for several reasons. Firstly, this is our in-house calibre, secondly, it’s a chronograph, and thirdly, we have built 12 complications on this calibre from very simple to a tourbillon. And we innovated the calibre last year with a new automatic system. 

WTI: The Skipper was widely loved, and now there is a Carrera Chronograph Skipper in rose gold this time. How do you think it will appeal to people?

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Skipper

CFK: I think it's for different clients due to the price positioning. Honestly, we have few gold watches at TAG Heuer at the moment. So, we will see if we can expect to do more in precious metal or not. 

WTI: As movement director for TAG Heuer, how do you capture the essence of the brand in its movements?

CFK: As the Maison is well known because of its past, it’s a question regarding durability of the product and quality. So, when you put that, it means, for example, five years warranty and if we are at five years warranty, what we want to tackle is 10 years between services, which is also a huge advantage for clients. Durability means also to work on each detail and quality to offer to our clients, like the TH20-00 calibre. We want to offer more accuracy, more in the form of performances. This is how I capture the essence of the basic TAG Heuer movement. This is the vision and strategy of the Maison. If you look at what we have presented in two-three years, you will see we have Solar movements, and Kenissi movements that come with a five year warranty. 

WTI: How is TAG Heuer balancing both mechanical and connected watches?

TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 Malbon Golf Edition

CFK: We have two teams dedicated, one for Connected watches and one for mechanical watches. The team for connected is based in Paris and the team for mechanical watches development is based in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Neuchâtel. It's a very different kind of job to create and develop these two different kinds of watches. And for the rest, it’s my strategy for the brand to create Connected watches as the pillar of our collection. Today, in our boutique people ask for both Connected and traditional watches

WTI: Which movements would you say have been the most important in the brand’s history?

CFK: For the present, the most important for the brand story, I would say it is TH20-00, because it is the real, very first internal movement.

WTI: Your favourite TH movement?

TAG Heuer Monaco Split Second Chronograph full sapphire crystal caseback

CFK: I live in the future, so I would like to say that it’s always the next one. I am always excited about the next one. Although, we are very proud of the TH-20, our in-house calibre and our new Rattrapante movement. 

WTI: You have been with TAG Heuer for about four years now. What was the highlight of the journey so far?

CFK: There are a lot, but first I would say that meeting beautiful people associated with brands like, Nicholas Biebuyck, the brand’s heritage director, who collaborated with me a lot for the rattrapante. With the brand I discover an incredible amount of stories, which have a very rich past. And I am passionate about the story of this brand. 

Image: Courtesy brand


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