The history of TAG Heuer began in 1860, when 20-year-old Edouard Heuer founded his then-tiny business in the Swiss town of Saint-Imier. Four years later, Heuer was so successful that he moved his company to an impressive building in Biel. In 1882, Heuer patented his first stopwatch and production began that same year. He developed the so-called oscillating pinion, a revolution in chronograph production, five years later. This mechanism is comprised of a movable stem and two pinions, with one pinion constantly engaged with the second wheel.
In 1902, Charles and Jules Heuer took over the family business. Under their leadership, the company focused on producing specialty watches, such as the dashboard chronograph Time of Trip in 1911. The chronograph measured in at 11 cm in diameter and was perfectly suited for installation on car and airplane dashboards. The large central hand told the time while the small pair of hands at the 12 o'clock position timed periods up to 12 hours long.
Heuer achieved another milestone in 1916 with the Mikrograph, a chronograph able to measure time up to 1/100th of a second. The delicate second hand only required three seconds to make a full revolution, and its balance wheel vibrated at an unbelievable frequency of 360,000 alternations per hour (A/h), or 50 Hz. Such a "super timer," as Heuer called it, is perfect for measuring the flight time of artillery projectiles.
At the beginning of the 1930s, Heuer introduced the Time of Trip's successor, the Autavia. Its name is a combination of the words "automobile" and "aviation" and is well suited for use while racing and flying. The Autavia has a center second hand and two subdials for the 60-minute and 12-hour recorders. The stopwatch was often found together with its counterpart, the Hervue dashboard, on a solid base plate. The Hervue had a power reserve of eight days and a movement from Revue Thommen. In 1962, exactly 30 years after the Autavia premiered, Heuer presented a wristwatch chronograph with the same name.