Tag Heuer have named their research and development guru Guy Semon, pictured, as the brand’s new general manager completing a remarkable journey for the engineer with a pedigree.
The tiny silicon belts in Tag Heuer’s Monaco V4 Tourbillon are the reason Semon found himself in the watchmaking industry. Until now head of research and development, Semon is not your average watch guy; he originally trained as a jet pilot with the French Navy, but science was his calling and he joined the French Ministry for Research as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Franche-Comté, completing a doctorate in physics and engineering science.
After this he was tasked with setting up and managing a physics of energy laboratory before establishing his own engineering design practice with 150 engineers. As scientific director he worked on projects including new generation high-speed trains, gas turbines and hybrid armoured vehicles. Semon’s interest then turned to flight simulation, his business winning French Air Force contracts for fighter helicopters and test planes. This led to taking over a company specialising in massive parallel computers and high speed telecommunications systems, and running a flying business before encountering Tag Heuer a decade ago.
The Tag Monaco belts are the smallest that exist in the world, similar to a human hair, and were thought impossible to produce. Semon volunteered to find a way after overhearing a call from then-Tag head Jean-Christophe Babin to a client of Semon’s flying business.
“The challenge was very, very tough … to know it could even work,” says Semon.
Semon’s challenge now will be to take Tag into a new era that, thanks to Apple, will see the serious arrival of the smart watch.
Few doubt he will be more than a match for the task.
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