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November 19, 2009

You Did What to That Watch? Tag Heuer Performs Its Own Road Tests

by Hyla Bauer

As Executive Fashion Editor for Condé Nast Traveler, my job is to keep up on the latest trends in fashion and accessories. Recently, I went on a quick jaunt to Switzerland to visit the Tag Heuer watch factory, where I had an unexpectedly eye-opening experience.

Tag Heuer's testing rooms were like nothing I had ever experienced before. I felt like I was in Q's lab in a James Bond movie: Machines wiggled wrist bands, dropped watches from varying heights, and submerged them in pressure tanks, among other punishments. They basically shake, rattle and roll them every which way (and not gently!), performing a rigorous "road test" before the watches leave the factory. Only the strong survive.

Read after the jump for a slide show of the Tag Heuer torture chamber.

Tag_Heuer_Factory
To test how a watch's clasp withstands five years of wear and tear, this contraption will flick it open and then slam it closed a minimum of 1,825 times.

Tag_Heuer_Pressure_Tanks
This tank can apply pressure that's equivalent to that of 500 meters underwater.

Tag_Heuer_Watch_test
Leather straps go through plenty of stretching and wiggling before being deemed durable enough for sale.

Tag_Heuer_Watch
Beauty is pain: Watches are dropped from on high to make sure they're shock resistant.

Tag_Heuer_Chain_Jostle
Finally, bracelets are tested for metal fatigue.

Tag_Heuer
A finished product: The Aquaracer 500M with blue dial and stainless steel bracelet.

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