In 1860 Edouard Heuer established a watch business in St Imier in Switzerland. It was 20 years before he began to build his own watches but in the 1880s patented a number of innovative designs and the company became increasingly wellknown for the precision of its watches. As early as 1920 the company was the timekeeper for the Olympic Games and in 1933 began building the first timekeeping equipment for racing cars. The company used the association with competition in the 1960s to market the Carrera and Monaco watches and in 1971 became the official timekeeper and a sponsor of Ferrari. That lasted until 1979 by which time the company was struggling to survive as electronic watches flooded the market. In 1985 Heuer was bought by TAG (Techniques d'Avant-Garde) and the TAG-Heuer brand was created.

TAG was an investment company set up in 1977 by Syrian-born Saudi Arabian entrepreneur Akram Ojjeh, who wanted to invest the huge sums he had made in arms sales and aimed to promote commercial activities between Europe and Middle East.

Akram's son Mansour became enthralled by motor racing after a visit to the Monaco Grand Prix in 1978, as a guest of the Saudi royal family - which owned Saudia Airlines, Williams's sponsor at the time. Ojjeh's enthusiasm for the sport led to TAG becoming the Williams team's prinicpal sponsor in 1979. At the end of 1981 McLaren's Ron Dennis approached Mansour Ojjeh with the intention of luring him to McLaren as a partner rather than a sponsor and TAG continues to own shares in McLaren. TAG Heuer has been the official timekeeper of F1 since 1992.

In 1999 TAG decided to sell the TAG-Heuer brand to the luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy.