Watching Tesla

In March, Tesla Motors used the platform at the Geneva International Motor Show to debut the TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster, a one-off version of its $128,000 Roadster Sport, the hotly debated two-seat exotic sports car that can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds—and can be recharged from an electric outlet in the owner’s garage. During a presentation at the annual Baselworld horology tradeshow, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, flanked by Tesla founder Elon Musk and actor/environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, announced that the car would serve as an Olympic Torch of sorts, leading a tour around the world to present TAG’s latest concept watch, the Grand Carrera Pendulum, during a touring road show dubbed “Odyssey of Pioneers.” The “pioneer” name is fitting; the Tesla Roadster is the first electric supercar, and the Pendulum timepiece forgoes the traditional hairspring found in timepieces and instead utilizes a radical new power regulation technology based on magnets. The Odyssey of Pioneers tour has completed stops in Monaco, Milan and Moscow, and soon will head to Delhi, Shanghai, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, London, and finally Paris.

The one-of-a-kind TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster has the same body as a typical Tesla, but it features a complex, five-layer paint job in Foucault Field Gray, complemented by pin-striping and precision-designed TAG-themed vinyl wraps, influenced by the imagined arc of a pendulum in honor of the watch’s name. Inside, Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla Motors’ senior design executive, integrated several unique design concepts inspired by TAG’s 150-year history. “There are a lot of very bespoke, one-off elements of the car that are unique to this vehicle,” he explains. For example, the center console features a TAG one-fifth second limited edition stopwatch and a Meridiist mobile phone, as well as the Grand Carrera Pendulum concept watch, displayed in a specially designed box.

In addition to promoting TAG’s concept watch and the brand’s anniversary, part of Tesla’s mission behind the Odyssey tour is to demonstrate the daily usability of the Roadster to markets that may not be familiar with the car. “We still see that people don’t really believe that electric cars are here right now,” explains von Holzhausen. “And when we show up with an actual vehicle, and they see it drive under its own power, it’s still a jaw-dropping moment for a lot of people. But you just need to be behind the wheel of a Roadster for five minutes before you realize that this really is the future.”