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Design Given its importance to the newly independent company, TAG Heuer could not afford to make a mistake with the Kirium, and so appointed renowned designer Jorg Hysek for the new watch. The Kirium was to replace the TAG Heuer series, the mid-range watch that had been part of the range since As you can see below, the Kirium Left shares the same basic look as the right , but with a more modern twist.
The bracelet was a return to simplicity, with its inter-locking links being far less complicated than the Series bracelet. In place of the baton-shaped hour markers of the were circular lume markers, shaped like drops of liquid metal.
The Kirium was not a large watch, either in diameter or thickness. All models came with a newly designed unidirectional bezel and domed Sapphire crystal, which gives the dial a more interesting feel than the flat glass used on other series of the day.
Two finishes were offered on the case and bezel- either brushed or polished steel, with some models using a combination of these finishes, as you can see on the watch below. While the watch is most commonly seen on its steel bracelet, the watch was also available with a vulcanised rubber strap, or a range of coloured calf-skin straps. To publicise the new range more broadly, there was also a series of fashion shoots by Herb Ritts that featured a range of athletes, including Boris Becker, Marion Jones, Colin Jackson and Marie-Jo Perec.
The Kirium Series While the Kirium range was offered with a variety of movements- mechanical, quartz analogue and quartz digital- the basic Kirium shape never changed throughout its year life. Kirium Quartz Watch At the heart of the Kirium range is the 3-hand quartz watch, perhaps the most elegant Kirium thanks to its clear, simple dial and thin case.
The quartz watch is the only Kirium to offer a red and green TAG Heuer logo and so is quickly identifiable- beware, as many fake Kiriums have the coloured logo, even if they are pretending to be a Chronograph. The design of the hands changed in , with the quartz watch switching to the design used by the quartz Chronograph since launch. More significant changes appeared in , when the colour logo was dropped in favour of a monochrome look and the dial design was updated.
Kirium Quartz Chronograph Unlike the series, the chronograph was available at launch. The quartz chronograph has a bespoke hand design, which would eventually make its way across the entire range. The quartz chronograph was discontinued in Kirium Automatic Chronograph The automatic Kirium chronograph was launched in , two years after the first Kirium models appeared.
TAG Heuer had begun to show at least some interest in mechanical movements by this time, in no small part due to the success of the Monaco and Carrera re-editions. The automatic chronograph was discontinued in Kirium Automatic Watch The Kirium Chronometer was part of the launch collection in and continued through to , when all mechanical Kiriums were discontinued.
The hands were changed in when the Chronometer switched to the sword-shaped hands of the Chronograph. This allowed the watch to look like a normal 3-hand watch when the chronograph was not being used, with the dial lighting up to reveal a series of other functions.
TAG Heuer offered the same movement in the Multigraph. The Kirium Formula 1 soldiered on for two years after the other Kirium models had been discontinued, and was part of the TAG Heuer range until Kirium Ti5 One of the most interesting Kirium models is the Kirium Ti5, first launched as a watch in and as a Chronograph in The case is made from Titanium, as is the deployant clasp on the rubber bracelet.
The Ti5 Kirium was only available with quartz movements, and with either a brushed or polished finish. Both the watch and chronograph were discontinued in This watch could only be a TAG Heuer. But, as mentioned in the introduction, it was also the end of an era. TAG Heuer set about reducing the number of series that it offered and began to focus more on mechanical movements and watches that echoed the heritage of Heuer.
There was no room for the Kirium, which all of a sudden did not fit where the TAG Heuer range was headed. Make no mistake, these are fine watches. The quality of the materials and finishes is several steps above the early s offerings and the Kirium is still a favourite of many collectors, with prices still very reasonable. When you think about s TAG Heuers that might one day be offered as a re-edition, the Kirium stands out as a watch with that potential.
To see more photos of this well-worn TAG Heuer Kirium quartz watch still in great condition after 15 years of hard, daily use , click here.
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