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Haute Horlogerie from TAG Heuer

How TAG Heuer are pushing boundaries with the new MikrotourbillonS and a host of other impressive timepieces.

22 August 2012

TAG Heuer's motto "Swiss avant-garde since 1860" is befitting of their new haute horlogerie collection. We take a look at their recent remarkable timepieces incuding the MikrotourbillonS. Arguably their most ambitious chronograph to date, it fits right in with their classics such as the Carrera, the Monaco, Autavia and the more recent Mikrograph.

The MikrotourbillonS is the first tourbillon 1/100th of a second chronograph that can be stopped and started thanks to a dual chain design. Jack Heuer himself describes it as: "A physical force and a machine so complex that it seizes your breath, with as many components - muscles and bones - as a human, and its own beautiful, tireless heart, pumping infinite energy from its impossibly intricate core". With two tourbillon mechanisms visible on the watch face, this is the first chronograph capable of certification-level precision timing. By separating the watch chain from the chronograph chain, TAG Heuer have overcome one of the greatest problems of chronograph design: to leave watch operation undisrupted by the function of the chronograph. The MikrotourbillonS is inspired by the 1963 Carrera, one of the TAG Heuer greats. The case is made of tantalum with rose gold horns and is finished off with a hand-sewn alligator strap.

The same dual chain architecture is present in all of their 'Mikro' timepieces, such as the Mikrotimer and the Mikrograph seen here. The 1916 Heuer Mikrograph made history by being the first stopwatch capable of timing to 1/100th of a second. Previously timing was only precise to 1/5th second. This limited edition re-incarnation of this historical piece is presented in a rose gold Carrera case. Beating at 28,800 and 360,000 beats per hour respectively only 150 pieces will be made of each.

Outside of the 'Mikro' watches is another familiar face but with a brand new mechanism. Over the past five years we have seen the development of the Monaco V4 concept watch, with that unmistakably bold and masculine watch face favoured by Steve McQueen. The Monaco V4 has taken five years to realise and the new mechanics replace the usual pinion and gear transmission with a belt-driven movement. The belts themselves are thinner than human hair and so ten times smaller than anything similar produced perviously. With the heritage of the Monaco behind it, it's no surprise that the cylinders, belts, and other parts of the movement resemble a high-performance racing engine.

At TAG Heuer haute horlogerie meets haute joaillerie as the masculinity associated with the brand gives way to more feminine forms. The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Lady Yin Yang is made of white gold with a yin-yang motif on the dial set with diamonds. In total, it contains 234 baguette diamonds and 245 brilliant cut diamonds. Grabbing headlines at this year's BaselWorld show, TAG Heuer unveiled their Link Lady collection with Cameron Diaz. The star piece was the TAG HeuerLink Lady Diamond Star Haute Couture concept watch. The dial seems to float in space and the automatic movement is housed in a rose gold case and bracelet set with 192 diamonds. A more futuristic take on women's jewellery watches is the Diamond Fiction concept watch, a mix of diamonds and LED technology that shows how avant-garde  TAG Heuer is.

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