2012/07/04 - Tag Heuer the MikrotourbillonS, the Ultimate in High Precision Haute Horlogerie

AVANT-GARDE HAUTE HORLOGERIE 
BY TAG HEUER 

Traditional watchmaking challenged by pioneering engineers pushing science and art toward new boundaries of the possible

Avant-Garde Haute Horlogerie by TAG Heuer :


A Manifesto

A rich and specific culture. A professional ethic. An all-consuming passion.

Where the enduring expertise of the artisan confronts the trailblazing imagination of the engineer. Where knowledge and know-how meet and embrace a living history, centuries old.

At TAG Heuer, artisans work hand in hand with engineers to reinvent the future.

Different disciplines, one impulse.

To open eyes wide.

To set records, then smash them.

To shock those who say no into seeing yes.

To lure time and space, fractions of the immeasurable and unbounded, into their most breathtaking configurations.

More precisely: to be the best and the fastest, the most accurate and the most avant-garde.

This is Haute Horlogerie by TAG Heuer, a state of mind that exploits, side by side, the pioneering achievements of 17th century watchmakers and the most awe-inspiring technologies of today. TAG Heuer haute horlogerists do not reproduce the amazing achievements of their predecessors — the beautiful minds who set the conventional rules of classical haute horlogerie. Instead, by adopting and adapting the innovative approaches of their forerunners, and pushing these to the outer limits of the possible, they create the classics of tomorrow.

Through this visionary heritage, TAG Heuer has earned an asserted legitimacy as the acknowledged master of the technological vanguard of haute horlogerie. The brand’s strongly defined personality is esteemed by peers and fine watch connoisseurs alike.

This unique character has engendered the most innovative watches and chronographs ever created. TAG Heuer’s MIKROTOURBILLONS is one of them.


MASTERPIECES
MIKROTOURBILLON

TAG Heuer’s most ambitious luxury chronograph to date, the MikrotourbillonS is not only the world’s fastest tourbillon: it is the first ever tourbillon on a 1/100th of a second chronograph that can be started and stopped, an audacious timepiece of peerless precision and virtuosic savoir-faire

Even by TAG Heuer’s own pioneering metrics, the dual-chain, double-barreled MIKROTOURBILLONS, is entirely off-the-chart extraordinary. The first tourbillon chronograph capable of certification-level precision timing, it is by far the fastest, most accurate and most breathtakingly beautiful tourbillon ever imagined.

We call it a movement because that is what it does, at the same rhythm, around the clock. 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. One glance and you’re gone, down a vortex of transcendent wonder.” Jack Heuer

REANIMATING TOURBILLON TECHNOLOGY

A tourbillon (French for ‘vortex’ or ‘whirlwind’) is the most intricate and iconic complication in haute horlogerie. An elaborate mechanical system for regulating the speed at which a watch ‘beats’, this ingenious complication overcomes the effects of gravity by placing the movement’s balance wheel and escapement inside a rotating cage. Revolutionary when it was invented in 1801, modern precision techniques, many developed by TAG Heuer, have made it obsolete. Yet the tourbillon remains a classic ‘novelty’ feature of many high-end luxury watches because, in its ornate complexity, usually visible through a window in the dial, it is the ultimate attention getter—a showcase of watchmaker virtuosity.

Beautifully complex but slow, imprecise and unnecessary: for these reasons, TAG Heuer, the most precision-driven, performance-obsessed of all the high-end luxury Swiss watch houses, had never made a tourbillon escapement watch.

That is, until TAG Heuer’s Science & Engineering department, in its pursuit of zero-tolerance chronograph precision, took up the challenge of reinventing the tourbillon, making it not just a delight to look at but, like all TAG Heuer creations, unbelievably fast, precise, and avant-garde. The result is a mechanical wonder that breaks all records for speed and accuracy, and sets the stage for the first-ever dual-certifiable chronograph.

DOUBLING THE STAKES

The MIKROTOURBILLONS has two rotating tourbillon mechanisms visible on its dial face, one for time telling and one for timekeeping. The first beats at 4 hertz — 28,800 beats per hour — and controls the ISO 3159 compliant watch; its hand sweeps the dial at a standard tourbillon speed of once a minute. The second, the world’s fastest tourbillon, controls the 1/100th-of-a-second chronograph and is dynamically compensated to run at 50 hertz, meaning it beats at 360,000 beats per hour and rotates at a dizzying five seconds per revolution, or 12 times a minute. Another mind-numbing technical prowess: it has no cage and can be started and stopped thanks to the dual chain architecture.

UNIQUE 2-CHAIN ARCHITECTURE

Since 1969, the year TAG Heuer launched the world’s first automatic chronograph movement, coupling watch movement with chronograph function has become standard operation procedure. There is a serious “hitch”, however, with this isochronous system: its wheel chain gear system increases energy loss.

This is one of the greatest quandaries of chronograph design — how to keep chronograph operation from disrupting watch operation.

A first avenue of research led to the TAG Heuer Calibre 360 in March 2005 with its additional module for the chronograph. Then the answer came with the TAG Heuer Mikrograph 1/100th of a second Chronograph in January 2011, ingeniously outfitted with two independent kinematic chains — one for the watch and one for the chronograph, integrated in the same movement.

The MIKROTOURBILLONS is built with the same integrated movement with dual chain architecture, thereby eliminating the need for a clutch. Separating the watch chain from the chronograph chain eliminates the risks of the chronograph influencing the watch and vice-versa; but most importantly, it reduces energy loss and optimizes the precision of the chronograph’s regulating organ. This dual chain architecture allows the all “MIKRO” timepieces (MIKROTOURBILLONS, MIKROGIRDER, MIKROTIMER and MIKROGRAPH) to be ISO 3159 compliant across the board. The MIKROTIMER and the MIKROGRAPH are already COSC certified — i.e. with the chronograph function running, a feat virtually impossible to achieve by conventional mono-frequency chronographs.

A STUNNING RE-INTERPRETATION OF THE ICONIC CARRERA

The Carrera, TAG Heuer's iconic bestseller since 1963, was the obvious choice of case and finishing for this game-changing chronograph. The materials are noble: highly corrosive-resistant Tantalum with rose gold horns, sublime “Côte de Genève” decoration and a sumptuous, hand-sewn soft-touch strap in alligator. The chronograph minute counter is at 3 o’clock, chronograph seconds at 6 o’clock and a power reserve at 12 o’clock. The once-a-second central flying hand displays 1/10th and 1/100th increments. A single crown at 3 o’clock winds the watch and the chronograph — the rotor winds the barrel on the watch movement, while the chronograph is manually charged. In total, there are 439 components in the movement, many of which are patent pending and all but the two hairsprings built in-house at TAG Heuer’s manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Now TAG Heuer is working on a first-ever precision certification for chronographs to complement the COSC certificate for chronometers (watches).







Technical Specifications

MOVEMENT
  • 439 COMPONENTS 
  • MOVEMENT DIMENSIONS 
    • TOTAL DIAMETER: 35.8 mm (15 3/4’’’) 
    • TOTAL HEIGHT: 9.79mm 
  • FREQUENCY 
    • 2 TOURBILLONS: 
      • 28’800 VIBRATIONS PER HOUR/ 4 HERTZ (WATCH) / 1 TOURBILLON 
        • ROTATION EVERY MINUTE 
      • 360’000 VIBRATIONS PER HOUR/ 50 HERTZ (CHRONOGRAPH) / 1 
        • TOURBILLON ROTATION EVERY 5 SECONDS 
  • 75 JEWELS 
  • POWER RESERVE 
    • WATCH: 45 HOURS 
    • CHRONOGRAPH: 60 MINUTES 
  • PROPERTIES OF DISPLAY 
    • HOURS 
    • MINUTES 
    • CENTRAL HAND 1/100th OF A SECOND CHRONOGRAPH 
    • CHRONOGRAPH MINUTE AT 3 O’CLOCK 
    • CHRONOGRAPH SECOND AND 1/10TH OF A SECOND AT 6 O’CLOCK 
    • POWER RESERVE AT 12 O’CLOCK 
  • MECHANICAL FEATURES 
    • 1/100th SECOND CHRONOGRAPH FUNCTION 
    • 2 TOURBILLONS 
    • AUTOMATIC BI-DIRECTIONNAL REWINDINGMOVEMENT
DIAL
  • ANTHRACITE DIAL WITH CÔTE DE GENÈVE FINISHINGS FEATURING 2 COUNTERS 
    • CHRONOGRAPH MINUTES COUNTER AT 3 O’CLOCK 
    • CHRONOGRAPH SECOND COUNTER AT 6 O’CLOCK 
  • CHRONOGRAPH POWER RESERVE PERCENTAGE INDICATOR AT 12 O’CLOCK 
  • TWO TOURBILLONS VISIBLE FROM THE FRONT WITH SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) BRIDGES 
  • WHITE ARABIC NUMERALS AND HAND APPLIED SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) “100” AT 12 O’CLOCK 
  • POLISHED ANTHRACITE HOUR AND MINUTE HANDS WITH LUMINESCENT MARKERS 
  • SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) CENTRAL 1/100TH OF A SECOND CHRONOGRAPH HAND 
  • SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) CHRONOGRAPH HANDS (MINUTE AT 3 O’CLOCK AND SECOND AT 6 O’CLOCK), AND POWER RESERVE HAND AT 12 O’CLOCK. 
  • HAND APPLIED SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) TAG HEUER LOGO 
  • WHITE MIKROTOURBILLONS LETTERING 
  • 1/100th SCALE ON THE ANTHRACITE FLANGE 
CASE
  • CASE DIAMETER: 45MM 
  • BI-MATERIAL CASE : SANDBLASTED TANTALUM & SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) 
  • DOUBLE ANTIREFLECTIVE CURVED SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL 
  • SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) PUSH BUTTONS 
  • SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) CROWN WITH OVERMOLDED RUBBER 
  • SOLID ROSE GOLD (18K 5N) HORNS 
  • SANDBLASTED TANTALUM SAPPHIRE CASE BACK 
  • WATER-RESISTANCE: 100 METERS 
STRAP
  • HAND-SEWN ANTHRACITE HIGH-TECH SOFT TOUCH ALLIGATOR STRAP 
  • TANTALUM FOLDING CLASP WITH APPLIED TAG HEUER LOGO