Conceived, developed and manufactured in-house in the company’s R&D lab in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the MIKROGIRDER is the fastest mechanical regulator ever crafted and tested. Accurate to an unprecedented 5/10,000 or 1/2,000th of a second, the MIKROGIRDER is a completely new regulator system — a coupling beam/girder and excitatory beam/girder system working with a linear oscillator (versus a spiral shape in a classical hairspring) that vibrates isochronously at a very small angle, as opposed to a traditional watch, which vibrates at an angle of up to 320 degrees.
The advantages are numerous. In a classic spiral hairspring system, the effect of gravity due to mass is a dominant issue. With the MIKROGIRDER, the problem no longer even exists. There is no loss of amplitude and the movement’s frequency can be modulated on a very large spectrum of frequency without overburdening the power supply. The result is a significant increase in precision (division of time) and performance (frequency accuracy and stability). The MIKROGIRDER energy performance will enable TAG Heuer chronographs to attain ultra-high frequencies never before dreamed possible. Ten patents are pending on this breakthrough.
The MIKROGIRDER’s dual frequency system ensures precision and chronometry through 2 independent chains. As there is no possibility of interference between “normal speed” and “high speed”, there is better precision and accuracy. The power reserve is improved, too, and wear and tear dramatically reduced, as “high speed” is “on demand” instead of being always engaged. Finally, the dual frequency system offers the ultimate in readability.The smallest fraction of time — 1/100th, 1/1,000th and ½,000th (5/10,000) of a second — is displayed on a central hand that does a complete revolution around the dial a mind-boggling 20 times per second. Furthermore, and like the Mikrotimer Flying 1000, the dial display allows a quick and easy reading of the incredible measurement thanks to 3 scales, 2 external and one at 6 o’clock allowing to read 5/10,000 or 1/2,000ths of a second.
True to its “Technology and Design” DNA, TAG Heuer has embedded this mechanical engineering masterpiece in a new stunning asymmetric chronograph case design. Though the placement of the crown at 12 o’clock is inspired by the 1/100th of a second Heuer stopwatches of the 1920s, the overall design is decisively avant-garde. The unconventional shape and wide opening makes for easier reading, while the dial design allows one to see the beam/girder regulator system “at work”. A new Concept masterpiece from TAG Heuer, it could very well become a commercial piece like most of its Concept predecessors of the last 10 years, including the Monaco V4, the Calibre 360, the Monaco 24, the Mikrograph 100, and, since the end of 2011, the Mikrotimer Flying 1000.
TAG Heuer Concept History
In 2010, TAG Heuer presented the Grand Carrera Pendulum Concept, the world’s first-ever mechanical regulator to replace a conventional hairspring with magnets. Following TAG Heuer’s Calibre 360 Chronograph (2005), which beats at 50Hz and measures and displays to the 1/100th of a second, the 6Hz Pendulum Concept, which is still under development, confirmed TAG Heuer’s position as the unrivalled pioneer of high frequencies.
In 2011, TAG Heuer launched the MIKROTIMER FLYING 1000, the world’s first 500hz mechanical chronograph. A revolutionary mechanical chronograph regulator without any balance wheel system and equipped with two escapements, the Mikrotimer’s beats 3.6 million times per hour, making it 125 times faster than a standard Swiss chronograph. Its central chronograph hand completes a full rotation 10 times per second. Now being successfully commercialized, the Mikrotimer was voted the 2011 Swiss Sports Watch of the Year at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix. The victory marked the 7th time in 10 years that TAG Heuer was singled out by the Geneva jury for its engineering and design prowess.
Now comes the pioneering MIKROGIRDER, the Swiss legend’s greatest achievement in watchmaking engineering to date, a game-changing technology which promises to completely revolutionize the very heart of the watch — the regulator. More than the Pendulum or the Mikrotimer, the MIKROGIRDER represents a total departure from the conventional, 3-centuries-old Christiaan Huygens system, which today still reigns over the mechanical watch industry.
TAG Heuer has demonstrated how to run a product innovation cycle, this the third year of bringing new technology in a concept watch, each building on the year before it. Way to go JC Babin and team. Calibre 11 brings the scoop on the new Mikrogirder 2000 ultra high frequency concept watch:
Meet the TAG Heuer Mikrogirder 2000 Concept watch- a dual-assortment, ultra high-beat watch with a Chronograph beating at 7.2 million times every hour, meaning that the watch can time events to 5/ 10,000th of a second. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the new TAG Heuer Mikrogirder is not that TAG Heuer have put out a watch twice as fast as the Mirkotimer- it’s the fact that they’ve done it with a movement that- again- reinvents mechanical movements. The 2011 Mikrotimer had no balance wheel. The 2009 Pendulum had no hairspring. The 2012 Mikrogirder has neither.
Get more pics, full background and discussion @Calibre 11.
TAG Heuer Mikrogirder 2000
5/10,000th of a second accuracy (1/2000th aka “2000″ on dial),
“bullhead” design (pushers, crown at top)
TAG Heuer insider blog Calibre 11 brings us a special first look at some great looking new Formula 1 racing watches coming in 2012 from TAG Heuer (official unveiling @ Baselworld 2012). A fairly dramatic redesign from previous models, I immediately noticed that the new Formula 1 features a sleeker, more refined look — particularly the bezel and the case finishing (now brushed steel with some polished elements) — major positive improvements from prior models. The hour markers are also “applied” rather than printed — another notable change that significantly improves the look of the watch. This said, keep in mind that the TAG Heuer Formula 1 has always been an “entry-level” luxury timepiece so the movement is (and continues to be) quartz. All in all, you are getting some nice upgrades to the series, and I expect this watch to be well received by watch enthusiasts who want “brand name” on their wrists rather than something that is horologically and mechanically interesting.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Watch
42mm steel case, black or white dial
There are also other new models (chronograph, alarm watch), which you should check out over at Calibre 11.
The Heuer 844 Monnin is the first dedicated dive watch from Heuer. So says Heuerville, a new blog I discovered today (via another good dive watch blog, Dive (into) Watches). And what a looker this Heuer 844 Monnin watch is, from the personal collection of the man behind Heuerville — who has given us a thorough recap of the story behind the Heuer Monnin dive watch. Here’s how the story starts:
Back in the mid-late 70’s, Heuer received numerous requests at various trade shows for a (moderately) affordable high quality divers watch. Heuer took note, and saw an opportunity – something welcomed during the quartz crisis, when many Swiss watch companies were disappearing down the pan. Heuer too were in trouble, so they decided to dip their toe into the divers market. Not really knowing how they would sell, Heuer outsourced prototype production to G. Monnin in France….and the rest, as they say, is history.
Heuer Fans — you absolutely must click through and read the full story on the Heuer 844 Monnin and see all of this guy’s amazing pics. And a final thought — I am humbled and reminded as to why I rarely write about vintage watches here at Perpetuelle — the knowledge base of vintage-oriented blogs like Heuerville (and Calibre 11) is truly impressive.
Heuer 844 Monnin
circa 1979, restored
42mm steel case, automatic mechanical Felsa FE 4611A movement
Note the French spelling of ‘Professionel’ and ‘Made in France’ script:
TAG Heuer insider blog Calibre 11brings us a first look at two new TAG Heuer Monaco McQueen editions. For now I’m going to focus on my favorite of the two, the TAG Heuer Monaco Steve McQueen Calibre 11. According to Calibre 11, this watch is “based on the traditional 39mm Monaco case, and like other Vintage Monaco editions, uses the Heuer logo and has the crown on the left-hand side of the case.” One other interesting tidbit I picked up from Calibre 11′s excellent and thorough review of the new Calibre 11 McQueen is that the Calibre 11 movement is no longer based on ETA movements. The movement is now apparently based on the Sellita SW-300 Calibre (very similar to the ETA 2892 base formerly used in the Calibre 11 movements) — this coming directly from the mouth of TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin. The Steve McQueen Caliber 11 will be available exclusively in TAG Heuer boutiques starting in a few weeks. In Switzerland, the McQueen Calibre 11 price will be CHF 7,700 (US Dollar price to be provided when available). Again — TAG Heuer junkies will want to be sure and click through for the full backstory on this watch over at Calibre11. Here it is…a real beauty…
TAG Heuer Steve McQueen Calibre 11
automatic mechanical movement, blue calf-leather strap
by Kyle Stults on May 31, 2011
The 100th Indy 500 race was this past weekend, marking a major milestone for the race that has become an icon of American sports culture. While it was Jorg Gray ambassador and driver Alex Tagliani who started the race from the coveted “Pole Position”, it was Team Bryan Herta Autosport driver Dan Wheldon who took the checkered flag. In addition to his $2.6 million cash prize for winning the Indy 500 race, Wheldon was also presented with a limited edition TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 Centennial Chronograph (pictured below), the “Official Watch of the Indy 500.” And now you too can own this watch — the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 Centennial Chronograph watch is available at Tourneau and other TAG Heuer dealers with list price of $1,650. Not a bad looking watch!
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 Centennial Chronograph
Limited edition of 1,000 (individually numbered)
44mm stainless steel case, fixed polished bezel, 200 meter water resistance, brushed steel bracelet
dial: “brickyard” pattern, Indy 500 Cenennial logo
by Kyle Stults on May 30, 2011
Let the Only Watch 2011 Charity Auction Previews begin! The TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph is a very special watch featuring two of the very best elements of TAG Heuer. First is the “Monaco” watch design, a square case style with a strong racing heritage that TAG Heuer has so strongly revived in recent years. Second compelling element is the use of TAG Heuer’s new “Mikrograph” movement, the first movement capable of 1/100th second accuracy — an amazing feat for a mechanical watch. As of right now, this makes the one-and-only TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph the only other watch to use the new Mikrograph movement — the first being the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph which was introduced a couple months ago at Baselworld 2011. Yes, it’s a pretty busy dial (see our sub-dial break-down bel0w), but I think this adds to the awesomeness of the watch.
TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph Watch for ONLY WATCH 2011
43mm steel case, “Only Watch 2011″ engraved rotor (see-through display back)
The complications of the chronograph, as described by Calibre 11, are as follows:
Image: Calibre 11
- 12 o’clock sub-dial: The Chronograph power reserve
- 3 o’clock sub-dial: Chronograph elapsed minutes with three hands (0/10/20) mounted on a rotating disc (in the photo above, 25 minutes have elapsed)
- 9 o’clock sub-dial: Watch elapsed seconds with three hands (0/20/40) mounted on a rotating disc (in the photo above, almost 50 seconds have elapsed)
- 6 0′clock sub-dial: Chronograph elapsed seconds (with a double-ended needle showing 0-30 seconds on the outer counter/ large needle and 31-60 seconds on the inner counter/ small needle)
- The flying central hand (with the open circle) indicates the 100th of a second which is read off the inner sapphire disc that reads 0-100. At the other end of the Flying central hand is a “/100″ engraving is laser-cut by hand
“Only Watch” is a biennial charity auction of one-of-a-kind watches created by many of the most renowned watch brands in Switzerland. This exceptional event is held every two years in Monaco during the Monaco Yacht Show and is under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II. All the proceeds from Only Watch go to support Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research which is why many of these watches go extraordinarily high prices.
Starting today Perpetuelle will begin its coverage of Only Watch 2011. Stay tuned in because over the next few months, you will get to see awesome “piece unique” watches from each of the participating brands for the 2011 event:
Click through to see our in-depth preview of each watch:
- Harry Winston Midnight GMT Tourbillon
- Patek Philippe Ref 3939A Minute Repeater
- Urwerk UR-103 “Phoenix”
- Romain Jerome “Rock the Rock”
- Hublot Oceanographic 4000m dive watch
- MB&F HM-4 “Flying Panda”
- TAG Heuer “Monaco Mikrograph”
- Bell & Ross Pink Gold “Casino”
- Louis Vuitton Tambour Diver Chronograph
- Blancpain Villeret Grand Decoration
- Piaget Altiplano Skeleton
- Breguet Reveil Musical Watch
- Audemars Piguet Gstaad Classic
- Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute
- Van Cleef & Arpel “From the Earth to the Moon” Watch
- Girard-Perregaux ww.TC
- Corum Golden Bridge Automatic Titanium
- Vulcain Anniversary Heart Watch
- Chanel J12 Marine Watch
- Franck Muller “Totally Switzerland”
- Ulysse Nardin Freak Diavolo
- Vacheron Constantin “Dove” Watch (M.C. Escher-inspired)
- Zenith El Primero “Destro” watches
- Montblanc Villeret 1858 Pulsograph
- Ikepod Red Hourglass by Marc Newson
- Bovet Fleurier, Celsius, Chaumet, Chopard, De Bethune, Delacour, De Witt, Frédérique Constant, Hermès, Laurent Ferrier, Maurice Lacroix, Richard Mille
Only Watch 2011 will be held September 24, 2011 and managed by watch auction house Antiquorum. But you don’t have to wait this long — because part of the excitement leading up to the September 24, 2011 event is the release of each participating brand’s special edition watch.
ONLY WATCH 2009
If you are interested in looking back, I covered the Only Watch 2009 auction extensively including blogging about several of my favorites inlcluding: Piaget Emperador Coussin, MB&F Sage Vaughn HM-2, Bovet 3-in-1 Mona Lisa Watch, Tourneau Jump Hour, Louis Vuitton Tambour, Chanel J12 Joallerie with pink sapphire, and Blancpain 500 Fathoms. The Only Watch 2009 auction was hosted by Patrizzi & Co.
New for 2011, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 “Orange” is actually not a new model, but rather a slightly different take on TAG Heuer’s popular Formula 1 series. The Formula 1 collection is TAG Heuer’s “entry level” model — a sporty, but basic watch (quartz movement) — and affordable, too. With an estimated retail price of $1,200, this is about as low as you can go while still getting a watch bearing an iconic brand such as TAG Heuer. The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Orange will hit display cases everywhere in June, available on a rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet, both pictured.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Orange (rubber strap)
On another note — there is now a very interesting dynamic between quartz and mechanical at sub-$1,500 price points, and this watch is a good example. As I see it, above the $1,500 price point the watch consumer can now clearly value mechanical movements over quartz movements, but below this price point it’s not so clear. There seems to be a fierce battle between both types of movements at sub-$1,500 prices — but I think that quartz is slowly but surely but being devalued at higher price points, giving way to watches with mechanical movements. In a few more years, it will be interesting to see the state of the market for watches quartz movements at prices above $1,000. I, for one, see quartz continuing to be de-valued by the consumer, and thus relegated further and further down the value chain. Back where it belongs…hehehe
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Orange (steel bracelet)
TAG Heuer is set to release a series of special edition Monaco models in 2011, the first of which you see here today: the TAG Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Racing (Ref. CAL5112). This square cased watch sports silver and orange dial-tones, with a Calibre 36 automatic mechanical movement that is suspended between four shock-absorbing arms (you can see one in each corner of the case) for added shock absorption and visual appeal. The TAG Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Racing is the first addition to the Monaco Twenty Four series since the striped Monaco Gulf which debuted in 2009. As on the Monaco Gulf, the oversized number “24” at 12 o’clock pays tribute to the LeMans, most famous endurance race in the world. The new TAG Heuer Monaco 24 Racing watch price is near $15,000 and will be sold through TAG Heuer boutiques. Via: Calibre 11, which also has some good “live looks” if you are interested.
Monaco Twenty Four Racing Calibre 36
40.5mm stainless steel case, Calibre 36 movement (El Primero base)
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