Only a few years ago, the concept of a haute horlogerie (a French term that in essence means “high-end watchmaking”) TAG Heuer watch was a foreign one. It was only under the leadership of Jean-Christophe Babin in the mid-2000s that the company began to reactivate watchmaking skills that had long been dormant. Starting with the Monaco V4, TAG Heuer has set about not only showing off highly innovative concept watches, but backing these ideas up by turning those concepts into production models.
So where are these high-end watches made? As it turns out, each one is hand-made in the room you see below at TAG Heuer HQ in La Chaux de Fonds. And yes, that is the whole room.
While many of the production processes at TAG Heuer are assisted by various degrees of automation, each of the haute horlogerie watches are hand-built. And the watchmaker that makes your watch is the same watchmaker that will service the watch when it comes back to La Chaux de Fonds.
The tray above shows eleven of TAG Heuer’s haute horlogerie range, with the least expensive being the Heuer Mikrograph at USD50,000. Of course, regular readers will have seen each of these watches before, but it’s something else to be able to see these special pieces in the flesh. Here are the highlights.
TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph Avant Garde- CAR5A50
The newest model is this 2014 update to the Carrera Mikrograph, known as the Mikrograph Avant Garde. We showed you photos of this watch a couple of weeks ago, and these new photos show you how similar the case design is to the Mikrotimer (which we’ll come to later).
There is no doubting that the Mikrograph Avant Garde fits with the design theme of the bolder haute horlogerie range, but I have to say that I still prefer the original Mikrograph- the new design is more of an evolution of the Mikrotimer, rather than a development of the original to my eyes.
Heuer Carrera Mikrograph- CAR5041
And here is the original- the Heuer Mikrograph from 2012. This is the second Mikrograph model that has the Anthracite dial and leather strap. It’s still a large watch at 43mm, but noticeably smaller than the Mikrograph Avant Garde.
Carrera Mikrogirder 10000- CAR2C10
The central chronograph hand rotates so quickly that you can’t see it move…not surprising considering that the watch has a precision to 5/ 10,000th second. The watch that you see here is the production model, basically unchanged from the concept watch shown at Basel in 2012.
TAG Heuer MikropendulumS
Here is the watch that is without doubt the most ambitious watch ever produced by TAG Heuer- the Carrera MikroPendulumS. Not only is the watch a double Tourbillon, but the regulating mechanism of the movement is powered by TAG Heuer’s magnetic Pendulum system.
TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Carbon Matrix
Here is a special watch that we hadn’t heard of before- a new Limited Edition Monaco V4, of which 50 will be made. The Monaco V4 Carbon combines a Carbon Matrix case, with a combination of steel and Rose Gold highlights.
TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Rose Gold- WAW2040
The Rose Gold Monaco V4 was launched in 2010 and offered an update to the look of the original Monaco V4, with a larger case made from Rose Gold.
TAG Heuer Mikrotimer