MikrotourbillonS PR CAR5A51.FC6323

MikrotourbillonS- Full Details

Three months after the first images of the TAG Heuer MikrotourbillonS leaked out at Baselworld, we can show you detailed photos of the final watch: the first Tourbillon- in fact a double tourbillon- produced by Heuer/ TAG Heuer.

The MikrotourbillonS (as TAG Heuer insist on spelling the name to emphasis that the watch has two tourbillons) movement is yet another development of the high-precision “Mikro” platform that powers the range of ultra-high frequency Chronographs, ranging from the 1/ 100th second Mikrograph through to the 2/ 10,000th Mikrogirder. The Mikro platform is a dual-frequency movement with two barrels- one for the watch and one for the Chronograph.

CAR5A51.FC6323_TAG_HEUER_CARRERA_MIKROTOURBILLON_MOOD_PACKSHOT_2013We have seen that TAG Heuer has experimented with a range of technologies to regulate the Mikro movements, for example the small vibrating metal beams in the Mikrogirder. This time, TAG Heuer regulates the movement with one of the most famous complications of all- the tourbillon. For a quick refresher on what a tourbillon is, click here.

Design

While the movement inside the MikrotourbillonS is quite radical, the watch itself is relatively conventional- a 45mm Carrera case finished in Rose Gold. Adding contrast to the Rose Gold is a black metal called Tantalum- an exotic metal used in the capacitors of many modern electronics. Tantalum is mainly found in Western Australia and is highly resistant to corrosion.

The dial consists of two halves- the right side is finished in an anthracite Côtes de Genève pattern, and houses the sub-dials and power reserve indicator, while the left side is dedicated to the two tourbillons.

The dials on the MikrotourbillonS are as follows:

  • 3 o’clock: Chronograph minutes
  • 6 o’clock: Chronograph seconds
  • 12 o’clock: Power reserve indicator

The Central flying hand (shown below) displays 1/10th and 1/100th second increments.

A further feature of the MikrotourbillonS is the crown, which charges both the watch and the Chronograph, depending on the direction that it is wound.

Movement

The movement is the key part of this watch and what makes it special. The MikrotourbillonS uses two tourbillons- one to regulate the time, and one to regulate the Chronograph.

Like the other Mikro movements, the escapement for the watch vibrates at a conventional 28,000 vibrations per hour (4hz). The regulation for the watch is provided by a tourbillon which rotates once every minute.

The Chronograph escapement vibrates at 360,000 vibrations per hour (50hz) and is regulated by a tourbillon that rotates once every 5 seconds (making it the fastest tourbillon in the world), allowing a precision of 1/ 100th second. Power reserve is 45 hours for the watch and 60 minutes for the Chronograph.

And who makes this movement? TAG Heuer say that there are 439 components in the MikrotourbillonS movement, with 437 of them being made in-house. The only components purchased are the two hairsprings. Below are shots of the 50hz Wheel from the Chronograph and one of the Bridges from the watch.

 Haute Horology

The MikrotourbillonS has been developed by TAG Heuer’s engineers and watchmakers, a team that is now 40-people strong. The Haute Horlogerie team now hand-make the following watches at La Chaux-de-Fonds:

  • MikrotourbillonS
  • Mikrotimer
  • Mikrograph
  • Monaco V4
  • Monaco Twenty-Four
  • Formula 1 Lady Yin Yang

To commemorate the launch of the MikrotourbillonS, TAG Heuer released a series of photos highlighting different aspects of its Haute Horlogerie range, which you see below.

Monaco V4

“Micro-blade” regulator from Mikrogirder

Assembling the Mikrotimer

 A Glorious Irrelevance?

One of the questions that will be asked about the Mikrotourbillon is this: What’s the point? Why go to the trouble of designing a tourbillon, which has huge complexity and cost, for little real-world benefit in terms of regulating a movement? Why offer a Chronograph with 1/ 100th second precsion? Who will use that?

To me, these questions miss the point. If practical was all you needed, then none of us would own a watch, because we’d just use a mobile phone. Haute Horology is about pushing the boundaries of watch-making and showing what’s possible with a little imagination. Think of the MikrotourbillonS as the Bugatti Veyron  for your wrist- a “glorious irrelevance” (as the Veyron was called) if you like. And just like a Veyron, a small number of well-heeled buyers will be able to own one.

TAG Heuer’s clear ambition is to prove itself as the brand for high-precision, innovative Chronographs- and the range that has been launched over the last 18 months- Mikrograph, Mikrotimer, Mikrogirder and now MikrotourbillonS-  is quite staggering for both its ambition and speed of development.

Will any of this R&D find its way into mainstream watches? Perhaps not directly, but it does build TAG Heuer’s in-house watchmaking capability. We’ll get a chance to see what this skill means for mainstream movements when the Calibre 1888 is launched at Basel 2013.

Price and Availability- TAG Heuer MikrotourbillonS

During last month’s exclusive interview with Jean-Christophe Babin, we discovered that the MikrotourbillonS will go on sale in Q4 2012, with an expected price of around CHF220,000. Despite this lofty price, more than 20 were ordered during Baselworld back in March.

The TAG Heuer MikrotourbillonS is not a Limited Edition- TAG Heuer will make these to order, so don’t expect to see them sitting around your local Authorised Dealer. 

If you had have asked most watch collectors even five years ago whether TAG Heuer was capable of making a tourbillon, the answer would have been a clear “no”. Now, most of us are asking “What’s Next?”

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  • Mark

    You know what? I like it. I like the materials, it looks modern and technical, the use of a mid-grey font is restrained and means they can get away with a bit more text than I’d usually go for. I was worried before about uncaged tourbillons looking a bit odd, but having them open like this with enough dial cut away to show them cleanly works better in a modern watch than a lot of the tourbillon watches with peepholes and over-elaborate, fussily-decorated tourbillons.

    If they do a V2, I’d suggest care because there is very little they can change here without it going the wrong way. I think the only thing I’d change is the font for the S – looks a bit sketchy at the moment. I’d probably opt for the same font as used in MIKROTOURBILLON, only a point size or two larger or maybe highlighted in the rose gold rather than the grey.

    One of my favourites in the Mikro range for sure – I’d have to review them all together to decide whether it would be THE favourite.

  • DC

    I'm interested to hear that Mark: I think my favourite is the Mikrograph followed by the Mikrotimer. I love the classical style of the Mikrograph, while the Mikrotimer is as modern as the Mikrograph is vintage. We need to find a time to get the four together for a proper look!

    I'm not a big fan of Skeleton watch dials, although hiding those two tourbillons behind a dial wouldn't make any sense at all.

    You're right about the text- does it really need to say "High Frequency Precision Double Tourbillon"?

    dc

  • KGC Buddhika

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Could you advice where I could buy this product Sri Lanka ?

  • DC

    Hi- not sure…best to contact your local authorised dealer.

    dc

  • TaMatt

    Great Tag Heuer timepiece. Love that gold mixed with black leather. I want this watch 😉

  • Lisa

    What is the price

  • DC

    CHF220,000

  • Shahjahan khokher

    hi, i have mikrotourbillions watch but i am totally confused how to see time on it, it seems soo difficult, kindly somebody explain it to me.