Hands on Review- TAG Heuer Microtimer

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   21 January 2010   |   20 Comments  

It can be said that there are three types of watch collectors- the “traders”, the “flippers” and the “accumulators”. Accumulators will never sell a watch, even if it only gets worn once every leap-year. A flipper will buy today with the aim of wearing for a week, keeping the sticker on the back and then selling on at a profit. The trader, which describes how I collect watches, sits somewhere in the middle.

I never buy a watch with the sole intention of making a turn on it (which is just as well as I’d be very disappointed!), but I do sell watches that I don’t often wear- partly to  stop the collection getting too large, but mainly to help fund something new.

Trading may be the most sensible way of managing a collection, but the downside of being a trader is the regret that comes with selling a watch that you still like. Often a few months pass and you see the same model up for sale and your mind starts to drift towards buying it back.

I’ve  succumbed to this temptation only once- buying back the same model I had owned and sold…and sure enough a few months later I sold it again. Which watch? It might surprise you:  a TAG Heuer Microtimer.

Origins- TAG Heuer Micrograph

The TAG Heuer Microtimer began life as the TAG Heuer Micrograph back in 2002, and was named after the famous Heuer Mikrograph of 1916- the first stopwatch to offer 1/100 second accuracy.

The Micrograph was initially offered as a limited edition of 999 watches and carried marking noting that TAG Heuer was the official timekeeper of the FIA F1 World Championship.

Like the original Mikrograph, the TAG Micrograph (Ref. CS111B) was accurate to 1/100 of a second. The watch won the 2002 Best Design Award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve and there was enough interest to justify adding the watch to the permanent TAG Heuer catalogue, although not until the name was changed- to “Microtimer”.

As well as changing the name, TAG Heuer upgraded the quartz module to allow for accuracy to 1/1000 of a second and while this is an impressive technical achievement, there probably weren’t too many people who avoided the Micrograph because it lacked the ability to time within accuracy of 1/1000 of a second.

Apart from that, the TAG Heuer Microtimer (now Ref. CS111C) was basically the same watch as the Micrograph, although I have seen some speculate that the steel case differed slightly between the two models. From this single Microtimer, TAG Heuer have made a couple of other models, including two ladies versions- one with diamonds and the other on a white leather strap and with the LCD screen reversed (light background and dark numerals as against the original dark background and light numerals).

There was also this “Brazil” version of the Microtimer with a distinctive denim strap

Some eight years after its launch, the Microtimer is still going strong, although I’ve never had the feeling that its been a huge seller for TAG- however, it is a very distinctive, niche, cutting-edge design and is genuinely different to the rest of the TAG Heuer range. It was also a test-bed for the technology that TAG Heuer would later use in the Monaco 69 watch.

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