First Look: Mikrotimer Flying 1000
Inside the Movement
The most interesting part of the Mikrotimer movement is this: there is no balance wheel system. TAG Heuer explain that instead it uses:
“a Launcher-Hub-Brake system controlled by a column wheel and made possible because of the increased rigidity of the spiral. “START” activates the launcher by putting it in solid contact with the radial escapement. “STOP” radially pushes the launcher onto the hub, instantly stopping the movement of the spring.”
The movement is a development of the 50hz Mikrograph movement (About 2/3rds of the movement is carried over), using the same dual-assortment system. The importance of having two assortments can not be overstated. A single assortment, as used on most watches, means that the Chronograph drains power from the watch. Repeated use of the Chronograph will eventually start to impact the accuracy of the watch and push it outside COSC-standards. The two assortments addresses this problem, and having this basic layout patented, TAG Heuer pushed the concept to the extreme- 500hz.
The movement has 354 components and a 43 hour-power reserve for the watch and 150 seconds for the chronograph
History of the TAG Heuer Mikrotimer
1966 Heuer Microtimer
The Microtimer (with a “c”) created a revolution when it was released in 1966- the world’s first timer with 1/1000th second accuracy.
It was with the development of the Microtimer- led by Jack Heuer- that launched Heuer into the world of Formula 1, a relationship that is central today.
In 2003 TAG Heuer released this Microtimer- a development of the Micrograph of 2002. To confuse you further, while this TAG Heuer Microtimer is a development of the Micrograph, the new Mikrotimer is a development of the Mikrograph. Still with me?
The watch was the first watch to achieve 1/ 1000th accuracy, but electronically rather than mechanically. You can read about the Microtimer here.
Price and Availability
The good news is that the Mikrotimer Flying 1000 has been commercialised and will go on sale in October 2011. To see more information on price and when the watch will be on sale, take a look here at Calibre 11‘s exclusive interview with Jean Christophe Babin on the development of the watch.
To say that TAG Heuer are proud of the Flying 1000 is an understatement. All of the team that I met in La Chaux de Fonds have been working day and night to get this new watch ready on time and it really is a technical marvel. Its worth again stating that when Jean Christophe Babin joined TAG Heuer around 10 years ago, the company did not make a single movement and relied 100% on ETA. Putting hyperbole aside, there is no other company today with the breadth of in-house high-precision movements that TAG Heuer has:
- Calibre V (Monaco V4)
- Mikrograph (1/100th mechanical- Mikrograph)
- Calibre HR03 (1/1000th digital- Microtimer)
- Mikrotimer (1/1000th mechanical)
And this list is before you add in the Calibre S and Calibre 1887. Quite an achievement and one which is shifting people’s perceptions of what TAG Heuer is all about.
Launch Press Conference
Below with the new Mikrograph are Jack Heuer (left), TAG Heuer CEO Jean Christophe Babin (centre) and Guy Sermon (VP Sciences & Engineering)