TAG Heuer has commemorated the 100th anniversary of one its most historically important timepieces with the launch of the 2016 Heuer Mikrograph 100th Anniversary. The new Mikrograph pays homage not to a historic Heuer wristwatch, but rather to Heuer’s Mikrograph stopwatch of 1916, the first stopwatch to time to 1/ 100th second precision.The new Mikrograph is designed to be worn as a wristwatch, used as a stopwatch and mounted on a car dashboard- the circular part of the watch slides out of the Carrera-style bullhead case and is sold with a matching table mount and dashboard mount- both of which we’ll show you shortly.TAG Heuer has used the Mikrograph name on several watches over the years, each of which has set a new benchmark in terms of timing precision.
1916 Mikrograph Stopwatch
The Mikrograph story begins in 1914 when Charles-Auguste Heuer began the Mikrograph project, with help from movement suppliers Valjoux and Minerva (today part of Montblanc) to create the Heuer 601 Kaliber. The ability to time to 1/ 100th of second transformed several fields, such as athletics, and led to Heuer being appointed at the official timer of the Olympic Games in 1920, 1924 and 1928. You can read more about these stopwatches here.
2002 TAG Heuer Micrograph
The Mikrograph name- now anglicised to Micrograph- returned in 2002 when TAG Heuer launched a new precision digital watch. While the early versions of the watch timed to 1/ 100th of a second (albeit this time with battery power), TAG Heuer upgraded the HR03 module to 1/ 1000th second, and renamed the watch the Microtimer, another famous names from Heuer’s timing past.
2011 Heuer Mikrograph
The mechanical Mikrograph (yes, back to the old spelling) returned in 2011 as the successor to TAG Heuer’s Calibre 360- the world’s first automatic chronograph capable of 1/ 100th second timing. While the Calibre 360 broke the 1/100th barrier, the movement was in fact a TAG Heuer developed chronograph module mated to a standard ETA base movement. The Mikrograph movement was different and altogether better- a twin-barrel, 100% in-house movement designed from the ground up. History will show this as one of the most interesting movement designs, as it also formed the basis for the 1/ 1000th Microtimer, the 5/ 10,000th Mikrogirder and a range of exotic tourbillon and pendulum movements.
The Mikrograph and Mikrograph Avant Garde were brilliant designs- the classic Carrera case combined with a heritage-style dial that paid homage to the original stopwatch design. It’s still in our view the best design to emerge from the design team led by Christoph Behling. And if the watch isn’t good-looking enough, just take a second look at that movement.
TAG Heuer Mikrograph CAR5A1A
The 2016 Mikrograph uses a 45mm steel bullhead case for the first time, a case style pioneered by the TAG Heuer Mikrogirder. The idea behind the Mikrogirder case was to combine a stopwatch and a wristwatch, which is why the case has an asymmetrical design. While the Mikrogirder looked as though you could remove the central case, you couldn’t- but you can with the new Mikrograph.
The new design gains an onion-style crown and a dial design based on the original 1916 stopwatch. Just as the new Monza borrows the precise font from the 1970s original, the Mikrograph repeats the trick. The use of the stopwatch-style dial makes reading the 1/100th increments simple.
- 3 o’clock- 60 seconds (chronograph)
- 9 o’clock- power reserve
- 12 o’clock- 30 minute counter (chronograph)
The running seconds counter of the 2011 Mikrograph, which sat at 9 o’clock on the dial, is gone.
Accessories- Dashboard Mount and Table Mount
Price and Availability- Mikrograph CAR5A1A
The 2016 Heuer Mikrograph 100th Anniversary is limited to 100 pieces, with a price of US$21,000- that’s less than half the price of the original 2011 Heuer Mikrograph. Expect the watch to go on sale in September, although with so few watches being made, they are likely to be may be all sold before they hit the stores.
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