First Look: TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph Avant Garde (Ref. CAR5A50)

Last Updated on June 22, 2019 by Calibre 11

With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see that the 2011 Heuer Mikrograph was the first shot in the TAG Heuer’s movement revolution. We showed you the very first photos of the new haute horlogerie chronograph live from its launch on a cold January morning in Geneva 2 ½ years ago. This was more than just a new watch- it was the showcase for TAG Heuer’s new high-end, in-house movement. The movement was designed around an innovative dual-chain platform that allowed for ultra high- precision chronograph without impacting the power reserve or accuracy of the watch.

Since that launch we’ve seen other chronographs follow: the Mikrotimer, Mikrogirder, MikrotourbillonS, MikroPendulum and MikropendulumS-  an amazing array of chronographs with precision ranging from 1/ 100th second to 5/ 10,000th of a second…and all have made it into production.

CAR5A50The Mikro platform is flexible enough to accommodate genuine breakthrough technology, from the use of micro-beams to regulate the movement, through to the first production watch regulated by magnets. All of these watches sprung from that original Mikrograph and all use the same base movement.

For 2014, TAG Heuer have designed a new watch called the Mikrograph Avant Garde- and one that abandons the vintage style of the original, instead offering a modern take on the Mikrograph theme.

Heuer Mikrograph 1916

Heuer Mikrograph 1916The original Mikrograph was a  revolutionary stopwatch launched by Heuer in 1916. It was the first time-piece to allow time to be measured to the precision of 1/ 100th of a second. Thanks to this technology, Heuer was invited to provide timing equipment to several Olympics games in the 1920s, as you can read here.

The Mikrograph remained at the heart of Heuer’s timing range until it was supplanted by electronic timers in the 1970s. Once phased out, the Mikrograph name was unused until the early 2000s when the first version of the digital TAG Heuer Microtimer was known as the Micrograph.

Heuer Mikrograph CAR5040- 2011

MIKROGRAPH_CAR5040.FC8177_Black_Background (1) - Version 3The 2011 Heuer Mikrograph features  a beautiful, classic design that is inspired by the layout of the  original stopwatch. Note that the markers on the dial are dedicated to showing the fractions of a second rather than the hour.

It’s a beautiful watch that combines a Rose Gold case with a Brown centre dial and cream outer-dial. Reflecting the heritage theme of the watch, the dial carries the “Heuer” logo rather than the TAG Heuer logo.

Heuer Mikrograph CAR5041- 2012

Mikrograph_Anthracite_CAR5041.FC8178Following the success of the first model, TAG Heuer followed up in 2012 with an anthracite Mikrograph. The only differences are the colours used on the inner-dial and the leather strap.

To our eyes, the Anthracite strap is a bit of a let down. Most of TAG Heuer’s Anthracite dials have a star-burst metallic finish, but on a leather strap its hard for the colour to appear as anything other than pale Grey.

 The other Mikrograph…

Monaco MikrographRegular readers will know that there was one other Mikrograph model- a special one-off Monaco Mikrograph made by TAG Heuer for the 2011 Only Watch auction. Read more about the Monaco Mikrograph here.

Design evolution

DoubleTake Result-2The 2014 Carrera Mikrograph (the first model to carry the Carrera name, even though the Mikrograph has always used the Carrera case) offers several changes over the 2011 model.

As you can see above, the crown and pusher design has changed, as has the design of the sub-dials. These were flat on the previous models, but now features an angled border, with azurage (the circular patterning) finish.

DoubleTake Result-1Given the more modern feel of the new Mikrograph, it makes sense that the 2014 model carries the TAG Heuer logo rather than the Heuer script of the original.

If you’ve got sharp eyes, you’ll also notice that while the dial still offers 5/ 100th second increments in place of the usual hour markers, the new model deletes the “05” and “95” markers.

MikrotourbillonS_Rose_Gold_CaseThere is no official confirmation on the details of the case, but I have heard that there was a plan to offer a larger case than the 43mm original. The case appears to be titanium carbide, with Rose Gold details. The design of the horns are similar to that of the MikrotourbillonS (above), but affixed directly to the case, as with the Mikrotimer.

TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph Avant Garde CAR5A50- 2014

TAG Heuer 2014 MikrographThe 2014 Mikrograph Avant Garde is a more modern design than the existing Mikrographs. While those watches played the heritage card, the new chronograph is bang up to date with the looks of other models in the TAG Heuer haute horlogerie range, such as the MikrotourbillonS below- note the same Rose Gold/ Black/ Anthracite colour scheme, stylised horns and Gold “100” at the top of the dial.


TAG Heuer Mikrograph Avant Garde II CAR5A53- 2014

TAG Heuer Mikrograph Avant Garde II CAR5A53A second version of the Mikrograph Avant Garde was released in late 2014, the only difference being a Gold bezel

Mikrograph movement

MIKROGRAPH_ECLATE_CAR5040.FC8177The Mikrograph movement remains largely unchanged- as a reminder, that means:

  • COSC certified
  • 62 jewels
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours (Watch); 90 minutes (Chronograph)
  • 2 Balance Wheels: 28’800 vibrations per hour (watch); 360,000 vibrations per hour (Chronograph)

TAG Heuer Mikrograph - 1If you get the chance to see the Mikrograph at a boutique, it’s definitely worth asking to see the chronograph in action, as the central chronograph hand rotates once around the dial every second.

Carrera Mikrograph Avant Garde- Price & Availability

TAG Heuer Mikrograph CollectionThe TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph Avant Garde will go on sale towards the end of this year as a 2014 model. Expect production to be limited to only a couple of hundred examples, and we understand that pricing will be around the CHF 50,000 mark in Switzerland


Photo Credits

All images courtesy of TAG Heuer

Dial and case comparison photos modified by Calibre 11

2011 vs. 2012 vs. 2014 models combined modified by Calibre 11