TAG Heuer McLaren MP4-12C

As those of you who love cars will know, McLaren Automotive will launch its MP4-12C sportscar in 2011, its first new model since the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and, you could argue, its first proper car since the seminal McLaren F1 of 1992.

The good news is that just like the McLaren F1 and the SLR, TAG Heuer will produce a watch to commemorate the new model- the bad news is that the watch will only be available to those who buy the car.

The TAG Heuer McLaren MP4-12C will be launched as part of the pre-Basel package, meaning that we won’t see any official photos for a few months yet, however thanks to Shelton Kwan, an eagle-eyed McLaren and TAG Heuer enthusiast, we have a sneak preview of the new watch.

What you see in the image below (a screen capture from a promotional video) is the ghostly image of the TAG Heuer MP4-12C

So what can we tell/ guess from this image?

  • Carbon-fibre dial: not surprising when you consider that the car features a carbon-fibre composite chassis (that’s what the “C” in the name indicates)
  • The centre of the watch (near the TAG Heuer logo) appears to be sunken below the rest of the dial, or made from a different material- perhaps a see-through crystal?
  • Appears to have a Grande Date function at 12 o’clock (interesting to see the “08”  and what looks like a “0” and a “9” above that window- not sure how that will work?
  • Black tachy bezel- inside the dial or an external bezel?
  • The watch is a chronograph- but which movement? My guess is that the watch will use the new “Mikrograph” movement, which is a development of the Calibre 360. As Jean-Christophe Babin told us in March, the Mikrograph is a new, 100% in-house TAG Heuer movement, offering 1/100th second accuracy, but this time with an integrated movement rather than the Calibre 360, which mounts the TAG Heuer chronograph module on an ETA base.

It will be interesting to see whether TAG Heuer will base the MP4-12C on an existing TAG Heuer design, or whether like the original SLR, a bespoke design is used. If it’s not a bespoke model, I’d guess that it will be based on the new Carrera Mikrograph, which is also due for a Basel 2011 release.

So apart from the image above, it’s a lot of guess-work at the moment, but it will be exciting to follow the news of the watch as we get closer to March 2011.

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Photo: McLaren; Shelton Kwan