First Look: TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph

TAG Heuer have launched this very special Monaco Mikrograph at the 2011 Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. The watch is a one-off creation that will be auctioned at the Only Watch Charity auction in September.

This is the second watch to use the new in-house Mikrograph movement. As a quick refresh, the Mikrograph is the first movement capable of 1/100th second accuracy, which it achieves through an innovative dual-barrel system. The first assortment powers the watch and features a 42-hour power reserve, while the second is dedicated to the Chronograph and features a balance wheel oscillating at 50 hertz (360,000 vibrations per hour) and a 90-minute power reserve. You can read more about TAG Heuer’s Mikrograph movement here.

Design Overview

The watch uses a 43mm stainless steel case that is a blend between the traditional Monaco case and the more modern case design of the Monaco Twenty-Four. It’s an attractive mix of the two generations of design, and it wouldn’t surprise to see this case used on future models. The watch also features “double-pusher” Chrono. pushers which are unique to this model, as is the crown.

At the back, the watch features the now obligatory sapphire case back, with “Only Watch 2011” engraved on the oscillating weight.

Monaco MikrographThe strap is “Barenia” black leather, a high quality calfskin that is used extensively by high-end fashion brands such as Hermes.

Monaco Mikrograph Detail

How to read the Dial

While the watch shares the same dial layout as the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph, it’s a much more complex mixture of dials, discs and hands featuring alternating black lacquer and silver opaline finishes

Starting at the centre of the watch is a disc that shows the time- the watch hours and minutes. These short, stubby hands, coated in titanium carbide, are quite unlike anything seen on a TAG Heuer before.

The complications of the Chronograph are as follows:

  • 12 o’clock sub-dial: The Chronograph power reserve
  • 3 o’clock sub-dial: Chronograph elapsed minutes with three hands (0/10/20) mounted on a rotating disc (in the photo above, 25 minutes have elapsed)
  • 9 o’clock sub-dial: Watch elapsed seconds with three hands (0/20/40) mounted on a rotating disc (in the photo above, almost 50 seconds have elapsed)
  • 6 0’clock sub-dial: Chronograph elapsed seconds (with a double-ended needle showing 0-30 seconds on the outer counter/ large needle and 31-60 seconds on the inner counter/ small needle)
  • The flying central hand (with the open circle) indicates the 100th of a second which is read off the inner sapphire disc that reads 0-100. At the other end of the Flying central hand is a “/100” engraving is laser-cut by hand

..and a very special box

In case the watch itself wasn’t special enough, The TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph also comes with a unique box created by South African artist Paul du Toit. This is not one of those boxes that you thrown out when you get your one-off Monaco back to your yacht- in 2009, a mould of Mr Mandela’s boxing hand-made by du Toit was auctioned in London for $3.5m.

Price and Availability

Well, there is only one of these watches and the price is sure to be something special, given that the box alone will be highly collectible. Following a world tour in the first two weeks of September taking in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, Milan and Geneva, the TAG Heuer Monaco Mikrograph will then be auctioned at the Only Watch event in Monaco on September 22, 2011. Proceeds of its sale will benefit Duchenne muscular dystrophy research.