To celebrate 10 years since the launch of the first Monaco V4 concept watch in 2004, TAG Heuer has this morning released the 2014 Monaco V4 Tourbillon- the first tourbillon driven by micro-belts, in keeping with the traditional belt-driven concept of the V4.
History of the Monaco V4
Given the annual flurry of concept watches from TAG Heuer that we are now used to, it’s hard to recall how much of an impact the Monaco V4 made when it was shown as a concept back in 2004. Jean-Christophe Babin had been CEO of TAG Heuer for only a couple of years when Jean-François Ruchonnet showed Stephane Linder an idea for a new mechanical movement.
At the time, TAG Heuer did not make a single watch movement, and still offered a predominately quartz range, although new series such as the reintroduced Carrera were changing the look of the TAG Heuer range.
It’s easy to forget how much the design of the Monaco V4 changed from concept to production- as you see above, while the case design is familiar, the “dial” looks totally different.
Needless to say, when the prototype was shown at Basel, the expectation was that this concept could never be put into production (indeed, there were problems with the initial prototypes working at Basel!). But Babin and team were determined to change the way that people thought of TAG Heuer and so pushed on with developing the V4.
The second iteration of the Monaco V4 is a lot closer to the V4 we know today and represented a total redesign of the movement- but we were still two years away from a concept that could be commercialised.
2009 Production- Monaco V4 Platinum
And finally, five years after the idea was shown, TAG Heuer released the Monaco V4 in Platinum, with a price-point of over CHF100,000- outlandish at the time when you consider that this was more than 10X the cost of the second most expensive watch in the TAG Heuer range and 5X more than even the limited edition Carrera Calibre 360.
But the market responded favourably, and with the watch selling well, TAG Heuer was encouraged to not only continue developing the Monaco V4, but also in investing in a range of haute horlogerie watches.
2010 “Next Generation” Monaco V4
Only a year after the release of the Monaco V4 platinum, a Rose Gold model was shown- but the changes went a lot deeper than just the flavour of precious metal, with a new, larger case design which has been used on each of the Monaco V4 variants since.
TAG Heuer Monaco V4T
Back to today, the 2014 Monaco V4 T has a polished 41mm Titanium (Grade 5) case, coated in Titanium Carbide to give in a dark, stealth look. The “dial” is also Black, with a Côtes de Genève finish and the bright Red rubies standing out nicely against the dark dial and case.
Calibre V Movement
From the rear of the watch, you’ll notice that it looks exactly the same as the standard Monaco V4- a tungsten ingot that slides back and forth, providing the same force as the rotor in a conventional watch.
The movement has 214 components, with the Tourbillon vibrating 28,800 times per hour (4Hz) and a power reserve of 40 hours. The Tourbillon rotates once every minute and is driven by micro-belts, which have a diameter of 0.07mm. How small is that? Take a look below at one of the belts that is a similar thickness to a piece of dental floss.
Price and Availability- Monaco V4T (Ref. WAW2081)
The 2014 TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Tourbillon (Ref. WAW2181) is a limited edition of 50 watches that will sell for CHF150,000, with the first piece available in June. Check out more live shots of the Monaco V4 on the next page.
Live Photos- Monaco V4T