In 2004, TAG Heuer introduced the ground breaking V4 technology that gave birth to the world’s first mechanical wristwatch to be driven by belts. This year, the manufacture celebrates the 10th anniversary of this innovation and incorporates the same technology to Tourbillon, one of the most elegant and complex horology complication ever made.
MONACO V4 Concept Watch is the world’s first watch with belt drives, linear mass and ball bearings. The V4 name derived from the V-shaped main plate on which the movement’s four barrels are mounted: the 2-by-2 belt series on ball bearings are angled at +/-13 degrees, and look like the cylinders in a Formula One motor-racing engine.
The concept watch’s patented belt-driven transmission and linear mass represented nothing short of a complete rewriting of the fundamental principles of mechanical watchmaking. Housed inside another revolution, the audacious, square-faced Monaco seen on Steve McQueen wrist in the 1971 race-film classic Le Mans, it won Best Design at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, Germany’s Red Dot Design Award, Wallpaper Magazine’s “Watch of the Year” and Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New”.
In 2009, against all expectations, TAG Heuer stunned the watchmaking world by unveiling what many industry insiders said would never see the light of day: a fully commercialized production model of the MONACO V4. The breakthrough came as a result of five years of intensive research by TAG Heuer’s Haute Horlogerie engineers to overcome the last stumbling blocks—most important being the successful development of ultra-thin and ultra-resistant transmission belts.
A true work of art, the MONACO V4 was the most avant-garde watch industrialized to date, housing the first new complication in a commercially realized timepiece since the first automatic chronograph movement, Calibre 11 Chronomatic, was issued by Heuer in 1969.
Building on its top-secret development of transmission belts no thicker than a single hair, TAG Heuer takes its avant-garde creation to the next level—juxtaposing its patented belt technology with one of the most emblematic complication of watchmaking—the tourbillon. The result—the fully patented MONACO V4 TOURBILLON—breaks with all accepted watchmaking codes and conventions.
By far the most intricate and iconic complication of Haute Horlogerie, a tourbillon is a mechanical system for regulating the speed at which a watch beats. Traditionally, it overcomes the effects of gravity by placing the balance wheel and escapement inside a rotating cage.
The MONACO V4 TOURBILLON complicates this complication further, by using, in a world first, a micro-belt to drive the tourbillon. Thanks to the belt driving the tourbillon, there is no backlash on the tourbillon. The major advantage is the absolute fluidity of its rotation. The avant-garde timepiece is equipped with an automatic linear rewinding system, and the mass is guided by a linear railroad instead of a traditional rotating system. The four notched micro-thin (0.07mm) transmission belts, the design and engineering of which remain one of the best-kept secrets in watchmaking, create a very efficient shock absorbing system. In another first, the barrels are held and rotated on ball bearings.
Entirely hand-crafted and assembled in TAG Heuer’s Haute Horlogerie workshop in La Chaux-de Fonds, Switzerland, its exclusive materials include space-grade black titanium for the case.
Model: MONACO V4 TOURBILLON
Price: 150 000 CHF
Belt-driven tourbillon at 9 o’clock
2 steel v-bridges black-coated and fine-brushed with hand-polished bevels
3 bridges black-coated with “côtes de genève” haute horlogerie hand-finishing
Faceted black-coated minute and hour hands with white luminescent markers
White tag heuer logo engraving at 5 o’clock
White “v4” engraving at 7 o’clock
Polished titanium grade 5 with black titanium carbide coating
Dimension: 41 x 41 mm
Bevelled sapphire crystal glass with double-sided antireflective treatment to ensure the best readability
Sapphire case back in 3 sections
Water-resistance: 50 meters
Length: 31.5 mm
Width: 35 mm
Total height: 9.26 mm
28’800 vibrations per hour / 4 hertz
1 minute tourbillon (1 rotation per minute)
Power reserve: 40 hours
4 notched belts: thickness of the smallest belt: 0.07 mm
2 belts with internal steel reinforcement wire
2 pairs of barrels linked by a belt, set in parallel and inclined at 13°strength collecting set on a micro ball-bearing at 12 o’clock linear mass with double rack rail, tungsten lingot
9 micro ball-bearings
Small second at 6 o’clock on the second wheel
Hand-sewn black alligator strap with soft touch effect
Titanium grade 5 with black titanium carbide coating folding clasp with safety push buttons and v4 logo