TAG Heuer celebrates the 100th anniversary of its iconic Mikrograph by presenting a special limited chronograph from its Carrera line.
With only 100 pieces produced, the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph chronograph is classic in style, with a white lacquered dial, painted numerals and a design inspired by the sports chronometers of the era. Its Carrera type case is supplied with a table support or fixed to a dashboard: both a watch and a timekeeping instrument.
The new TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph represents the alliance of revolutionary technology and functional design seen in the sports timekeeping instruments of the 1920s. The large spherical ridged crown at 12 o’clock, framed by the characteristic “mushroom” push-pieces, is reminiscent of the earliest Heuer counters.
The white lacquered dial sports black painted numerals and indices, a vintage Heuer logo and the inscription “Made in Switzerland”, faithfully configured as on the original model.
Legibility is enhanced by the blued steel hands for the chronograph indications, with a tear drop shaped counterweight on the minute hand and an arrow on the counter hands. Rounded leaf-shaped hour and minute hands take inspiration from designs of the Roaring Twenties.
It all began when a visionary boss set his technical team a challenge. In 1914, Charles-Auguste, son of Edouard Heuer, asked his employees to design “a counter 5 to 10 times more accurate than anything currently in existence”. At the time, the race for accuracy was intensifying in the field of sports timekeeping. A year later, the first prototype appeared. The result exceeded all expectations: an oscillation and escapement system vibrating 360,000 times per hour, in other words, accuracy to 1/100 of a second.
Two patents for the chronograph mechanism were filed for 20 years. At the same time, Charles-Auguste Heuer requested the development of the 1/50 of a second – 5 to 10 times more accurate than the standard of the time. And so, in 1916, the Mikrograph, the Microsplit, the Semikrograph and the Semicrosplit were born.
These were the world’s first mechanical counters accurate to 1/100 and 1/50 of a second. Revolutions in science, industry and watchmaking, these developments led to Heuer’s appointment as the official supplier of chronographs to the Olympic Games in Antwerp (1920), Paris (1924) and Amsterdam (1928).
Thousands of Mikrographs were produced until 1969. The fruit of unique expertise, this movement, which vibrates at an astonishing speed, was used in particular for timekeeping in bob-sleigh and greyhound races.
The anniversary edition TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph vibrates at the speed of a unique manufacture movement first unveiled to the world in 2011: the TAG Heuer Calibre Mikrograph 1/100 second. The first mechanical chronograph with integrated column wheel displaying 1/100 of a second using a central hand.
Protected by 11 patents, this 480-component calibre incorporates two mechanisms: one for the time, the other for the chronograph. Each has its own barrel and transmission and escapement system. The first, for the watch (hours, minutes, small second and date), oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz), and has a power reserve of 42 hours. The second, with autonomy of 90 minutes, controls the 1/100 second chronograph.
Thanks to a dynamic compensation system, it achieves a frequency of 360,000 vibrations per hour (50 Hz) and a dizzying rotational speed of one second per revolution. The “normal frequency” and “high frequency” kinematic chains are independent, guaranteeing unrivalled accuracy and timekeeping by preventing the chronograph from affecting the operation of the watch and reducing energy loss.
In addition to its remarkable timekeeping performance, this automatic bidirectional calibre features hours, minutes, a power reserve indication at 9 o’clock, a date window at 4:30, a central 1/100 second chronograph hand, a chronograph 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock and a seconds counter at 3 o’clock.
A watch and a chronograph combined, the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph is a modular model. Thanks to an ingenious bayonet mounting system, it can be housed in a TAG Heuer Carrera case, placed on a table support or screwed onto a car dashboard.
In its historical 12 o’clock position, the dome-shaped crown winds both the watch and the chronograph. Visible on the back, the oscillating weight arms only the barrel of the watch mechanism, while the chronograph is wound manually.
The sapphire back of the case, which is water-resistant to 100 metres, reveals a titanium carbide-coated movement decorated with Côtes de Genève. The 45 mm steel case comes with distinctive lug facets.
The iconic Carrera lines extend to a grey perforated calfskin strap with a deployant buckle, Heuer logo and a security push-piece. The watch, its two supports and a plate stamped with Mikrograph Heuer come in a grey ash case with an Alcantara covering. And all at the very competitive price of less than CHF 20,000.
Model: TAG Heuer MIKROGRAPH (45MM) 1916-2016 Anniversary Edition – Calibre Mikrograph 1/100 Automatic Chronograph, Reference: CAR5A1A.FC6374
100-piece anniversary edition
An automatic chronograph displaying 1/100 of a second via a central hand, invented by Heuer in 1916 (11 patents)
Two escapements oscillating at 28,800 vibrations/hour for the watch and 360,000 for the chronograph
A vintage design inspired by the sports chronometers of the era
Three removable supports: a TAG Heuer Carrera case, a table support or base for fixing to the dashboard of a classic car
TAG Heuer calibre Mikrograph 1/100 second
Automatic chronograph with date
Diameter: 45 mm
Sapphire crystal with scratch-resistant, antireflective coating
Crown in polished steel with vintage fluting
Sapphire case-back, weight with engraved piece number “XXX/100”
Water-resistance: 100 metres
White lacquered dial
Hour and minute hands in galvanic black
3 counters with blue hands:
– Chronograph minute counter at 12 o’clock
– Seconds counter at 3 o’clock
– Power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock
Printed “HEUER” + “Mikrograph” logos at 6 o’clock
Date window at 4:30
Full-grain grey perforated calfskin
Steel deployant buckle
Safety push-buttons and engraved Heuer logo
Major Milestones Since 1916
This special edition pays tribute to a major advance in the field of timekeeping – the Mikrograph – made a hundred years ago. In the following paragraphs, you can find company’s achievements over the last century and its contribution in the field of chronographs and accuracy.
- 1916 – Mikrograph: Creation of the first mechanical counters accurate to 1/100 of a second: the Mikrograph and the Microsplit (with split second), then the Semikrograph and the Semicrosplit (with split second), accurate to a 1/50 of a second. These extremely high-quality chronographs were used during the Olympic Games in 1920, 1924 and 1928. The same year: the Dada intellectual, literary and artistic movement is born in Zurich.
- 1933 – Autavia and Hervue: On-board counter/8-day autonomy. Launch of the Autavia chronograph (a contraction of AUTomobile and AVIAtion), the first on-board counter for racing cars and planes. Fixed to the dashboard on a chrome plate, it is generally coupled to a Hervue watch with an 8-day movement (power reserve of eight days).
- 1957 – Ring Master: A 7-scale sports counter. Launch of the Ring Master, a sports counter with seven interchangeable rings featuring scales for different sporting disciplines.
- 1962 – Autavia: The first wrist chronograph/First Swiss watch to be worn by an American in space. The first wrist chronograph with a rotary bezel created by Heuer, the Autavia was worn by famous drivers of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Jochen Rindt, Mario Andretti, Jo Siffert and Clay Regazzoni. The American astronaut John Glenn wore a Heuer sports counter when he first orbited the Earth aboard the Mercury-Atlas 6 (Friendship 7) capsule. This made Heuer the first Swiss watch brand to go into space.
- 1964 – Heuer Carrera: The first generation of motor racing chronographs. Launch of the legendary Heuer Carrera line of motor racing chronographs whose name was inspired by the Carrera Panamericana Mexico race of the 1950s. With its revolutionary dial design, it quickly became an international success.
- 1969 – Calibre 11: First automatic chronograph equipped with a micro-rotor. World première of the Chronomatic Calibre 11, the first automatic chronograph movement with a micro-rotor. It drives the Heuer Carrera, the Autavia and the legendary Monaco. It made its motor racing début on the wrist of the Swiss driver Jo Siffert, the first racing driver to be sponsored by a watch brand.
- 1969 – Heuer Monaco: A water-resistant square case with a legendary design. Christened by Jack Heuer following the Monaco Grand Prix, this automatic chronograph is distinctive for its large water-resistant square case, petrol blue dial, bright red minute hand, domed plastic crystal and the crown located on the left-hand side. It achieved legendary status when it was worn by Steve McQueen during the filming of “Le Mans” in 1970.
- 1975 – Heuer Chronosplit LED/LCD Ferrari Edition – Quartz split second chronograph: As Official Timekeeper for the Ferrari stable from 1971 to 1979, the company unveiled the Chronosplit, the first electronic wrist chronograph with a double LCD/LED display. The LCD indicates the time, while the LED displays the elapsed time accurate to a tenth of a second.
- 1977 – Chronosplit Manhattan GMT: Hexagonal shape and hybrid display. Launch of the Chronosplit Manhattan GMT, the first wrist quartz chronograph with double analogue display, accurate to one hundredth of a second.
- 1987- S/el Chronograph, Favourite of Ayrton Senna: The S/el (Sport and elegance) watch is a quartz chronograph with a digital display and a unique design. Its signature: a strap in the form of a double S. This recreational watch reinforced the position of TAG Heuer in the world of sport, thanks to the McLaren driver Ayrton Senna, a brand ambassador, who declared it his favourite model.
- 2004 – Monaco V4: Unveiling of the Monaco V4 concept watch equipped with a mechanical movement driven by micro belts as fine as a hair (0.07 mm), a linear weight and ball bearings. The name V4 refers to the V-shaped main plate which carries the four barrels mounted in series, like the cylinders in a Formula 1 engine.
- 2012 – Mikrogirder: An automatic chronograph 250 times faster than a classic watch and accurate to 5/10,000 of a second, the Mikrogirder completely reinvented the regulator on a mechanical watch. Instead of a classic balance-spring, its system combines a coupling beam/girder and an excitatory beam associated with a linear oscillator. It features isochronous vibration at a very small angle. Advantages: no loss of amplitude, huge frequency modulation, increased accuracy and performance.
- 2012 – Mikropendulum: The balance-spring is replaced by a virtual spring, produced using four magnets. The magnetic field generated by the magnets supplies the linear restoring torque required for the alternate oscillations of the balance. Impervious to variations in the disruptive forces, this fully mechanical oscillator represents an exceptional timekeeping system set to run at 6 Hz.
- 2015 – TAG Heuer Connected: In collaboration with Intel Corporation and Google, the first Swiss luxury connected watch is driven by Intel Inside and operates using Android Wear™. It is equipped with digital watch dials and offers a multitude of connectivity options and intelligent functions. 4 GB of memory, a lithium battery with 1-day autonomy, voice control, sapphire touch screen and water resistance – a marriage of more than 150 years of history with the future.