TAG Heuer loves pushing the limits of timekeeping, as evidenced by their entire line of high-performance, highly-accurate Mikro chronographs (including Mikrograph, Monaco Mikrograph, Mikrotimer, and Mikrogirder). But the real pièce de résistance is the MikrotourbillonS. It houses two completely independent tourbillons, and as if that weren’t enough, one of them powers a chronograph accurate to 1/100th of a second.
TAG Heuer isn’t holding anything back here. Everything about this watch is designed to push fine-grained timekeeping to the limits, but funnily enough through the utilization of what might be the least technically-advantageous complication for modern watchmakers. One of the things that makes the MikrotourbillonS so compelling is just this – the use of a classic complication to do something avant garde.
The movement is comprised of two independent power-chains, a timekeeping chain and a chronograph chain. The timekeeper has a tourbillon beating at 4Hz (28,800 bph), with the tourbillon rotating once per minute. Pretty standard stuff. The chronograph chain’s tourbillon though beats at 50Hz (360,000 bph) and rotates at a record 12 times per minute (once per 5 seconds). The former is automatic, while the later is manually wound. According to TAG Heuer, of the 439 components in this movement, only the two hairsprings are not made in-house in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
This movement is housed in a rose gold Carrera case with Tantalum bezel and accents, and Côte de Genève finishing on the half-open dial. There is some skeletoning around the lugs, upping the sport factor. But honestly, you don’t really look much at the case and dial once you start toying with the chronograph.
The slow, constant rotation of the timekeeping tourbillon is elegant as you would expect, but when you pump the pusher all bets are off. The center hand starts whirring around the dial at one rotation per second, and the chronograph tourbillon starts outpacing it’s brother at a rate of 12 turns to 1.
While not too long ago the MikrotourbillonS was just a concept watch, it’s now in production. As of now, TAG Heuer is planning on keeping the run limited to 10 to 15 pieces, though this is subject to change. Currently the price is set at $250,000.
For the video and additional images of the MikrotourbillonS see the full Stephen J. Pulvirent article on Hodinkee.