Watch collectors around the world will be captivated by this technical revolution of the Mikrograph, the fastest chronograph movement on the market, beating at 360 000 beats per hour, a masterpiece of Haute Horlogerie encased in the iconic square shape of the Monaco that remains, over four decades after its scene-stealing debut on the wrist of Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans, as cool and cutting-edge as ever.
The fusion of TAG Heuer’s two most daring inventions in terms of movement and design will be auctioned on September 22, 2011 to benefit Duchenne muscular dystrophy research under the High Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Presented in January 2011, the Mikrograph set a new milestone in “grandes complications”. This high-frequency integrated dual assortment mechanical movement features two different balance wheels, with separate escapements and transmission systems that allow to engage the stopwatch performance without interference to the watch movement.
The watch is automatically wound by means of a circular oscillating weight, and features a 42-hour power reserve.
As for the stopwatch, the balance wheel oscillates at 50 hertz, 360,000 vibrations per hour, with a 90-minute power reserve, and displays the 1/100th of a second with the central chronograph hand. Entirely designed, patented, developed and manufactured by TAG Heuer in La Chaux-de-Fonds, this innovation re-writes history in the field of high frequency movements.
Encased in the squared shape that caught the watchmaking world by storm in 1969, this unique high-energy timepiece now redefines angles with a round dial stretching to the boundaries of the case itself. The flying central hand indicates the 100th of a second. The design is unexpected: the hand’s round, open tip allows precise reading of the graduations, which are printed on a sapphire disc. The “/100” engraving is laser-cut by hand. The counter at 3 o’clock indicates chronograph minutes on a rotating disc with 3 hands, graduated 0 / 10 / 20. The counter at 9 o’clock features a small second, also on a rotating disc with 3 hands, graduated 0 / 20 / 40 to facilitate reading. The third subcounter at 6 o’clock indicates chronograph seconds. Fire-red touches on the hands are reminiscent of the original Monaco’s motor racing style. The power reserve is indicated at 12 o’clock.
The avant-garde dial is a highly sophisticated multi-level dial, alternating black lacquer and silver opalin finishes. Oversized screws on the dial evoke the engine of a sports car.
A refined touch of black lacquer has been added to the oversized crown and chronograph pushbuttons. The black strap is in “Barenia”, the highest quality of calfskin leather, and the red color in the perforations echoes the fire-red hands of the dial.
For a very special watch, a very special watch box
Internationally acclaimed South African artist Paul du Toit has personally committed to create a unique piece of art to host the Monaco Mikrograph. The watch box art will be conceptualized and painted by this celebrated artist. Paul du Toit has gained stature in Europe following the award of a medal from the city of Florence in the Biennale Internationale Dell’arte Contemporanea. Renowned for using an impasto technique (thick industrial paste into which he scratched lines and images), it is now intrinsic to his style of automatic scribbling. Paul was involved directly with Nelson Mandela in fundraising efforts for his 46664 campaign for 3 successive years. Ink handprints on canvas of Mr Mandela’s boxing hand were auctioned in Johannesburg and in London. In 2009, a mould of Mr Mandela’s boxing hand, which was cast in a one-off unique bronze, was auctioned in London for $3.5m. In 2010, an imprint of both Mr Mandela’s hands were made into a relief sculpture and auctioned in NYC. All the auctions were to benefit Mr Mandela’s 46664 campaign. As a firmly entrenched artist, Paul du Toit is able to dedicate attention to community project involvement. Philanthropy resonates deeply with him. Du Toit’s unique watch box for TAG Heuer will certainly help raise significant amounts during the Only Watch auction.
This unique piece of design, engineering and art will first tour the world from August 30th to September 17th, with exhibitions in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, Milan and Geneva. It will then be auctioned by Only Watch on September 22, 2011 to benefit the research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, during an event in Monaco.