Whether you regard tourbillons to be the ultimate complication or you consider that they belong in pocket watches, Breguet’s anti-gravity device remains the yardstick by which watch plants are judged. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprised that TAG Heuer, a brand that only pursue credibility, but also pursues complicated movement to challenge itself, chose to fit a tourbillon to its latest, state-of-the-art watches. Being called the MikrotourbillonS, it is not the first chronograph that has a tourbillon movement on it; Breguet’s Marine Tourbillon II, the magnificent Jules Audemars Tourbillon Chronograph, and Zenith’s Academy jump to my mind, as do a lot of grand complications watches. But TAG Heuer isn’t just fit a tourbillon to it: there is actually a rational purpose, especially in term of their recent run of ever-more-precise chronographs.
MikrotourbillonS follows the belt-driven Monaco V4, Mikrogirder, Mikrograph, and Mikrotimer Flying 1000 as TAG-Heuer’s way of showing the Swatch Group that it will survive their plans to reduce the supply of movements. Moreover, such outstanding masterpiece demonstrates that TAG-Heuer has the ability to innovate and to produce complications all by itself, with the ease and facility one associates with sniffier, more elite auteur houses. Guy Sémon, Vice President of Sciences and Engineering, explained that one crucial motive for creating the MikrotourbillonS. TAG Heuer is working with COSC to design a new chronometer certification for chronographs. According to Sémon, COSC’s current certification deals only with the watch itself, not the chronograph. The company believes that any chronograph submitted for whatever new certification might emerge will improve its odds for success if it is a fully integrated design, rather than a watch-plus-module. Sémon admits that the MikrotourbillonS has been created to set the stage for the first-ever dual-certifiable chronograph.
During the launch, Sémon was questioned about the suitability of TAG Heuer issuing a tourbillon, something it has resisted for years, for Rolex-like reasons: it’s a horological mind game, rather than a worthwhile development like silicon, or the co-axial movement. But, as so many champions of the tourbillon can demonstrate, the device can most certainly improve accuracy if done properly – as Greubel Forsey demonstrated by winning the 2011 International Chronometry Competition. As Sémon explains, TAG Heuer wanted to make the most accurate mechanical chronograph ever produced, period. If it took a couple of tourbillons to do it, then they’ll reap the whirlwind.