Combining watchmaking with scientific discovery, TAG Heuer introduces a state-of-the-art carbon hairspring in the latest interpretation of the Carrera.
During the Geneva watch fair, TAG Heuer unveiled its newest innovation, a world premiere in watchmaking: a hairspring made of a carbon composite invented, patented and produced by the avant-garde Swiss watchmaker. The new hairspring regulates the Heuer 02T manufacture movement, which is fitted with a tourbillon mechanism and meets the official standards for classification as a chronometer.
The Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph
TAG Heuer demonstrates its watchmaking prowess with a truly amazing new timepiece representing the next generation of tourbillon watches. The manufacture movement of this new model features a carbon-composite hairspring, produced from a gas, that replaces the well-known Elinvar and silicon versions.
Stéphane Bianchi, CEO of the LVMH Watchmaking Division and CEO of TAG Heuer, said: “This new interpretation of the TAG Heuer Carrera with its advanced in-house technology underscores our legacy in achieving watchmaking excellence and proves that we remain true to our values of performance, disruption and avant-garde.”
The fascinating tourbillon feature of this timepiece bridges the gap between traditional watchmaking craftsmanship and state-of-the-industry innovation. Thanks to its elaborate construction and aesthetics, the tourbillon is among the most impressive complications a watch aficionado can own – and one that only a small number of manufacturers have mastered.
The TAG Heuer Carrera collection has evolved since it was first introduced in 1963, but it has always stayed true to its DNA. The unique modular design and connection to motor racing continue to drive what is one of the brand’s most popular lines.
A unique design
The nanoscopic (one million times smaller than a millimetre) hexagonal pattern of the hairspring’s carbon-composite material is mirrored in the design of the Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph. Aside from the carbon-composite hairspring, the most distinguishing feature of this chronometer-certified chronograph is its multilayer dial and movement combination, which features sandblasted and fine-brushed hexagons on the movement plate visible through an open-worked dial. The pattern can also be seen on the oscillating mass, which has been treated with black PVD and is visible through the sapphire caseback.
Alluding to haute horlogerie creations of the past, a bright neon green colour adorns various elements of the watch, including the aluminium bridge and the inscription on the tourbillon movement. The aluminium alloy balance wheel stands out with its white gold inserts, while SuperLuminova® markings ensure that the movement is visible day and night.
TAG Heuer Product Director Guy Bove added: “With this new skeletonised tourbillon model in the Carrera range, we wanted to highlight TAG Heuer’s capabilities both in engineering and in the development of compelling movements – like its predecessors, the Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph is a force of disruption in haute horlogerie, thanks to its visually exciting blend of modern, high-tech aesthetics and precise, elegant proportions: hallmarks of the Carrera collection for over 50 years.”
A new generation of hairsprings
Known as the heart of the mechanical watch, the hairspring is the most difficult part to produce because its minute tolerances directly impact the overall precision of a timepiece. A team of TAG Heuer mathematicians, physicists and chemists are behind the creation of this newly reinvented hairspring. Not only does the carbon-composite hairspring shake up traditional watchmaking, it also improves the performance of watches fitted with the brand’s chronometer-certified movement. The Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph is the first watch to be regulated by this carbon-composite hairspring innovation.
Key benefits of TAG Heuer’s carbon-composite hairspring:
- The lightweight, low-density hairspring is virtually unaffected by gravity and shock. In TAG Heuer’s lab, watches were tested up to 5,000 g/1 m fall onto a hard surface – metal hairsprings bent, silicon hairsprings broke, while the carbon-composite hairspring remained completely intact.
- Perfect concentric oscillations are made possible thanks to the carbon-composite hairspring’s geometry and improve the precision of the watch.
- The carbon-composite hairspring is produced with the collet already attached; usually, this small part, which attaches the metallic hairspring to the balance wheel axis, requires complicated assembly and generates further inaccuracy.
- The carbon-composite hairspring is completely antimagnetic, which eliminates the issue of inaccuracy being introduced after a watch comes into contact with a magnetic source.
- Optimal thermal behaviour and aeroelasticity have been achieved by pairing the carboncomposite hairspring with an aluminium alloy balance wheel.
TAG Heuer is the exclusive manufacturer of these hairsprings, which are designed and produced in its inhouse laboratory in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Describing the importance of this technology, Guy Sémon, CEO of the TAG Heuer Institute, said: “The development of this world premiere has taken years, with its ambition of improving the performance and accuracy of mechanical watches. The innovations created in the TAG Heuer Institute can be likened to a stairway, with each innovation always leading to another. The carbon-composite hairspring is a first step that will lead us to yet more in-house improvements still in the process of being developed.”
The first-ever carbon-composite structure used for hairsprings and the impressive Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph chronometer in which it is housed are clear examples of the legendary watch brand’s trajectory in innovation. Guided by its legacy of avant-garde watchmaking, TAG Heuer has entered a new era of forward-thinking invention leading to unparalleled accuracy in mechanical watchmaking.