While everyone’s been fixated on the first day of the 2022 SIHH, TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T 45 Chronograph Tourbillon Titanium has gone and quietly released a technologically incredible chronograph that utilizes a totally new hairspring made of carbon composite. They developed this new technology themselves and hold the patent for it too. The watch is all about showing off and celebrating that new technology in a watch that also pays homage to TAG Heuer’s history via the Carrera case and name.
This watch is very much an evolution of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T 45 Chronograph Tourbillon Titanium, a watch that shook up the industry in 2016 by offering a Swiss tourbillon chronograph at a never-before-heard-of price. Building off the foundation of that watch’s 45mm case (rendered here in blacked-out titanium with a carbon bezel), TAG Heuer has pushed basically every aspect of the movement to the next level. The entire thing is decorated with hexagon motifs, a reference to the nanoscopic hexagonal structure of the carbon used in the hairspring, the dial and rotor have both been openworked to let you see more of the movement, and the aluminum balance wheel is set with both white gold weights and white Super-LumiNova so you can see it beating away in the dark. Neon green accents add further drama, adorning everything from the tourbillon cage to the column wheel.
In theory though, the use of carbon here is all about performance. According to TAG Heuer, the carbon-composite hairspring is virtually unaffected by both gravitational effects and shocks, makes perfect concentric oscillations due to its geometry, thus offering better precision, is easier to assemble for their watchmakers, and has outstanding thermal behavior when paired with the aluminum alloy balance. I don’t have a doctorate in materials science, but if this is as impactful as TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T 45 Chronograph Tourbillon Titanium suggests, we could be looking at the next generation of high-tech watchmaking right here.
I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how to evaluate a watch by now. I’ve been doing this professionally for a few years and know what things I should look for, the questions people are going to ask, and how to figure out relatively complex mechanisms on short notice in order to then explain them to others. All of that said, I have basically none of the tools necessary to tell you whether this is a huge revolution in watchmaking (as suggested by the press release that arrived in my inbox) or simply a fun little experiment that has produced a horological curiosity. Either way, this looks like a super cool watch, and I’m very excited to see one up close soon enough. While a lot of mechanical watchmaking is about looking back, I always appreciate it when a manufacture decides to look into the future and bring it into focus themselves.