It all began in 1916 when Charles-Auguste, son of Edouard Heuer, asked his employees to design "a counter 5 to 10 times more accurate than anything currently in existence".
At the time, the race for accuracy was intensifying in the field of sports timekeeping. A year later, the first prototype appeared with an accuracy to 1/100 of a second.
Charles-Auguste Heuer then challenged the team to further develop towards an accuracy of 1/50 of a second - 5 to 10 times more accurate than the standard of the time.
And thus in 1916, the Mikrograph, the Microsplit, the Semikrograph and the Semicrosplit were born. These were the world's first mechanical counters accurate to 1/100 and 1/50 of a second.
Revolutions in science, industry and watchmaking, these developments led to Heuer's appointment as the official supplier of chronographs to the Olympic Games in Antwerp (1920), Paris (1924) and Amsterdam (1928).
Today, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the new TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph represents the alliance of revolutionary technology and functional design seen in the sports timekeeping instruments back in the 1920s.
The large spherical ridged crown at 12 o'clock, framed by the characteristic "mushroom" push-pieces, is reminiscent of the earliest Heuer counters.
The white lacquered dial sports black painted numerals and indices, a vintage Heuer logo and the inscription "Made in Switzerland", faithfully configured as on the original model.
Legibility is enhanced by the blue rounded leaf-shaped steel hands for the chronograph indications, with a tear drop shaped counterweight on the minute hand and an arrow on the counter hands.
The anniversary edition TAG Heuer Carrera Micrograph uses the TAG Heuer Calibre Mikrograph 1/100 second, launched in 2011, the first mechanical chronograph with integrated column wheel displaying 1/100 of a second using a central hand.
Protected by 11 patents, this 480-component calibre incorporates two mechanisms: one for the time, the other for the chronograph. Each has its own barrel and transmission and escapement system. The first, for the watch (hours, minutes, small second and date), oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz), and has a power reserve of 42 hours. The second, with an autonomy of 90 minutes, controls the 1/100 second chronograph.
Its dynamic compensation system allows it to achieve a frequency of 360,000 vibrations per hour (50 Hz) with a rotational speed of one second per revolution. The "normal frequency" and "high frequency" kinematic chains are independent, guaranteeing unrivalled accuracy and timekeeping by preventing the chronograph from affecting the operation of the watch and reducing energy loss.
In addition to its remarkable timekeeping performance, this automatic bidirectional calibre features hours, minutes, a power reserve indication at 9 o'clock, a date window at 4:30, a central 1/100 second chronograph hand, a chronograph 30-minute counter at 12 o'clock and a seconds counter at 3 o'clock.
A watch and a chronograph combined, the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph is a modular model.
Thanks to an ingenious bayonet mounting system, it can be housed in a TAG Heuer Carrera case, placed on a table support or screwed onto a car dashboard.
In its historical 12 o'clock position, the dome-shaped crown winds both the watch and the chronograph. Visible on the back, the oscillating weight arms only the barrel of the watch mechanism, while the chronograph is wound manually. The sapphire back of the case, which is water-resistant to 100 metres, reveals a titanium carbide-coated movement decorated with Côtes de Genève.
Sized at 45 mm steel with distinctive lug facets, the carrera type case comes with a grey perforated calfskin strap with a deployant buckle, Heuer logo and a security push-piece. The watch, its two supports and a plate stamped with Mikrograph Heuer come in a grey ash case with an Alcantara covering.
Utilitarian yet packing retro charm, the TAG Heuer CARRERA Mikrograph 100th Anniversary Edition with its unique double chain architecture is both appealing from a heritage standpoint as well as versatile with three supports, costs less than CHF 20,000.