I enjoy researching TAG Heuer concept watches because you never know what the company is working on behind closed doors. Right now I’m obsessed with the TAG Heuer Monaco V4 concept watch… well technically it’s in pre-series production and it did make a prototype appearance at Baselworld 2004 and 2007, but until it for sells to the public, in the watch world it’s still considered at concept watch.
So what is so bad about this bad boy? The TAG Heuer Monaco V4 is reinventing the mechanical movement of watches by replacing all the pinions and gear systems with belts, as well as replacing the rubies with ball races. The TAG Heuer Monaco V4 is unique because it has a transmission chain to rewind barrels. Jean-Christope Babin, the CEO of TAG Heuer, estimated the price of this watch at 50 to 100 thousand euros, and in 2004 the waiting list was “too long already”.
Recently Jean-Christophe Babin summed up the issue of the new techniques used on this watch.
“If you built an aircraft in the same empirical and iterative way as we have been making watches for the past four centuries, the chances that the plane will crash on the runway on the first test flight are relatively high, and would probably be detrimental to the commercial future of the project. That is why we have decided to review our procedures for the V4 entirely, rather than rush into construction and prototypes. We wanted above all to break down a watch movement into sub-assemblies and to simulate and validate each of them theoretically before thinking of making prototypes. Moreover the prototype that has been working for a year is the only one we have made. After all, why aim for an approximation when the power of modern computing and simulation tools enables a gradual approach to a theoretical design that is close to the ideal?”
For more info check out the Monaco V4 watch and article on TAG Heuer and go back in time and read the 2004 interview with Jean-Christophe Babin.