Watches & Wonders 2022 is in full swing, and we’ve already seen some monumental releases: Grand Seiko’s mental constant-force tourbillon, Montblanc’s first-ever dive watch, a new Rolex GMT-Master II… But it’s TAG Heuer that’s had perhaps the biggest surprise of the show thus far.
The 162-year-old firm has unveiled a bevy of truly impressive releases: a return to ultra-capable dive watches with the Aquaracer Superdiver, their first-ever solar-powered watch in the Aquaracer Solargraph and a 2nd Carrera x Porsche, just to name a few. But it’s what they saved to last that has got the world talking.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Tourbillon Nanograph is the most expensive watch the brand has ever released, retailing for a rather punchy AU$518,900. That’s a lot of money for a TAG – but considering just how unique and advanced this piece of horological art is, it’s actually quite a bargain.
Why a bargain? Because this watch is filled to the brim with diamonds, created and used in ways that have never been seen before in watchmaking. This is thanks to TAG’s innovative use of lab-grown diamonds. For example, see that dial? That’s not some finish or glass particles or something. That dial is completely made out of polycrystalline lab-grown diamonds. The crown? It’s one whole diamond. Those flecks on the case? You see where we’re going…
We’ve never seen diamonds used in this way before, and it’s completely captivating. Pictures don’t do it justice: this might just be the most eye-catching watch on the market right now.
This is some truly radical stuff that won’t just shift the perception of TAG as a brand, but lab-grown diamonds more broadly. Previously, lab-grown diamonds have been somewhat of a dirty word – despite the fact they’re far more ethical and often far more beautiful than natural diamonds…
But as the Carrera Plasma demonstrates, the real beauty of lab-grown diamonds is that they can be formed in shapes that would never occur in nature, creating something entirely new; unexpected; avant-garde.
“Lab-grown diamonds allow us to innovate and experiment with this exceptional material, and this opens up a new realm of possibilities for designers, watchmakers and engineers,” says TAG Heuer Chief Innovation Officer Edouard Mignon.
If all those diamonds weren’t luxurious enough, the Carrera Plasma also features TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 automatic tourbillon chronograph movement, which boasts a 65-hour power reserve and COSC certification. It’s also rather light on the wrist, thanks to its milled aluminium case and ceramic bezel.
There’s currently only one of these watches in existence – perched in the middle of the TAG Heuer booth at Watches & Wonders – but according to TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault, “more than one, but less than a dozen” will eventually be made. Better buy a lottery ticket…