Monaco V4 Tourbillon by Tag Heuer : the evolution of the V4 revolution
In 2004, TAG Heuer changed the course of watchmaking by unveiling the MONACO V4 Concept Watch, the world’s first watch with belt drives, linear mass and ball bearings.
Baselworld 2004 : a star is born
Tag Heuer unveiled in 2004 the stunning Monaco V4. The V4 name derived from the V-shaped main plate on which the movement’s four barrels are mounted: the 2-by-2 belt series on ball bearings are angled at +/-13 degrees, and look like the cylinders in a Formula One motor-racing engine.
The concept watch’s patented belt-driven transmission and linear mass represented nothing short of a complete rewriting of the fundamental principles of mechanical watchmaking. Housed inside another revolution, the audacious, square-faced Monaco seen on Steve McQueen wrist in the 1971 race-film classic Le Mans, it won Best Design at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, Germany’s Red Dot Design Award, Wallpaper Magazine’s “Watch of the Year” and Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New”.
It also reestablished TAG Heuer as the world leader of advanced mechanical movement design.
2009: the concept becomes reality
In 2009, against all expectations, TAG Heuer stunned the watchmaking world by unveiling what many industry insiders said would never see the light of day: a fully commercialized production model of the MONACO V4.
The breakthrough came as a result of five years of intensive research by TAG Heuer’s Haute Horlogerie engineers to overcome the last stumbling blocks—most important being the successful development of ultra-thin and ultra-resistant transmission belts.
A true work of art, the MONACO V4 was the most avant-garde watch industrialized to date, housing the first new complication in a commercially realized timepiece since the first automatic chronograph movement, Calibre 11 Chronomatic, was issued by Heuer in 1969. Several limited editions will follow — in rose gold, titanium, platinum and ceramic, each more breathtaking than the last, until…
Baselworld 2014 : when avant-garde haute horlogerie meets tradition
Building on its top-secret development of transmission belts no thicker than a single hair, TAG Heuer takes its avant-garde creation to the next level—juxtaposing its patented belt technology with one of the most emblematic complication of watchmaking—the tourbillon. The result—the fully patented MONACO V4 TOURBILLON—breaks with all accepted watchmaking codes and conventions.
By far the most intricate and iconic complication of Haute Horlogerie, a tourbillon is a mechanical system for regulating the speed at which a watch beats. Traditionally, it overcomes the effects of gravity by placing the balance wheel and escapement inside a rotating cage.
The Monaco V4 Tourbillon complicates this complication further, by using, in a world first, a micro-belt to drive the tourbillon. Thanks to the belt driving the tourbillon, there is no backlash on the tourbillon. The major advantage is the absolute fluidity of its rotation. The avant-garde timepiece is equipped with an automatic linear rewinding system, and the mass is guided by a linear railroad instead of a traditional rotating system. The four notched micro-thin (0.07mm) transmission belts, the design and engineering of which remain one of the best-kept secrets in watchmaking, create a very efficient shock absorbing system. In another first, the barrels are held and rotated on ball bearings.
Entirely hand-crafted and assembled in TAG Heuer’s Haute Horlogerie workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Its exclusive materials include space-grade black titanium for the case.
Only by taking risks, by challenging and transcending traditions, can such achievements be realized. Uniquely combining belts and tourbillon technology, the patented Monaco V4 Tourbillon proves once again TAG Heuer’s continued tenure at the forefront of Haute Horlogerie design and technology.