TAG Heuer continues to push the boundaries of lab-grown diamonds with the Carrera Date Plasma Diamant d’Avant-GardeJamie Weiss
- TAG Heuer’s latest experiment in lab-grown diamonds takes the form of a Carrera Date 36mm.
- This model features a dial made from a single lab-grown polycrystalline diamond, baguette-cut diamond indices and an 18ct white gold case.
- It’s also the first TAG Heuer to utilise yellow lab-grown diamonds: one for the crown, and one replacing the logo at 12 o’clock.
Many of the world’s top watchmakers have staked claims and pushed the boundaries in different areas of watchmaking: IWC and Rado are masters of ceramics; Bulgari and Piaget specialise in ultra-thin watches; Hublot and Chanel have experimented with sapphire crystal cases – and so on. TAG Heuer, on the other hand, has chosen to champion and innovate in the field of lab-grown diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are something of a dirty word when it comes to jewellery, but the beauty of lab-grown diamonds is that they can be formed in shapes that would never occur in nature – something TAG has taken advantage of.
Unveiled at LVMH Watch Week in Miami, this Carrera Date Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde is the fourth-ever Carrera to utilise lab-grown diamonds (the first being a Chronograph Tourbillon) and the second-ever Carrera Date Plasma, but it’s the first-ever TAG full stop to use yellow lab-grown diamonds. More on that in a second.
So, first things first: the lengthily-named TAG Heuer Carrera Date Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde ref. WBN2344.FC8335 (which I will henceforth refer to as simply the ‘Carrera Date Plasma’) features a single-piece polycrystalline dial made from 2.9 carats of diamond. This dial is created by growing a vast number of diamond crystals as a single entity, TAG Heuer explains, which they’re able to achieve through a chemical vapour deposition process, which they call ‘Plasma’ technology.
Essentially, diamond seeds are placed into a vacuum chamber, and then plasma from “specific gases” (i.e. it’s a trade secret) is ignited to grow the crystal, which is then cut with lasers and polished. The end result? A dazzling dial made from (effectively) a single piece of diamond, something that would be utterly impossible to achieve with a natural diamond.
On top of that, the dial features 12 white gold indexes set with white baguette-cut lab-grown diamonds of 0.5 carats each, while a single yellow lab-grown diamond takes the place of the TAG Heuer shield logo at 12 o’clock. Furthermore, the Carrera Date Plasma’s crown is also made from a single yellow lab-grown diamond, which itself features a shield motif. Lab-grown diamonds are typically completely flawless, but to create these yellow diamonds, TAG has to deliberately introduce imperfections into the diamonds as they grow. The Plasma technology ensures that the entire diamond is imbued with colour uniformly.
If that all wasn’t luxurious enough, the Carrera Date Plasma features an 18ct white gold case and comes mounted on an alligator leather strap. The only thing that’s pedestrian about this piece is the movement underneath, TAG’s workhorse Calibre 7… But with a dial like this, I don’t think many prospective customers would be particularly concerned with what movement powers this watch. This is kind of the ultimate flex watch – meant to compete with Rolex Pearlmasters and the like. Why get a diamond-paved dial when you can have a dial that’s entirely diamond?
TAG Heuer Carrera Date Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde pricing & availability
As of publishing, pricing and availability for the TAG Heuer Carrera Date Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde have not been confirmed. For reference, the Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm released last year retailed for AU$740,000 – so I suspect this Carrera Date Plasma will retail around the AU$400,000 mark.
|Carrera Date Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde
|36mm (D) x 10mm (T) x 41.6mm (L2L)
|18ct white gold
|Sapphire front and back
|Polycrystalline diamond, baguette-cut diamond indices, yellow lab-grown TAG Heuer shield logo-shaped diamond at 12 o’clock
|White alligator strap, white gold pin buckle
|TAG Heuer Calibre 7, ETA 2892 base, automatic
|Hours, minutes, seconds, date