TAG Heuer puts the novel in novelty with new tourbillon chronograph cased in diamond-set aluminumZach Blass
Novelty. It is a term utilised by watch manufacturers across the board in regard to their new releases for a given period or year. But the definition of the word novelty is “the quality of being new, original, or unusual”, and, if we are being honest, more often than not we find brands introducing the same reference with a new dial colour – which is not particularly the most novel. But TAG Heuer has came to play this Watches & Wonders. Aluminum and diamonds, neither are materials foreign to the watch marketplace. But the former is not particularly common, and the latter has never been set into the material – until now. The new TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma pushes the envelope with a diamond-set aluminium case, a dial crafted and set entirely with diamonds, and that flexes chronograph and tourbillon complications that show this piece is not just a pretty face.
In order to better highlight the 48 lab-grown diamonds hand-set within the case, TAG Heuer opted to utilise anodized aluminum for the 44mm Carrera Plasma case due to its ability to be the perfect foil to the brilliance of the diamonds. Why? Well, anodized aluminum as a material is able to be realised in a very deep and dark shade of black – allowing the diamonds to really shine through. The Carrera case form is already highly faceted, so it is interesting to see the abstract manner in which TAG’s watchmakers were able to set the diamonds in a complementing manner – maintaining the flat surfaces and sharp breaks that make up the form of the icon.
The sandblasted material is also very lightweight, making it very comfortable on the wrist for daily flex wear. In line with other modern chronographs in their collection, the bezel, however, is fashioned in black scratch-resistant ceramic, further heightening the robust qualities of this highly complicated watch. It also introduces new texture, with both satinated and polished surfaces achieved on its stepped surfaces. Now, you have probably noticed the crown does not match the black aesthetic of the case and pushers. That’s because the large and easy to grip crown is made of a lab-grown diamond (2.5 ct in total), so you are really getting your worth in diamonds with this timepiece.
The diamond party does not end with the case, it also extends to the dial as well. Not only are the applied indices fashioned from diamonds, but both the dial plate and the bi-compax registers as well. The main dial plate, made of rhodium-plated brass, is covered with a polycrystalline diamond plate (3.9 ct). The registers are in on the diamond party as well, each formed with a black polycrystalline diamond plate (0.25 ct) and brass ring with black opaline finish. Now I say bi-compax, signalling two registers, but were there to be a third register the dial would convey indications beyond the elapsed hours at 9′ and elapsed minutes at 3′. Well, technically speaking the running seconds are displayed where a third register would normally be found. The tourbillon, found at 6′, actually indicates the running seconds, so perhaps bi-compax is uncalled for in this scenario.
Ticking beneath its exhibition caseback, the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma is powered by the in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph tourbillon calibre. The movement, with 65 hours of power reserve, unique to the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma, boasts a higher degree of decoration – utilising hand-finishes in favour of the usual industrial methods TAG leverages. Its bridge carries a checkered finish, symbolic of the racing spirit of the brand and Carrera collection, and its oscillating weight takes the form of the TAG Heuer shield – chamfered and richly brushed to create a modern, yet elegant, look. To round out the rather black aesthetic, the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma is outfitted on a black leather strap with black stitching and a black titanium grade 2 ADLC-treated clasp to maintain its fashionable look.
TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma pricing and availability:
The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma is available now for inquiries. Price: $350,000 CHF