TAG Heuer just announced the launch of the Mikrotimer Flying 1000 Chronograph, the world’s first mechanical chronograph able to measure and display time measurements of 1/1,000th of a second. They were able to do this with 11 patent-pending technologies that make the New Mikrotimer 125 times more accurate than most existing mechanical chronographs, even beating their impressive 1/100th Mikrograph which was only unveiled a couple months prior.
So within the space of two months Team Tag Heuer have produced not one but two ground breaking watches adding to their already impressive pedigree of patented world first starting with the Mikrograph in 1916, the first-ever 1/100th of a second mechanical stopwatch. If the TAG Heuer Mikrograph is a classical nod to the earlier times of pocket watches, the Mikrotimer is the opposite- a highly modern design with an innovative case system (the case design and the movement itself are covered by 12 patents). Design-wise, the Mikrotimer looks like a development of the basic Carrera shape. The case is black titanium carbide and features titanium horns in contrasting silver.
The Mikrotimer has two central Chronograph hands. The first green central hand measures the 1/100th and 1/1000th of a second on the external scale. The second, smaller central hand indicates elapsed minutes and 1/12s of a minute (i.e. 5 seconds). The time is read on the Mikrotimer by adding together the 1/10th of a second from the 5-second sub-dial at 6 o’clock to the 1/100th and 1/1000th read from the central hand on the external dial. Its not as easy as simply reading off the 1/100th of a second from the dial of the Mikrograph, but it does allow the dial to remain relatively un-cluttered and places a priority on being able to more easily read the smaller increments of time.
The movement has 354 components and a 43 hour-power reserve for the watch and 150 seconds for the chronograph. The Mikrotimer Flying 1000 will have the fastest mechanical movement that buzzes at 3,600,000 beats per minute.
To put it into context in 1/1,000th of a second…
- Usain Bolt ran 1.2 centimeters while establishing his new 100 m world record of 9.58 seconds
- a cheetah at top speed travels 3 centimeters
- the Maglev train between Pudong International Airport and Shanghai travels 14 centimeters
- an Airbus 380 between Zurich and Singapore flies 24 centimeters
- a supersonic airplane breaking Mach 1 flies 33 centimeters
- a M16 bullet flies 97 centimeters
- Apollo 10 traveled 10 meters while establishing the fastest-ever speed for a manned craft in 1969
- the Earth rotates 29.8 meters around the Sun
- a fast neutron travels 10 kilometers
- light travels 300 kilometers
It should be stressed that the Mikrotimer Flying 1000 is only a concept watch at this stage and the watch being presented at Baselworld 2011 is a one off, so refinements and revisions are quite likely before it goes on sale in the middle of this year. Over the last 12 days, the team estimate that they have put in five months of working time to get the concept watch ready for Basel. No sleep, but think of the overtime. Incredibly, the first time that TAG Heuer knew that the Mikrotimer Flying 1000 would work in reality rather than on paper was on 11 March 2011 just 12 days ago.
When it goes on sale the watch will be limited to just 150 pieces, each encased in a beautiful rose gold case, so you’re going to need split second timing to get your hands on one.