The Watches and Wonders show in Geneva last month saw Tag Heuer unveil the Carrera Plasma — a new iteration of the famed Carrera model but now featuring 11.7 carats of lab-grown diamonds.
Swiss watchmaker, whose initials — TAG — stand for Techniques d’Avant Garde, has lived up to the promise embodied in those initials. The company sees the incorporation of lab-grown diamonds into its brand as a major milestone in the over-160- year company history and the watch industry at large. Entering the lab-grown diamond sector is a defining step for a watch company and Tag Heuer has chosen to focus on the avant-garde aesthetics as well as redefining technological and creative limits. By adding the precision aspect of lab-grown diamonds into its product universe, Tag Heuer is provided with a creative freedom that rarely comes with mined diamonds. New diamond shapes are possible and the stones can be used in unique and innovative ways.
“Chemical vapour deposition (CVD) technology, which we refer to as ‘Diamant d’Avant-Garde’ at TAG Heuer, enables us to explore the versatility of carbon in the form of lab-grown diamonds – to create a stunning timepiece where diamonds are used in very unique shapes and textures. 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”, said Edouard Mignon, chief innovation officer at Tag Heuer. The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma, powered by the H02 Tourbillon Nanograph movement, has CVD lab-grown diamonds set in the case, and features embellished indexes. A polycrystalline diamond dial is one incredible component of this new watch. It looks like many tiny diamonds on the dial, but the face is actually one single plate of 3.9 carat diamond.
This is CVD technology. Diamond does not exist in nature in this format says the company. More diamonds embellish the case, all in custom shapes that would have been prohibitively expensive to fashion (and source) from natural stones. The crown, at 3 o’clock, is created entirely in a 2.5 carat lab-grown diamond. The 11 indexes in white gold are set with a diamond each and sport a double index at 12 o’clock. The lab-grown diamonds used are manufactured by a network of partners specialising in lab-grown diamond design, including Capsoul, a start-up based in Israel. The innovations go well beyond the surface and into the Nanograph movement which is equipped with a carbon hairspring also using CVD technology. The watch took two years to design and produce and will retail for 350,000 Swiss francs (AUD $505,000). It is the most expensive Tag Heuer timepiece yet produced and the brand says it expects to produce three or four Plasma watches this year.