TAG Team: Heuer and Mercedes unveil new SLR Chronograph

TAG Heuer is a watchmaker with a long history in motorsports, sponsoring racing events, drivers and teams for decades. Even Steve McQueen wore one. Now the Swiss watchmaker has unveiled the "TAG Heuer SLR for Mercedes-Benz", the third timepiece made in collaboration with the German automaker.

The automatic chronograph features the TAG Heuer Calibre 17 movement enclosed in a uniquely-designed case that takes its styling cues from the SLR McLaren and boasts a number of unique features. While conventional chronographs have the function buttons mounted on the side of the case, TAG Heuer patented a mechanism placing the buttons next to the bezel, like on the previous SLR wristwatch, only angled at 45 degrees. TAG Heuer managed to eliminate the functional tradeoff between a diver's watch and a chronograph by using two bezels: a black titanium bezel with markings against which the user can measure between mileposts to calculate the exact speed all the way up to 400 km/h (248 mph), and a unique second bezel for counting down – handy for qualifying sessions and rally-style timed stages. The designers avoided taking the easy way out: it's the inner bezel that rotates, adjusted by a second crown positioned at 9 o'clock.

Follow the jump for the rest of the details, an official press release, and a second photograph of the timepiece.

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[Source: DaimlerChrysler]

The dynamic design of the stainless steel case sets this timepiece apart from more traditional chronographs. The black dial has a subtle spiral pattern with hand-laid appliqué markers, two sub-dials at 3 and 9 that resemble a sportscar's instruments and a large date window at 6 o'clock, all under double-coated anti-glare, scratch-resistant sapphire glass. It's available with either a steel-link bracelet or rubber strap modeled after the SLR's distinctive side-vents. Only 3500 pieces will be offered when it goes on sale in June. If you're a Mercedes SLR owner, it's a must-have item. If you're not, but wish you were, this timepiece might very well be the next best thing.


TAG Heuer SLR for Mercedes-Benz

The latest product of a long and fruitful partnership between Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH and the Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, the new "TAG Heuer SLR for Mercedes-Benz" automatic chronograph combines the classical art of watchmaking with superior technology and exclusivity. The third chronograph to emerge from this collaboration will be available as from the summer in a limited edition of 3,500 pieces. The special hallmarks of this high-tech timepiece include the arrangement of the chronograph's buttons beside the dial, echoing the layout of the shift buttons on the automatic transmission selector lever in the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren super sports car.

The "TAG Heuer SLR for Mercedes-Benz" mechanical automatic chronograph is perfectly matched to the needs and wishes of the sports car enthusiast. Its unique styling features afford this exceptional timepiece a special position in the upmarket segment. The buttons for the stopwatch functions guarantee simple and precise operation, being arranged at an angle of 45 degrees to the plane of the dial and directly next to the outer bezel, where they are within especially easy reach. This sophisticated design, in the style of the shift buttons on the SLR, has been patented around the world by the Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer.

The fixed, black bezel with engraved SLR logo is made from a high-grade titanium alloy and has a tachymeter scale for accurate speed measurement. With two presses of the button, it is possible to clock driving speeds of up to 400 km/h. The basis for calculation is a measured distance of precisely 1,000 metres, which can easily be read off from the kilometre posts on German motorways.

Another special feature is the additional, inner bezel with 60-minute scale, which can be rotated on either side using a flange and the secondary crown positioned at 9 o'clock, enabling, for example, rapid countdown using the minutes hand or measurement of a still remaining period of time.

Watertight down to 100 metres depth, easily readable dial

The first-class workmanship and attractive design details emphasise the sporty character of the TAG Heuer SLR for Mercedes-Benz. The 45-millimetre-diameter, brushed-steel case has polished edges and features to set off the elegant, ergonomic form of the timepiece. The screwed-on bottom of the case affords protection down to a water depth of 100 metres and carries the engraved "SLR" logo as well as a serial number.

The TAG Heuer SLR for Mercedes-Benz is powered by the mechanical TAG Heuer Calibre 17 movement with automatic winder via a central rotor, chronograph function and date display.

The intricately styled black dial is superbly set off by the extremely tough and scratch-resistant sapphire glass, which is provided with an anti-reflective coating on both sides. A special polishing process gives rise to the dynamic spiral effect of the dial. Large, hand-finished appliqué double-index diamond hours markers ensure optimal readability even in poor visibility. The two counters are symmetrically arranged, at 9 o'clock for the 30-minute counter and at 3 o'clock for the permanently running, small seconds counter, both counters being bordered by polished, likewise hand-finished appliqué circles. The especially large date window is at 6 o'clock and has a decorative frame. The hands as well as the index markers are provided with luminescent coatings.

This distinctive chronograph is available in two versions of wrist strap. Reference CAG2111.BA0253 is the embodiment of masculinity with its five-row steel-link strap. Reference CAG211.FT6009 exhibits an unusual feature in that the natural-rubber strap moulds itself even more pliably to the wearer's wrist, recalling the design of the lateral air outlets on the SLR. In both versions, a folding clasp with pushbuttons and engraved SLR logo guarantees a secure fit, protection against unintentional opening as well as convenience of use.

The "TAG Heuer SLR for Mercedes-Benz" automatic chronograph will be available as from June 2007 through selected watch retailers.

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