TAG Heuer makes a watch worthy of the McLaren MP4-12C

TAG Heuer Carrera MP4-12C – Click above for high-res images

Try to equate TAG Heuer with an automaker and you might come up with Porsche. After all, one of its most famous products is called the Carrera, and the legendary Steve McQueen wore one on film while piloting his Heuer-sponsored Porsche 917 around the Circuit La Sarthe. But in reality, the Swiss watchmaker is much closer to McLaren.

Heuer took on the TAG name when Mansour Ojjeh acquired the watchmaker. His company, Techniques d'Avant Garde (TAG), built the Porsche turbo engines that powered McLaren's F1 cars through the mid 80s to back-to-back world championships. Today, TAG Heuer is part of the LVMH luxury products conglomorate, but Ojjeh's independent TAG company still owns part of McLaren. And now, following special watches made to accompany the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the two have come back together for a timepiece to compliment the new MP4-12C supercar.

Based on the Carrera model, the MP4 edition features a carbon fiber dial with a large window to see the movement and a big orange zero where the 12 should be (to make it look more like a speedometer), is housed in a sandblasted titanium case and affixed to the wrist with a sweet perforated Alcantara strap. The orange detailing reflects McLaren's traditional color, and the 47-jewel Dubois Depraz Calibre 4900 fly-back chronograph movement features a perpetual calendar display. Only 1,000 examples will be made, and while you don't need to own a McLaren to buy one, it certainly couldn't hurt. Details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: TAG Heuer]

  • McLaren and TAG Heuer celebrate more than a quarter of a century of partnership with the launch of an exclusive watch for sports car enthusiasts.
  • The TAG Heuer MP4-12C Chronograph is now available as an exclusive limited edition through McLaren.

WOKING/GENEVA (January 18, 2011) – 20 years after McLaren launched the iconic McLaren F1 road car, and 26 years after McLaren's Formula 1 team joined forces with TAG Heuer, a unique and limited edition chronograph watch has been displayed today alongside the McLaren MP4-12C at the TAG Heuer Mastering Speed Exhibition at Halle Secheron in Geneva. The TAG Heuer MP4-12C Chronograph combines both companies' innovative, high-performance and precision manufacturing principles.

McLaren and TAG Heuer enjoy one of the longest-running sponsorship agreements between a racing team and a brand in the history of Formula 1, dating back to 1985. Both companies lead their fields in developing new technologies and design concepts, whilst the tradition of high-performance car buyers appreciating great watches is long and mutual: teaming up on this project, whilst celebrating their 26th anniversary of their partnership, was a natural step during the launch of the new MP4-12C sports car.

In 2011, McLaren Automotive will deliver the first in its new range of bespoke and 'pure' McLaren sports cars for the world, offering new levels of performance based on bespoke technology, a revolutionary carbon chassis and integration with Formula 1: a combination never before presented in a road car. That focus will be matched on the 12C driver's wrist as McLaren Automotive and TAG Heuer have combined forces to design a watch suitable for owners of one of the world's most innovative sports cars.

The TAG Heuer MP4-12C Chronograph matches in its characteristics the unique colour, materials, and design of the new 12C: the carbon dial is inspired by the 12C's carbon fibre MonoCell – an engineering solution inspired by the team's Formula 1 car chassis that makes the 12C incredibly light, safe and brings new levels of performance to the € 200,000 sports car segment. The watch's movement is visible through sapphire inserts on the dial, revealing the "engine" behind the watch face. Of particular use to pilots and track drivers, the Flyback function allows the chronograph to be reset to zero, and immediately restarted by pressing only once on the push button.

A specific instrument used in motor sports, the tachymeter, indicates what distance is travelled, and the chronograph records the time intervals between two locations. Other details reflect the 12C further, such as the Titanium case that minimises weight and the alcantara leather strap that was inspired by the 12C's interior materials. The orange superluminescent markers on the hands and the orange stitching of the bracelet reflect McLaren's historic and traditional road and racing car colour. The final detail comes with the McLaren speed mark logo on the watch's crown.

Frank Stephenson, Design Director McLaren Automotive: "I love watches and have always wanted to design one myself. The TAG Heuer MP4-12C Chronograph was a particularly interesting project as we have combined our passion for precision technology, engineering and performance and included some of the most outstanding design features and materials that can be found in the MP4-12C."

The TAG Heuer MP4-12C Chronograph will be produced as a limited edition of 1,000 pieces and will be exclusively available for purchase through McLaren later in 2011.

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