By now, loyal Hodinkee readers will know that I like big shiny things. The more gemstones I can marvel at during the trade show, the more at peace I feel. Playing with diamonds is my form of escapism; I transcend into another realm, my mind basically leaves my body and for a few minutes, and all that matters is light-play.
But I fail to understand why liking diamonds on watches seems to signify a lack of taste for a certain contingent of the watch community. I’m hoping the TAG Heuer Plasma can help build a case for why gem setting on watches is just so undervalued. And how, in this particular instance, the gem-setting is proof of serious scientific innovation.
Last year TAG Heuer released its first Carrera Plasma and the 44mm tourbillon model was a huge highlight of the trade show. In fact, there were a number of times that I passed by the booth to get a second peek at the watch inside of its very important glass case, and 90% of the time it was nowhere to be found. It was so elusive that I wondered if it was a ploy to keep us coming back for more; like a new love interest who texts you back so sporadically that even a “hey how r u” text feels like a declaration of love.
After my last Plasma sighting in 2022, I spent a good portion of the year brushing up on my lab-grown diamond knowledge. It’s a polarizing topic in the jewelry world and, rather inevitably, there are a lot of politics tied up in a debate concerning the $84 billion dollar “natural” diamond industry.
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the iconic Carrera collection, TAG Heuer presents a new TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Chronograph Tourbillon watch incorporating the Diamant d’Avant-Garde technology.
This breakthrough technology allowed the Swiss luxury watchmaker to introduce lab-grown diamonds on case, crown, dial and indexes of the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Tourbillon Nanograph in 2022. This year, the brand takes its cutting-edge and industry-defining CVD expertise one step further, adding lab-grown diamonds in custom, creative shapes to the exclusive timepiece’s aluminum bezel and bracelet. The spectacular new TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant D’Avant-Garde is a matte black chronograph echoing the signature features of the TAG Heuer Carrera, with its highly legible, uncluttered bicompax dial, facetted lugs, sporty elegance, reliability, and a timeless spirit.
As part of its novelties for Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, TAG Heuer is showcasing its lab-grown diamond technology with two different thoroughly unconventional iced-out models. While the star of the show is the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm, which features its dial, bezel, case, and bracelet asymmetrically set with 124 clear diamonds (including a solid diamond winding crown), the second Diamant d’Avant-Garde model debuts a different diamond-growing technology, and it represents the brand’s first use of colored lab-grown diamonds. Building upon the 36mm version of the standard time-and-date Carrera model, the new TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde 36mm features an 18k white gold case paired with a combination of both white and pink lab-grown diamonds.