Tag Heuer's new Monaco finds inspiration on the track

With the word Monaco in its title and drive belt transmission in its specs, you could be forgiven for thinking Tag Heuer was making the leap into the racing car market.

While this isn't the case, they have used this industry, and specifically the mechanics of a high-performance racing engine, as inspiration for a range of technologically advanced luxury watches.

The Swiss watch company has turned traditional watch engineering techniques on their head, ditching pinions and wheels in favour of a belt-driven transmission. Five tiny belts are used in the watch, each as thick as a single human hair.

For the watch enthusiasts out there, it also has an automatic linear winding system, which replaces the traditional oscillating system; and according to Tag Heuer is accurate to plus or minus four seconds a day.

The inner-workings of the technology are a big part of the design and glass in the front and back allows the owner to see the different components working. It has a platinum case and the face retains the classic Monaco square shape. However there are no numbers along the dial, making it difficult to tell the time.

The Monaco watch was first seen on the wrist of Steve McQueen in the 1971 racing film Le Mans. This current version was initially revealed as a concept watch in 2004. Getting it onto the shelves took five years and Tag Heuer secured two patents for the technology during this time.

Fans of the watchmaker shouldn't get too excited though. The company has no plans to replace their more traditional watch 'engine' with the V4 technology. The purpose of the enterprise was to manufacture 150 "luxury pieces". These have the price tag to match at $125,000.

The release of the watch has caused a buzz in the watch blogosphere. Steven Grande from Time To Tock has described it as "a masterpiece". Ariel Adams gave it a big thumbs up on ablogtoread.com.

"Tag Heuer has been known to make interesting watch concepts that are eye-catching, but I don't know how often they ever actually made the watches," he wrote. "With the average price of a Tag Heuer watch retailing at probably $US2000 this is a major step up."

The Monaco V4 will be launched in Australia next Wednesday and will be available to purchase from late-November.