The use of lab-grown diamonds in watch design was a natural choice for Tag Heuer, which has long championed the use of modern and innovative technologies in watchmaking. Now, the release of this year’s Tag Heuer Carrera Plasma at Watches and Wonders 2023 marks the first time the brand has used coloured lab-grown diamonds, with pink and white hues lending femininity to a classic piece.
‘The main challenge was definitely the colour,’ Emmanuel Dupas, Tag Heuer Institute director, tells us of the creation of the watch. ‘Diamond, be it natural or lab-grown, consists of a regular arrangement of carbon atoms. A perfect diamond, colour D and flawless, has almost no defect in this arrangement and is completely colourless. In order to obtain a coloured diamond, one needs to introduce some disorder into this perfect arrangement, in a controlled way.
‘This disorder can be due to the addition of atoms of different elements such as silicon or germanium, or to the presence of defects: for example missing carbon atoms. The CVD process [Chemical Vapour Deposition, a method used to create lab-grown diamonds] implemented offers the opportunity to introduce these defects during the growth process, in a well-controlled environment, without the need for any post-processing. This way, the diamond is coloured all the way through and homogeneously. Very specific know-how – such as that of our partner Proud – is required to control this process and to be able to reproduce the same colour, batch after batch.’
The distinctive design codes of the Tag Heuer Carrera make a clean foil for the diamond-speckled dial and understated pink hues. ‘What better model to choose for pushing the boundaries within traditional luxury watchmaking technology, design codes and history than one of the most iconic of all Tag Heuer watches: the Tag Heuer Carrera?’ adds Dupas.
‘The Tag Heuer Carrera Plasma comes at a key moment in our history. It carries an innovation that we have been working on for a long time, which we have called the Avant-Garde Diamond, and marks the beginning of a new chapter in our history. I think this is a defining moment for the brand and for the luxury watch industry in a broader sense.
‘This unique timepiece is the embodiment of all the creativity and innovation that this revolutionary technology allows for: with the mastery of the play of light, design and material that it offers, the imagination becomes limitless and the possibilities of creation infinite.’