TAG Heuer, a stalwart in the watch industry and one of the most prolific manufacturers of chronographs, has unveiled a new vision for the timing instrument inspired by vintage aesthetics. At Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023, TAG Heuer introduces two new Carrera chronographs in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the racing icon.
Since its introduction in 1963, the TAG Heuer Carrera has become a symbol of aspiration, achievement, and good taste. Across six decades, it has appeared on the wrists of icons of cool – from Mick Jagger to James Hunt to Ryan Gosling; and though the Heuer Carrera chronograph was launched in 1963, the real story begins even earlier in 1950 during the first Carrera Panamericana car race. The story of an open road border-to-border race in Mexico covering more than 3500km with minimal safety precautions in place is the stuff of legends, lending its namesake chronograph an even more masculine allure.
Memories of this high-speed, daredevil event stayed with Jack Heuer, who eventually took over as CEO of the Heuer watch brand in 1962. Jack was the great grandson of the company’s founder, and at the time, its reputation for producing sports timers, dashboard clocks, and, increasingly, wristworn chronographs was without peer. Carrera was a word with multiple meanings and could be translated as “race,” “career,” or simply “path.” Jack decided this was the perfect name for a watch with a racing spirit aimed at a young, stylish, upwardly mobile generation in tune with the increasingly liberated tastes of the 1960s.
By time of its debut, the TAG Heuer Carrera chronograph was an expression of a carefully thought-out design in accordance to Jack’s form meets function philosophy. On the one hand, it was a tool watch, created to be useful and functional with a clean and legible design, without extraneous elements that would distract. On the other, it was also modern and inventive: pushing the tachymeter scale onto the tension ring – an innovative device proprietary to the Carrera that was used to hold the crystal in place and protect the watch from dust and water.
A new Carrera Chronograph with box sapphire aka glassbox
Today, Jack’s inspired vision is still as potent as it was 60 years ago especially when the case is topped with a sapphire crystal shaped like the domed hesalite crystals found on Heuer Carrera models from the 1970s. However, it’s no mere remake, which taking inspiration, Jack’s aesthetics have been updated for the 21st century – the crystal has been redeveloped so that the curve flows seamlessly over the tachymeter scale that runs around the dial edge and into the case. This is fundamentally the most potent design upgrade on a timepiece and a head turning element for watch purists and those in love with the golden age of watchmaking.
TAG Heuer’s designers and watchmakers have also reworked and improved its form for its seventh decade of service. The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph’s vintage-inspired domed, box sapphire crystal is matched with an equally “new-old” 39mm stainless steel case with vastly improved ergonomics thanks to tapered, sloping lugs which make the watch as comfortable to wear as possible across a range of wrist sizes. there are two models: one with a signature blue dial on a blue calfskin leather strap, and a second with a racier, black-and-silver “reverse panda” dial, the nickname given to black watch dials with high-contrast white or silver subdials.
The reverse panda model is a greatest hits compilation of some of the most coveted Heuer Carreras of the 1960s, such as the reference 3147 Dato 12, the first Heuer Carrera with chronograph and calendar functions, and the reference 2447 NS, perhaps the rarest Heuer Carrera of them all, with an extremely limited production run of just a few years. It comes on a black perforated calfskin leather strap.
39mm Carrera Chronograph Price & Specs
Case 39 mm polished steel with 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre TH20-00 with 80 hours water resistance
All new Calibre Heuer 02 for modern timekeeping
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph is an evolved version of TAG Heuer’s in-house automatic chronograph caliber, the Heuer 02. Where the previous calibre only charged the movement’s mainspring when the rotor moved in a counter-clockwise direction, the new TH20-00 visible through the watch’s sapphire crystal case back offers bidirectional winding. This evolution, overseen by TAG Heuer’s Movements Director Carole Forestier, not only delivers faster and more reliable winding, ensuring the watch is running closer to its maximum 80-hour power reserve but also enjoys improved precision and more refined finishing, creating a technical yet sophisticated movement than expected in its price category. It joins the TAG Heuer TH30-00 and TH50-00 calibers in the new series of movements.
A new Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon with glassbox
A more elegantly proportioned update to a collection of previously introduced TAG Heuer Carrera tourbillon pieces with larger, sportier case designs, the new Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon follows the same design principles and watch head/case with its Carrera Chronograph cousin, however this time, it has a dial punctuated by an aperture at 6 o’clock revealing a high efficiency tourbillon. The new watch is powered by TAG Heuer’s in-house tourbillon movement, the TH20-09, a variant of the new series of updated Heuer 02 movements. The chronometer-certified automatic tourbillon with chronograph complication and is backed by a 65-hour power reserve.
On the latest edition of the Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon, every element of the watch has been refined to showcase the mechanical beauty of the tourbillon. deep azuré subdials are surrounded by high-contrast silver rings, making the chronograph read- outs as legible as possible, however the tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock is highlighted by a larger in diameter, thinner silver ring, drawing all focus to the tourbillon first and foremost. The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon’s curved domed sapphire crystal encompassing the entirety of the dial and tachymeter display now demonstrate the tourbillon’s beauty from a wider range of angles. And, on the dial, the flange and indexes have been subtly curved to mirror and complement the crystal’s edge, enhancing the watch’s elegant feel.
Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon Price & Specs
Case 42 mm polished steel with 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic COSC Calibre TH20-09 with 70 hours water resistance
A new Carrera Chronograph with all new aesthetics
Two new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph join the family with distinct racing aesthetics; both are delivered in 42-mm stainless steel with unmistakable dials: a choice of blue or black, both decorated with vivid orange detailing recalling classic race car speedometers. Returning are the original 1960s highly legible 3-6-9 subdial layout with some modifications. The new model is beautifully balanced, with two of its primary time-measuring counters in clear focus while its sub-seconds dial at 6 taking a backseat. The chronograph seconds scale running around the edge of the dial, and add precision yet unfussy time measurement detailing. This is complemented by a s a gradient orange ring that runs around the edge of the dial and punctuated with the applied hour markers for a touch of high-end refinement.
42mm TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Price & Specs
Case 42 mm polished steel with 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre HEUER02 with 70 hours water resistance
This story first appeared on Augustman Singapore