Year of the TAG Heuer Carrera
While last year was the year of the Monaco, 2020 is shaping up to the be the year of the TAG Heuer Carrera. So far this year, we’ve seen TAG Heuer launch the Carrera 160 Years and the Carrera 160 Years Montreal (both limited editions) and the tachymeter-bezel Carrera Sport Chronograph.
To cap it off TAG Heuer recently re-introduced the Carrera Chronograph – a set of 1960s inspired in-house automatic chronographs. The new collection is somewhat a return to form for the brand and will likely remain a staple for years to come.
Measuring 41.7 mm by 14.4 mm (48.2 mm lug-to-lug), the Carrera Chronograph is by no means a dainty watch. It does however wear smaller than its measurements would suggest, due to the thin polished bezel and short, wrist-hugging lugs. All in stainless-steel, there’s two bracelet variants with black and blue opaline dials, and two on leather, one with an Anthracite sunray brushed dial and the other with a silver opaline dial and rose-gold plated hands, hour-markers and TAG Heuer applied logo.
Vintage enthusiasts will be pleased to learn TAG Heuer has scrapped the 2010 Carrera Chronograph register configuration for a more classic “tri-compax” arrangement. With registers at the 3,6 and 9 o’clock positions – indicating minutes, running seconds and chronograph hours, respectively. The TAG Heuer shield positioned below a heavily inked “CARRERA” at 12 o’clock and the words “HEUER 02” and “80 HOURS” between the 7 and 6 o’clock and 6 and 5 o’clock hour markers, impart a sense of balance and symmetry.
TAG Heuer’s Carrera Chronographs have always erred on the side of clean, unfussy dial designs. While some prefer writing to be kept at a minimum, TAG Heuer is hardly guilty of excessive writing on the new Carrera Chronograph. And anyway, the Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic is an excellent (frankly underrated) movement; 80 hours of power reserve is definitely something to celebrate for a watch designed to accompany you throughout the week. As prominent TAG Heuer collector Jeff Stein says, “to my eye, it gives the dial a good top-to-bottom balance”.
Above the stubby 6 o’clock hour marker there’s a stepped date-window and an open-crosshair running seconds subdial. Had the pursuits called all the shots it’s unlikely we’d see the inclusion of the date-window. Being at 6 though is markedly better than at 4 – and while it’s never easy to cleanly integrate a date-window, TAG Heuer have done an admirable job in pulling off an information rich dial while keeping it clean and legible. Overall, it’s a considerable improvement on the 2010 Carrera Chronograph, which looks unbalanced in comparison.
Indices are rhodium-plated and applied, hands are also rhodium-plated with the hour and minute hands coated in white Super-LumiNova. In line with the silver-dial Heuer Carrera that was originally launched in 1963, all new Carrera Chronographs feature crisp tachymeter scales – a useful addition used to measure speed.
The Carrera Chronograph houses the Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic – a brilliant movement TAG Heuer built from scratch. Measuring 31 mm in diameter and 6.9 mm high, the 168-component 02 Automatic has a fully integrated architecture with column-wheel and vertical clutch, beats at 28,800 vph and has a single barrel deliver an impressive 80 hours power-reserve. The 02 Automatic also conveniently offers a quick-set date, hacking seconds and has a bidirectional winding rotor.
Case & Bracelet
The Carrera Chronograph has an elegant polished and fine-brushed stainless-steel case, with angled lugs, twin stainless steel chrono pushers, a stainless-steel screw-down sapphire case back and a domed and bevelled sapphire crystal dial with a double anti-reflective coating. While intended as a casual everyday watch, the Carrera Chronograph is also conveniently water-resistant to 100 metres.
The bracelet models come with a stainless-steel H-shaped bracelet and have a folding clasp with double safety push buttons. The two leather variants come on brown alligator straps and like their bracelet siblings, have a stainless-steel folding clasp with double safety push buttons. All four variants are now available.
- CBN2010.BA0642 – Black Opaline Dial / Bracelet
- CBN2011.BA0642 – Blue Sunray Brushed Dial / Bracelet
- CBN2012.FC6483 – Anthracite Sunray Brushed Dial / Leather Strap
- CBN2013.FC6483 – Silver Opaline Dial, Rose Gold Indices / Leather Strap