Jewels & Time 2020: The Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Gets Rebooted
Tag Heuer celebrates its 160th anniversary this year. And what better to mark a momentous moment than refreshing its flagship collection, the Carrera? Launched in 1963, the chronograph is named after the legendary Carrera Panamericana race. Carrera is Spanish for “road”, “race”, “career” and “course”, and in 1962, then-CEO Jack Heuer felt that it made sense for the name of a new watch collection. A year later, the new watches left the manufacture, and the rest, as they say, is history.
This year, the Tag Heuer Carrera collection is split into two different ranges: the Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm and the Carrera Chronograph 42mm.
As its name suggests, the former is athletic, sporty and bold. Its stainless-steel case features alternating polished and fine-brushed finishes that make the watch appear sleeker and thinner. There are four options to choose from: deep blue with a matching ceramic bezel, muted olive green with a stainless-steel bezel or one of two black versions, each with a sleek, black ceramic bezel. The most outstanding one from these new sporty variants is the black Carrera chronograph with rose gold accents. Its black ceramic bezel is filled with rose-gold-coloured lacquer—a technique used by Tag Heuer for the first time—and the crown and push buttons are made from solid rose gold. This version is worn on a classic black leather strap, while the other three in the range are fitted with stainless steel H-shape bracelets.
As for the slight more lithe Carrera Chronograph 42mm, it is designed to embody the racing spirit while staying modern and elegant. Mirroring the look of the silver-dial Heuer Carrera originally launched in 1963, the four variants are designed without a tachymeter scale. Its dial is available in opaline black, sunray brushed blue, anthracite and silver with “azurage” subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock (for the minute and hour chronograph counters respectively) and a running small-second counter at 6 o’clock above a discreet date window.
Only the models with blue and black dials are paired with H-shaped stainless steel bracelets, while the versions with the silver and anthracite faces come with brown alligator leather straps.
Besides the close ties to the world of motorsport, what unites both the Carrera Sport Chronograph and the Carrera Chronograph is the fact that they are both powered by the Calibre Heuer 02 movement, which is visible through the watches' transparent casebacks. Made in the brand's manufacture in Chevenez, Switzerland, the movement is a workhorse, and is able to last some 80 hours. Comprising 168 components, its sophisticated construction includes a column wheel and vertical clutch—elements found only in top-notch chronograph movements.
Like an improved racing car, the Tag Heuer Carrera collection is enhanced both aesthetically and technically. It's definitely ready for the next lap.
Editor says: Having been an icon for Tag Heuer for decades, the question is whether the new and improved Carrera chronographs can continue the legacy. Between the two ranges, the Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic is the more outstanding one—it has exactly the elements what a watch enthusiast will look for in a sporty chronograph. The Carrera Chronograph, on the other hand, is a refined creation indeed but on the market, elegant chronographs are a dime a dozen, so the competition will be rife.