Over the past few years, the in house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph has become the de facto flagship movement for TAG Heuer, appearing in high-end variants of the Autavia, Monaco, and the aggressive, futuristic Carrera Calibre Heuer 02. Much of the brand’s release schedule for the first half of 2020 has been aimed at bringing this advanced powerplant to the classically styled half of the Carrera line, with a pair of limited edition Carrera models drawing on TAG Heuer’s classic ‘60s and ‘70s back catalogue for inspiration. Now the Swiss marque has taken this process several steps further, introducing four new vintage inflected Carrera models powered by the Heuer 02 to the regular production lineup. The TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic series will likely form the backbone of the high-end Carrera lineup moving forward, handsomely combining old-school charm with a thoroughly modern size and powerplant.
While the 44mm case design of these new models is instantly recognizable as a Carrera, the proportions have been altered throughout to reflect changing tastes. The trademark Carrera beveled lugs are shortened, featuring a more dramatic inward taper than previous iterations. The tachymeter bezels also receive a rework in ceramic, bringing these models in with the competition at this price range, although for the green dial model a more retro stainless steel treatment. In addition to the three core variants in stainless steel, a fourth two tone model is also available with an 18k rose gold crown and matching pushers. A sapphire display caseback finishes off the new design, while still allowing for a decent 100 meters of water resistance. While the slightly altered Carrera shape balances handsomely between vintage and modern cues, the sheer size of this case is something of a potential stumbling block. Even with shorter lugs, 44mm is undeniably beefy, which may turn off some potential buyers. It’s difficult not to imagine this design working far better at around 42mm or even 40mm.
The base dial designs of the new TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic models are timeless reinterpretations of the core Carrera layout, with large applied rectangular indices, faceted baton hands with a central contrast stripe in black, and snailed chronograph subdials sitting slightly below the main dial level. The sunburst finishes help to inject life into these traditional elements, providing a dynamic and coarsely brushed surface that adds a sense of rugged sportiness. The black sunburst is naturally the most conservative and versatile of the bunch, followed by a slightly desaturated medium blue, but the real winner of the collection is the verdant British racing green dial. While green dials are becoming more common in certain niches of watchmaking, the racing chronograph segment has yet to see many models in the color. It’s an immediately eye-catching tone, one that demands attention without being ostentatious, and immediately sets this new model apart from other entries in TAG Heuer’s catalog.
Naturally, the TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic is powered by the in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph movement. This is the movement’s first appearance in a classically styled regular production Carrera, but the technical specs remain the same from previous, more specialized offerings. This vertical clutch, column wheel-equipped powerplant boasts a massive 80 hour power reserve at a smooth 28,800 bph beat rate.
All three stainless steel models of the new Heuer 02 equipped Carrera are paired with an attractively sporty oyster style bracelet. While wider and thinner than previous iterations, this style still features TAG Heuer’s distinctive polished bevels on the center links for dynamic light play. For the two tone variant, TAG Heuer instead opts for clean black alligator leather with a signed deployant clasp, imbuing the watch with a more luxurious feel than its counterparts.
TAG Heuer is introducing today four new, redesigned Carrera models, all powered by the in-house manufactured Calibre Heuer 02 movement.
In 1962, CEO at the time Jack Heuer wanted a clean and well-proportioned chronograph designed for drivers and inspired to the world of motor racing.
When he heard the Spanish word Carrera, used for the renowned Carrera Panamericana race, he loved the sound and the multiple meanings – including road, race, course and career – so much that he quickly decided that the product had to be called “Carrera”. The Heuer Carrera was launched in 1963 and since then it has been a symbol of the brand and one of the most popular sport chronographs ever designed (you can read the complete history of TAG Heuer here).
With the new Tag Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44 mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic, the Swiss brand takes the collection back to the roots with a streamlined design that is complemented by the outstanding performances delivered by the Heuer 02 calibre.
While the 160 Years Limited Edition Carreras may have stolen many of the headlines this year, the most important new Carrera launches are without doubt the 44mm Carrera Sport Chronograph back in July and this watch- the new 42mm Carrera Elegant Chronograph series. Like its sportier sister, the new Carrera uses the in-house Heuer 02 movement, the new dial design language and the revised case style. But what is new is the return to the classic Carrera looks- no external bezel and an elegant, beautifully simple dial.
For much of the past decade, the aesthetic of TAG Heuer’s line up has been divided by the concept of modernity, paying favor to both the resolutely classic and the decidedly modern. As such, the “Heuer Heritage” family stands in stark contrast with watches like the Connected Modular, the colorful Formula 1, or the bold and complex Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02. As a brand forced to balance the weight of its own legacy with its continued existence as a producer of products for an ever-changing market, TAG Heuer has to find new ways of communicating the message, even when speaking to buyers that know nothing of the brand’s history. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a very modern evolution of the Heuer form, the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02.