While some thought that TAG Heuer’s haute horlogerie ambitions would be cast aside with the change in the brand’s pricing and positioning strategy, the unveiling of the TAG HEUER CARRERA HEUER 02 TOURBILLON demonstrated how the two ideas could work together. Yes, there was still room for high-end TAG Heuers using in-house movements- but they had to represent exceptional value. We first showed you the new tourbillon last year when the watch was announced, almost as a post-script to Baselworld 2015. But now we’ve had the chance to spend some proper time with the Heuer-02t to bring you this detailed review. You may know that there are two models in the range, but the early success of the watch has meant that an additional two Rose Gold models join the family.
The Carrera has only changed marginally in the transition from concept watch to production model, and TAG Heuer has held firm with it’s promise of pricing the watch at levels unheard of for a tourbillon, prompting some shrill comments from the usually unflappable Patek Philippe CEO Thierry Stern. But there is no voodoo at play here- as we’ll tell you, there are some very good, logical reasons why the watch is priced the way it is, despite the bleats from Geneva.
The Carrera Heuer-02T is based on the same case design and modular principle as the Carrera Heuer-01. The 45mm case is made from titanium on all variants- what changes between the various models is the finishing of the centre case, and the metal used for the lugs and the bezel.
TAG HEUER CARRERA HEUER 02 TOURBILLON dial is more of a hybrid between a full skeleton dial and a traditional dial. It’s an industrial look that will either be one of the main reasons that people buy the watch, or conversely be one of the reasons they won’t.
The dial displays a 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 0’clock and a 12-hour chronograph counter at 9 o’clock. The Heuer-02t movement is based on the Calibre CH80, but loses both the Chronograph seconds counter at 6 o’clock and the date window to make room for the tourbillon cage. Flip the watch around and you’ll see a sapphire crystal offering a window to the Calibre Heuer-02t, a reworked version of TAG Heuer’s Calibre CH80.
Take one part Carrera Sport, one part Carrera Tourbillon, add in a splash of blue and you have the new 2021 TAG HEUER CARRERA HEUER 02 TOURBILLON– the first Heuer 02T model to have a conventional dial, rather than the Skeleton dial/ plate that became a hallmark of the Jean-Claude Biver era at TAG Heuer. And that change to the dial is an important development. While the Skeleton style dials helped set a new path for the modular Carrera Heuer 01/ 02, it was a shame that there was no way of getting the Tourbillon version of the Carrera with a traditional dial- we’ve always preferred a conventional dial with its superior legibility. However don’t fear that you won’t be able to watch the Tourbillon work its magic, as there is a large cut-out in the dial at 6 o’clock in place of the usual running seconds register.
The latest Heuer 02T uses the same modular 45mm case as other Tourbillon models, this time made from Grade 5 Titanium and featuring a ceramic fixed blue bezel.
But it’s that beautiful blue star-burst dial that is the “USP” of the new Carrera. Blue highlights also appear on the crown, tips of the sub-dial hands, the tip of the central chronograph hand and the anodised aluminium bridge.
The watch looks very much part of the contemporary Carrera range, essentially being the big brother to the 44mm Carrera Sport Heuer 02 launched last year. The Heuer 02T is TAG Heuer’s flagship movement, combining the in-house Heuer 02 with a Tourbillon regulator to offer what is still the most affordable Tourbillon watch from a mainstream Swiss manufacturer. The movement is a certified Chronometer, and features a blue oscillating rotor.
The 2021 TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02T Blue Dial is a limited edition of 250 watches, available globally, and with each watch individually numbered on the case back.