Since his self-appointment at the head of TAG Heuer, Jean-Claude Biver has been adamant about the brand’s position in the market: it should be the gateway brand into the world of luxury watchmaking. A year later, the company launched the watch that would help him achieve his goal. The Carrera Heuer-01 would be to TAG Heuer what the Big Bang had been to Hublot: a modern flagship, made with contemporary materials, capable of housing any and all complications.
Already, Tag Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T is showing the versatility of its new pillar. A few months after the release of its new chronograph, TAG has announced plans to release a tourbillon chronograph that borrows the case design of the Carrera Heuer-01. And the big news is its incredible price point. At $15,950, the Carrera Heuer-02T is, quite simply, the most affordable Swiss-made tourbillon chronograph available on the market.
In fact, it is roughly ten times cheaper than the similarly made Bell & Ross BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon. Both feature a 45 mm case, made from a combination of grade-5 titanium, stainless steel, and rubber. Both present semi-skeletonized dials, highlighting the minute and hour counters at 3 and 9 o’clock, respectively. And both feature a flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock. Where they differ greatly is in their price.
Exactly how TAG Heuer are able to make such an affordable tourbillon isn’t exactly clear yet, but neither the precious materials nor the hand-finishing usually reserved for such a revered complication are present. What is clear however, is the brand’s intention to release a tourbillon movement that is verifiably sound, and able to pass the COSC certification (a 21-day independently administered test that’s required for any Swiss-made watch that calls itself a chronometer).
We also know the new manufacture Tag Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T movement, which beats at 28,000 vph, is based on the abandoned CH-80 Chronograph, and that some of the components were already being developed in-house in the Chevenez workshops. TAG Heuer says it was able to reduce the cost of production by “optimizing the manufacturing process.”
Two variations of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T will be available; a non-limited model priced at $15,950, and a “Black Phantom” edition of 250 pieces priced at $23,100. It wouldn’t be a Jean-Claude Biver watch if there weren’t an all-black limited edition. The watch comes on a black rubber strap with deployment buckle and safety push-buttons.
The Tag Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T will be available from Tag Heuer online here; price, $15,950. 45 mm case, grade-5 titanium case with 12 modular components. Automatic chronograph combined with a COSC-certified Tourbillon, black column wheel. Black rubber strap; Also available in a limited “Black Phantom” edition. Water resistance 100 meters/328 feet.