Coinciding with the 160th anniversary of the brand in 2020, TAG Heuer inaugurated the Carrera Chronograph 42mm, a winning combination of design cues of the famous ancestor with a dash of refinement and modernity. A tribute, if you like, to the importance this collection holds for the brand, the Carrera Chronograph 42mm is still a racing-inspired high-performance timepiece for sports car enthusiasts. In light of the upcoming Chinese New Year that welcomes the reign of the dragon, TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon unveils two limited editions flaunting bright red accents, a colour intimately associated with Chinese festivities and traditions.
On 10 February 2024, China will welcome the Year of the Dragon, a legendary creature adopted by Chinese Emperors as a symbol of power and wisdom. Unlike the frightening flame-spewing dragons of Western folklore, Chinese dragons are considered benevolent creatures capable of controlling weather patterns and bringing rain to ensure bountiful crops. For a brand like TAG Heuer that is not in the business of crafting artistic dials with representations of animals, the question of how to incorporate an animal on the dial of a sports watch was successfully addressed last year with the 44mm Carrera Chronograph celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a bunny discreetly portrayed on the caseback, visible only to the wearer.
Two Carrera Chronographs, one on stainless steel, the other in 18k rose gold, have been chosen to celebrate TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon. Housed in 42mm diameter cases, the lack of a tachymetre scale on the bezel is faithful to Jack Heuer’s original 1963 design and elevates the elegance factor. Piston-style pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock with the large crown and angular lugs – all polished – evoke early Carrera models.
While the cases are classic 42mm Carrera Chronograph with a height of 14.3mm, the dials reveal subtle details alluding to the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon. The steel version flaunts a sunray-brushed silver dial, and the gold version has a sunray-brushed 18k rose gold-plated dial. With their reversed panda dial display, both models have contrasting red snailed sub-dials for elapsed 30-minutes at 3 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock. Instead of having a third sub-dial for the small seconds, the dial of the Carrera Chronograph relies on an elegant solution using two horizontal lines complemented by a vertical date window at 6 o’clock and a calligraphic dragon character appearing just below the axis of the central hour, minute and seconds hands. In addition to the red sub-dials, the central chronograph seconds hand is picked out in red lacquer to match the lacquer painted on the applied hour indices – rhodium-plated for the silver dial and pink gold-plated for the gold dial. In keeping with the more elegant nature of this watch, a discreet amount of luminescent material is used on the dial, highlighting the central hour and minute hands and the tips of the hour indices. The dial is protected by a sapphire crystal and the water-resistance is 100 metres.
A view of the complete body of the dragon is offered on the caseback, its black body with golden scales printed on the sapphire crystal as it coils around the openworked rose gold rotor. A modern calibre with integrated architecture, Heuer 02 has a column wheel and a vertical clutch, a combination that ensures a smooth and accurate run of the chronograph. Beating at a 4Hz frequency, it can store up to 80 hours of power.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon models are delivered with red alligator leather straps; the steel model comes with a matching folding clasp and the more upmarket gold edition with a rose gold pin buckle.