There’s something about a birthday. It’s your day, you’re feeling special, it’s also a time for grown-up reflection: Who is this “you” that’s being celebrated? Celebrating a major milestone like a 160th birthday requires some introspection. TAG Heuer’s approach to such a momentous occasion heralds the arrival of a new flagship for its new era: the new 2020 Carrera Chronograph walks in the footsteps, but never re-treads the journey of young Jack Heuer and his inspired leap with Heuer Carreras in the 1960s.
For veteran collectors with a passing recollection of vintage Heuer Carreras, the aesthetics are similar enough to pass, at least from a glance, as hereditary descendants of the original but for newcomers, it’s a great chance to understand the origins of the “OG” Carrera as well as see how the model developed over the decades. Suffice it to say, the new 2020 TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph is a product of its age – sufficiently modern, reflecting its contemporary aesthetics while remaining remarkably respectful of its heritage that it doesn’t come across to cynics as “yet another re-issue”.
The TAG Heuer Carrera is in many ways the classic TAG Heuer watch. It all started with the Heuer Carrera introduced in 1963 by Jack Heuer, and it’s great historic irony that for a namesake (and a flagship chronograph), the Carrera was discontinued by Heuer in the early 1980s. The introduction of the Carrera was a defining moment for Heuer Leonidas, S.A. and its young scion and future president, Jack Heuer.
Following watchmaking traditions of the era, Heuer’s collections were initially known (like many others) by their reference numbers, the nomenclature of using the names of dangerous rally races and cross-continental drives was a masterstroke from the young Heuer and the Carrera and its namesake association would drive a desire for chronographs even from a segment of the market who didn’t think a chronograph was altogether necessary. Carrera, then, was quite likely the first “lifestyle” watch and after its reintroduction as one of the brand’s foundational collections, has been quite often, the next rung on a collector’s wishlist after their initial introduction to the brand’s entry level Aquaracer during their teenage years.
Portrait of a Modern Heuer Carrera
In 2010, TAG Heuer introduced the Calibre 1887 Carrera chronograph; five years later, the Heuer 01 Carrera chronograph, and just this year, the reference has been enhanced with two more models – the Carrera Sport Chronograph in July and the 2020 Carrera Chronograph today. While its difficult to editorialise the context for the Carrera Sport Chronograph and the 2020 Carrera Chronograph in any meaningful way (since brand executives themselves won’t give you an answer), let’s just say that for the average collector, the key difference is the lack of a tachymetre bezel, the sport variant has one, while the Carrera chronograph presented today, is closer in terms of aesthetic pedigree to its ancestor.
Therein lies the elegant sophistication of this reinterpreted TAG Heuer Carrera, its sleek stainless-steel bezel designed without a tachymeter scale is true to the unforgettable silver-dial Heuer Carrera originally launched in 1963 (and then re-issued as a limited edition just after LVMH’s inaugural Dubai Watch Week).
Available in opaline black or sunray brushed blue, anthracite and silver, the dial features “azurage” subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock and a running small-second counter at 6 o’clock above a discreet date window. The beating heart of this new 2020 TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph is the brand’s proprietary Calibre Heuer 02.
The models with black and blue dials are presented on a streamlined H-shaped stainless-steel bracelet. The angles of the outer and inner links are rounded for a more fluid appearance and the bracelet is thinner for improved comfort. The bicoloured version with a silver-coloured dial and rose-gold-plated hands and the model with a deep anthracite dial are paired with a handsome brown alligator leather strap. The screw-down sapphire caseback provides a fascinating view of the innovative movement inside, made even more exclusive by its rose-gold-coloured oscillating mass.
2020 Heuer Carrera Chronograph Price & Specs
Movement Automatic Calibre Heuer 02 with 80 hours power reserve
Case 42mm stainless steel with 100 metres water resistance
Strap Bracelet or Leather
Available from October 2020