The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph models continue the brand’s 160th anniversary celebrations
Editor’s note: This is a Mind, Body & Soul review of the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph models for 2020 collection. For our standard reviews, please head to our detailed review section here.
What is it: Released following the launch of their new and larger Carrera Sports Chronograph watches, presenting the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph models for 2020 collection
Why: Marking the brand’s 160th anniversary
When released: 16th September 2020
Where: Available globally, non-limited release
Who is it for: For the lovers of the brand and the Carrera design language, and for those who liked their historic models but wanted something with a touch of modern flair
How does it do: The toned down aesthetics achieved by the use of a sleek stainless-steel bezel without a tachymeter scale are eye-pleasing. For $7’700 AUD one gets a fairly decorated for the price in-house movement with exceptional 80-hour power reserve, 100m water-resistance, the brand’s rich sporting and timekeeping history, and a fairly distinctive looking timepiece.
Missing: Well, nothing really, it’s pretty good for what it is, though I don’t like the texts of movement name and power-reserve splattered on the dial at 6’o clock. Other than that, personally I don’t feel the wow factor though. Maybe it’s because I am not someone who was around in 1960s when the originals came out and impressed the world.
For instance their recent 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition had that extra oomph, that burst of colour and energy, a certain edge, and a more wearable 39mm diameter.
These are good but nothing too new or exciting aesthetically, at least for me personally. Movement wise they are great though, I mean the concept of an established luxury Swiss watch brand releasing a watch with an in-house movement and 80-hour power reserve for this price is getting to be a novelty. Kudos on that.
The movement — Heuer 02 — used in the reference CBN2012.FC6483 (anthracite sunray dial option which is our favourite) is an automatic manufacture chronograph movement. The 6.95mm thick movement is comprised of 168 components and beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’000 A/h) allowing for a very impressive 80-hour power reserve.
The relatively thin for a chronograph movement features a vertical clutch and a column-wheel; the former improves the precision of the start-and-stop functions as well as the running of the chronograph second hand, while the latter provides more accurate and precise functionality.
Albeit not hand-finished, the movement does feature Côtes de Genève patterns and a redesigned oscillating weight with rose gold plating.
The movement is encased inside a 42mm diameter and 14.4mm thick steel case with a mixture of polished and finely brushed finishes and two pushbuttons and a screw-down sapphire case back.
As toned down as this release is, given it doesn’t have a tachymetre scale to clutter the dial, the 14.4mm thickness almost negates that, especially when worn. I really wish the thickness was around the 11mm mark.
All four models — opaline black ref. CBN2010.BA0642, blue sunray ref. CBN2011.BA0642, anthracite sunray ref. CBN2012.FC6483, and silver opaline dial with 5N rose-gold accents ref. CBN2013.FC6483 — feature “azurage” subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock and a running small-second counter at 6 o’clock above a date window. I realise the date window is part of the originals but it’s not really discreet and I would have preferred the watch sans that.
Long story short, this release in 42mm is still too big for my liking. The 39mm The Carrera Silver Edition (ref. CBK221B.FC6479) and Montreal Edition (ref. CBK221C.FC6488) that released recently were more up my alley, and in my opinion better marked the 160th anniversary of the original Carrera lineup that was inspired by the legendary Carrera Panamericana.
The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph models seem more to take on that heritage and turn it around a fair bit too much. I preferred the fact that the Silver Edition re-edition was a spot-on remake of the original featuring the marvellous simplicity of its (same coloured as the dial) three azurage (concentric circles) sub-dial counters. So the release of the Silver Edition made perfect sense as the re-edition had been executed to perfection. You can read more about that in our review here.
That said, I can see where the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph models will score, and that’s on larger wrists — I would say 7.25 inch and upwards — and for those who like a more modern approach to their timepieces.
All said and done, Jack Heuer’s watchmaking perfection that is seeped in his passion for dial design and legibility is clearly visible. These chronographs relatively cleaner dial look should thus also appeal. Another aspect I see hitting off with enthusiasts and collectors alike is the dual quality of these new chronographs in that these are very versatile in appeal: work wear, check; racetrack, check; weekend chilling with the guys, check.
To find out more about the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph models and other TAG Heuer timepieces, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are ©TAG Heuer.