TAG Heuer’s iconic sports watches won their fame and accolades on the wrists of legend from the worlds of motorsport and Hollywood. Andretti, Siffert, Rindt, Senna and McQueen: all wore watches such as the Carrera, the Monaco, the Autavia, and the Monza.
Moving away from the world of vintage inspiration, the new TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 Green sees the Swiss brand building its iconic Carrera series in a different, more contemporary direction, defined by a bold case design that measures 44mm × 15mm. This new series-produced collection was announced in July 2020 and is defined by its larger dimensions and an outer bezel equipped with a tachymeter scale – a look that isn’t exactly new for the Carrera but also isn’t traditionally associated with the line either. While the diameter and thickness might seem imposing at first glance, the case construction of the Carrera Sport Chronograph was actually designed in a way that optimizes wearability for a range of wrist sizes. The long, faceted lugs that have long been a Carrera trademark have been trimmed here, with short, stubby lugs that angle downward and result in a smooth integration with the paired stainless steel bracelet and an approachable lug-to-lug of approximately 51mm.
Beyond the case design, the dials feature an interesting circular brushed finish that provides the watches with a generally warm appearance that contrasts nicely with the multi-finish texture of the case and H-link bracelet. Compared to a more conventional sunburst finish, the dial execution of the Carrera Sport feels more matte and less reflective. Each watch has three sub-dials and applied hour markers filled with white Super-LumiNova. The 30-minute counter and 12-hour register are both decorated with concentric ribbing, while the small seconds display at six o’clock has an opaline finish and houses a white date aperture. TAG Heuer developed a new serif typeface for the Carrera Sport series that builds on the font found on the original chronographs but is subtly refreshed for today.
Named after the Carrera Panamericana – an infamous, coast-to-coast race that ran in Mexico from 1950 to 1954 – the original chronograph was an immediate success after being shown at the Basel fair in 1963. At the time, Heuer already had an established identity in the world of sport due to its renowned background in stopwatch production. The Carrera’s success was a natural extension and it soon asserted itself as a flagship of the new Heuer identity.
Many of the design ideals that Jack Heuer originally intended for the Carrera carry over to its latest versions. Where the shift toward modernity happens is with the movement: the in-house automatic Calibre Heuer 02. The Calibre Heuer 02’s basic attributes start with a fully integrated architecture that runs in 33 jewels, at a beat rate of 28,800 vph, with an impressive power reserve of up to 80 hours, all stored in a single barrel thanks to a longer-than-usual mainspring. It’s common for watch brands today to increase a movement’s power reserve by reducing its frequency, but TAG Heuer was able to maintain a frequency of 4 Hz, while increasing the Calibre Heuer 02’s power reserve over three days.
The entire movement construction consists of just 168 components, a remarkably small figure compared to chronograph movements of the past. Less total parts in the movement is beneficial to the end-user as it typically translates to less wear over time and a more straightforward servicing experience. Altogether, the Calibre Heuer 02 measures an impressively compact 31mm in diameter and 6.9mm in height.
Green really is the color of 2021 so far; at least TAG Heuer believes so. Hot off the heels of the recent launch of the green-dialed Monaco, the Swiss brand has decided to “green up” another of its classics. This time, the Carrera gets goods with the TAG Heuer Carrera Green Special Edition.
Thankfully we’re not seeing a direct port of the Monaco’s green dial color here. I say that with a healthy dose of respect, though, as that shade was delicious. For the Carrera Green Special Edition, TAG Heuer has chosen a very different shade of green, verging on teal. It’s a softer color and one that actually quite suits the Carrera silhouette, with the mixture of blue and green hues that make up the shade. I’m slowly becoming a convert to the teal-dial appreciation club, headed up by our own Rob Nudds. He loves a teal-dialed watch, and with examples like this, I can see why.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Green Special Edition chronograph has plenty in common with the original 1963 model, so it is a worthy successor. The signature lugs and stylish case, along with the polished pump pushers, are all present as expected. In addition, very little has changed from the case and setup of the original ref. 2447. OK, a modern-sized 39mm case is a jump up from the 36mm of the original, but everything remains very much in proportion.
Behind the retro-style “glass box” domed sapphire crystal, we have a classic tri-compax setup with three snailed sub-dials. The sub-dials offer a nice contrast to the sunburst pattern of the main dial. The applied hour markers are sharp and crisp — I love this simplistic marker style; I think it’s hard to beat on these vintage-inspired pieces. Thankfully low-light legibility is not forgotten with simple lume pips on the outer edge of every hour marker next to the minute track rehaut. A white print is used for the vintage Heuer logo and Carrera wording and sub-dial markings too. The folded hour and minute hands are faceted and lumed for optimum legibility. I’ve not always been a fan of the TAG Heuer Carrera models, but this is an excellent example of a modern take on the vintage style. To my eyes, it’s a thoroughly modern color, with the classic vintage stylings of the original ref. 2447. I love these chronological mashups of old and new.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Green Special Edition features the Calibre Heuer 02 in-house movement. The caliber is a cutting-edge automatic chronograph movement made exclusively in Switzerland at the TAG Heuer factory in Chevenez. It comprises 168 individual components, including a column wheel and vertical clutch, which offer a more definite chronograph execution for the user. It also boasts an impressive 80-hour power reserve!
TAG Heuer presents the Carrera Green Special Edition on a black alligator leather strap featuring a folding clasp. I’ve never been a fan of alligator leather straps, so I’d be swapping this straight out for something a little simpler if it were my watch. Still, I can’t deny the combination works.
For interested parties, TAG Heuer will make the Carrera Green Special Edition available from its boutiques and e-commerce websites from 11th May 2021. However, production is limited to just 500 pieces, so be quick! If the speed at which the green-dialed Monaco sold out are anything to go by, this could move pretty fast too.