The Legend That Jack Built
TAG Heuer’s iconic Carrera celebrates its 60th anniversary with a series of stunning new time pieces.
Along with the Monaco, TAG Heuer’s Carrera is one of the true icons of the horological world, and in 2023, the famous Swiss watch celebrates its 60th anniversary. To mark the occasion, TAG Heuer will introduce numerous special models in the Carrera’s diamond jubilee year, two of which are highlighted here. However, for traditionalists, the brand has also released the Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition that harks back to the reference 2447 SN from the late 1960s.
The story of TAG Heuer’s Carrera is legendary but worth retelling on the 60th anniversary of the time piece. TAG’s Carrera is named for the legendary (and dangerous) Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico, about which Jack Heuer learned from the Rodriguez brothers when he met them at the 1962 Sebring 12 Hour endurance race. Fascinated by the challenges of the Carrera Panamericana that was only held five times between 1950 and 1954, Jack Heuer decided to celebrate the bold spirit of the race with a new chronograph.
Indeed, TAG Heuer’s core models – Carrera, Monaco (introduced in 1969) and Autavia (1962) – are all the legendary work of Jack Heuer. In less than a decade, and in the first decade of the company’s second century, Jack had cast the brand’s future with three truly iconic watches.
Great grandson of company founder Edouard Heuer, Jack has had a life-long fascination with motorsport and the timing implications of it. Throughout the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, Jack was a regular in the pit lane of the world’s most famous, glamorous and dangerous motorsport events, and he counted many of the top-flight drivers as his friends.
It was these personal relationships, and a savvy business acumen, that led to Heuer products adorning the wrists of the likes of Jo Siffert, Clay Regazzoni and James Hunt. Indeed, Hunt was one of the first motorsport luminaries to wear the Carrera.
As with the Monaco, TAG Heuer’s Carrera has crossed over from the world of motorsport into the sphere of popular culture, with Rolling Stones’ front man Mick Jagger a notable Carrera fan, as is current Hollywood leading man, Ryan Gosling.
The current Carrera collection is offered in three sizes – elegant 36mm, classic 39mm and a larger, contemporary 42mm diameter. The Carrera range offers a choice of materials and aesthetics, from understated classic to the show-stopping new Plasma reference.
TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox
TAG Heuer brings back a collector’s favourite with a contemporary take on the Carrera Glassbox.
The classic simplicity of the Carrera has made it an aesthetic icon for 60 years. The world of horology has a handful of truly classic designs that enthusiasts gravitate to over the decades. With easy and enduring elegance, a watch such as the Carrera appeals to both new and seasoned collectors, and is often a design that enthusiasts ‘return to’ after flirtations elsewhere. The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph ‘Glassbox’ is sure to appeal to both those new to the model line and those who have followed the icon’s journey for decades.
The 39mm diameter case is fashioned in high-grade stainless steel, with a particularly focus on refining the ergonomics so that the new time piece sits with comfort and pride on a variety of wrist sizes. Available from April 2023, the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph ‘Glassbox’ will be offered in two models. The first, (reference CBS2212.FC6535) features a signature blue dial and is presented on a blue calfskin leather strap with polished stainless-steel clasp with double safety pushers. The second reference (CBS2210.FC6534), features a black and silver ‘reverse panda’ dial and is presented on a perforated black leather calfskin strap with polished stainless-steel folding clasp and double safety pushers.
The ‘reverse panda’ dial is a nickname given to black watch dials with contrasting white or silver subdials. The new Carrera Chronograph ‘reverse panda’ nods to a famous Carrera heritage that includes greatest hits from the 1960s such as the reference 3147 Dato 12 (the first Carrera model with chronograph and calendar functions) and the 2447 NS, arguably the rarest of all Heuer Carreras, with an extremely limited production over just a few years.
Lending the Carrera Chronograph its ‘Glassbox’ moniker is a domed sapphire crystal that is shaped like the hesalite crystals found on Heuer Carrera models from the 1970s. However, in an elegant contemporary twist, the crystal has been redesigned to seamlessly flow over the tachymeter scale that rings the dial and into the case. To further enhance the smooth new look, the flange and indexes have also been curved. The curvature of the flange and the tight fit of the domed sapphire crystal (which also features double anti-reflective treatment) ensures that the tachymeter scale is legible from a wider range of angles. It’s this attention to detail that demonstrates TAG Heuer’s on-going commitment to form and function that Jack Heuer set out to capture when he first introduced the Carrera in 1963.
At first glance, perhaps only the colour differences and strap perforations on the black version separate the two new watches. However, the subdials feature subtle differences in their scales, while a more obvious differentiator is the location of the date window – 12 o’clock on the black and silver version, 6 o’clock on the blue reference. According to TAG Heuer history, blue is a more contemporary colour, while black is more closely related to motorsport, hence why the date window on the black and silver version is moved to 12 o’clock in order to keep the chronograph dials as clear and legible as possible.
Fittingly for a time piece that captures both the rich heritage of TAG Heuer and its forward-thinking contemporary mindset, the Carrera Chronograph is powered by an impressively evolved version of the Swiss brand’s Heuer 02 in-house automatic chronograph caliber. Visible through the sapphire crystal case back, the next-generation movement is named TH20-00 and features an oscillating weight that offers bi-directional winding. The previous iteration of the movement only charged the movement’s mainspring if the rotor moved in a counter-clockwise direction.
According to Carole Forestier, TAG Heuer’s Movements Director, this change is a significant technical upgrade as it delivers faster and more reliable winding during daily use, ensuring that the Carrera Chronograph is running closer to its 80-hour maximum power reserve, while also improving precision.
The TH20-00 also boasts even higher standards of finishing, and it joins the TH30-00 and TH50-00 cailbers in TAG Heuer’s new series of movements. TAG Heuer has extreme confidence in the new TH20-00 movement as it offers both variants of the Carrera Chronograph ‘Glassbox’ with a five-year warranty.
A tourbillon ‘Glassbox’ is also due to join the Carrera Chronograph line this year and we’ll bring more details of that shortly.
As the Carrera nameplate moves into its seventh decade, it remains as classically elegant as ever, kept fresh by contemporary examples such as the new ‘Glassbox’. Further proof of the enduring success of the original idea, Jack Heuer’s design continues to evolve and inspire.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph ‘Glassbox’ arrives in TAG Heuer boutiques or online from April, with both variants priced at $9350.
TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma
What better way to celebrate the TAG Heuer Carrera’s diamond jubilee than with a diamond-encrusted special edition?
Even TAG Heuer admits that the new Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm pushes boundaries, but what better way to celebrate the Carrera’s 60th anniversary and demonstrate the Swiss brand’s on-going commitment to the avant-garde? Beneath the bling is a 44mm sandblasted aluminium case that is anodized in a matte black finish. The bezel and bracelet are also fashioned from matte black aluminium.
The matte black provides the perfect backdrop for more than 100 lab-grown diamonds that sparkle like stars against a night sky. The case wears 48 lab-grown diamonds for a total weight of 4.3 carats, while the bezel boasts a further 26 diamonds (1.9 carats). Then there’s an additional 34 diamonds on the bracelet, totalling 1.9 carats, plus another 12 diamonds (4.9 carats in total) to denote the hour markers on the dial. The dial itself is Polycrystalline diamond.
The steel chronograph pushers frame the literal jewel in the crown of the Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon. The 2.5-carat diamond that acts as the crown is lab-grown for the perfect cut and fit.
In total, the Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon wears 124 diamonds totalling 15.5 carats.
While the Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon isn’t for shrinking violets (after all, it takes a certain type of personality to wear a $740,000 diamond-encrusted watch), it offers the fine watchmaking substance for which TAG Heuer is famous. The new time piece is powered by the Calibre Heuer 02 Tourbillon Nanograph movement. Featuring COSC certification, the movement is developed and manufactured in-house, offering a 65-hour power reserve that was developed for the Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon.
The tourbillon is visible at the 6 o’clock position on the dial and it’s testimony to its own brilliance that it shines among the stars on the dial.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm shows the breadth of the Carrera legend that has developed over the last 60 years. From motorsport icon to fashion disrupter, the Carrera name has never been stronger. The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm will be available in very limited numbers from September this year.