After a 40-year absence from TAG Heuer’s catalogue, the Skipper makes a return, bringing the brand back to the high seas.
The original Heuer Skipper was launched in 1968, five years after the Carrera and just 12 months before the Monaco. The distinctively coloured Skipper chronograph remained a popular timepiece, especially among those engaged in high-level yacht racing, until its final year of production in 1983. On the 40th anniversary of its retirement, TAG Heuer is reintroducing the Skipper to a new generation of yachties and landlubbers alike, with this stunning reimaging of the original.
Most horologists will know that the vast majority of the Skippers produced were based on the case of the Autavia (introduced in 1962). However, the very first Skippers from 1968 (as few as 300 units) used the Carrera case. And so, the new-generation TAG Heuer Skipper has been reinvented using the case and sapphire from the recently introduced (and stunning) Carrera Glassbox.
In short, that means a 39mm diameter case is stainless steel housing the Swiss brand’s TH20-06 movement with bidirectional winding and extremely impressive 80-hour power reserve.
The back story of the Skipper and the colour scheme of the dial is worth retelling. By the mid-1940s, Heuer had already amassed over 80 years in the timekeeping business and had a well-deserved and renowned reputation. Tapping into that reputation, Abercrombie & Fitch commissioned Heuer to produce A&F branded nautical-themed timepieces to sell in its New York stores. The first, the Solunar, displayed tide times, and this was followed in the 1950s by the Seafarer and Mareographe chronographs.
Jack Heuer’s friendship with A&F’s president Walter Haynes, led to the watchmaker becoming the official timekeeper for the America’s Cup yacht, Intrepid. In the 1967 Cup, Intrepid defeated Australian challenger Dame Pattie 4-0 in the best of seven series, inspiring Jack Heuer to introduce a celebratory watch. It is this original Carrera-based Skipper that the reinvented 2023 Skipper emulates, with its colourful dial honouring the colours of the Intrepid and elements of yacht racing.
As per the original Skipper, the 30-minute chronograph subdial is revised to countdown the 15-minute pre-start used in regatta racing. The three five-minute segments are coloured Intrepid Teal to match the colour of the winning yacht’s deck, Lagoon Green represents the rigging and Regatta Orange to alert the crew to the five-minute warning. The 12-hour counter is also finished in Intrepid Teal. These distinctive colours contrast against the brushed blue Carrera dial.
The new Skipper is presented on a blue fabric strap with polished steel folding clasp that is secured by double safety pushers.
TAG Heuer’s new-generation Skipper is available now and according to the brand, promises to be the flagship for a series of maritime models “that will mark TAG Heuer’s return to the world of yachts and yachting”. Watch this space.