We’re halfway through 2020, which happens to mark the 160th Anniversary of TAG Heuer, and it’s already shaping up to be a very big year for the Carrera. Launched in 1963, the Carrera is one of the iconic, early lines first designed by Jack Heuer. Heuer had become captivated by a Mexican road race known as the Carrera Panamerica, and he alighted on the evocative name, which means “race” or “career,” for his highly legible racing chronograph design. While there have been many Heuer chronographs named after races or racing place-names, the Carrera chronograph is one of the best-known, having spawned numerous versions over the years at various price points and with both vintage-style and contemporary designs. And when you look at the TAG Heuer Connected’s round case and distinctive faceted lugs, it’s not hard to see its design inspiration. Point being, the Carrera is a watch that has proven remarkably versatile for over the last 57 years.
So far this year, we’ve seen two historically influenced limited editions – the Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition and the Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition – which appear to be squarely aimed at the enthusiast watch collector base. Now, we have something new within the core collection – the Carrera Sport Chronograph – that figures to have broader mainstream appeal. What all of these 2020 releases have in common, beyond the Carrera name of course, is the Heuer 02 column-wheel chronograph movement.
The Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic comes in four variations that range from a classic black dial and black tachymeter bezel version to more color-forward options that pair a green dial with a steel tachymeter bezel or a blue dial with a blue ceramic tachymeter bezel. These three versions all come with a new H-shaped link bracelet, which reinforces their sporty vibe. The bracelets are thinner and slightly lighter than previous versions, and this promises a more ergonomic wearing experience. They’re joined by a fourth option (above) that trades the bracelet for an alligator strap while pairing a black ceramic bezel with a black dial. The more dressy vibe is driven home by its 18-karat 5N gold crown and pushers and gold-plated dial furniture. The cases of all four examples have short lugs, which should also enhance comfort; the alternating polished and fine-brushed finishes are intended to make the new Carrera appear sleeker and thinner too.
This isn’t the first mainline Carrera introduction to feature the Caliber Heuer 02 movement. There was, of course, the tourbillon version that rocked the watch industry when it became the most affordable Swiss-made tourbillon in 2016. In 2018, TAG Heuer introduced a range of openworked Carreras (sans tourbillon) that showed off the column-wheel chronograph with vertical clutch. Today’s introductions are much more easily recognizable as classic Carreras while continuing to evolve the design for contemporary tastes, and though they are on the larger side of what I tend to reach for, these are fresh designs that house a quality automatic chronograph movement. And those are just a couple of the things they have going for them.
The value is quite good, too. The three models without gold accents will set you back $ 5,750, and two of these come with stationary ceramic bezels that look like real quality in the supplied press images from TAG Heuer. To me, the blue and the black steel models on bracelets are the best lookers in the new Carrera lineup, though I also think there is something a bit low-key about the green number with a plain steel bezel.
The more I look at these images, the more I really like them. The designs are clean and legible, as I’ve come to expect of a Carrera, while offering what feels like a young vibe as a result of the use of color. They’re sporty in the right way, and the more colorful options, in particular the blue, feel very well-timed for summer. Lest I forget to mention, all four of these new Carreras are water resistant to 100 meters.
As I mentioned up top, 2020 is shaping up to be a big year for the Carrera, and we’re only halfway through with it. TAG Heuer has said that we can expect four additional core Carrera pieces in September, and that later in the year, we’ll get another two special editions. This is the kind of focus on a particular watch that you’d expect to see in a model’s anniversary year – the Carrera will turn 60 in 2023. But this year is the 160th anniversary year of TAG Heuer. I think the focus we’ve witnessed and will witness on this Jack Heuer classic tells us something about how TAG Heuer views one of its most popular and versatile models.
Brand: TAG Heuer
Model: Carrera Sport Chronograph 44 mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic
Reference Number: ref. CBN2A1B.BA0643: stainless steel case and bracelet with black dial and black ceramic bezel; ref. CBN2A1A.BA0643: stainless steel case and bracelet with blue dial and blue ceramic bezel; ref. CBN2A10.BA0643: stainless steel case and bracelet with green dial and stainless steel bezel; ref. CBN2A5A.FC6481: stainless steel case with 18-karat 5N gold crown and pushers, black dial, black ceramic bezel, and alligator strap
Case Material: Stainless steel (one version, CBN2A5A.FC6481, with 18-karat 5N gold crown and pushers)
Dial Color: ref. CBN2A1B.BA0643: black; ref. CBN2A1A.BA0643: blue; ref. CBN2A10.BA0643: green; ref. CBN2A5A.FC6481: black
Indexes: Rhodium-plated applied indexes with white Super-LumiNova on ref. CBN2A1B.BA0643, ref. CBN2A1A.BA0643, and ref. CBN2A10.BA0643; 18-karat 5N rose-gold-plated applied indexes with white Super-LumiNova on ref. CBN2A5A.FC6481
Lume: Yes, Super-LumiNova
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel H-shape bracelet on ref. CBN2A1B.BA0643, ref. CBN2A1A.BA0643, and ref. CBN2A10.BA0643; black alligator strap on ref. CBN2A5A.FC6481
Caliber: Heuer 02 Chronograph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, date
Power Reserve: 80 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Pricing & Availability
Price: CBN2A10.BA0643, CBN2A1A.BA0643, and CBN2A1B.BA0643: $ 5,750; CBN2A5A.FC6481: $ 6,550
Availability: July 2020
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