Hodinkee has once again teamed up with TAG Heuer for a limited edition Carrera. This new edition, available today, is a follow up to the hugely successful Limited Edition Skipper released all the way back in the summer of 2017. The TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Dato’ Limited Edition for Hodinkee is a wildly different take on a similar format, the single register chronograph. Whereas the Skipper is colorful, light, and fun, the Dato has a sober quality to it, with its jet black dial, polished hour markers, and high contrast white sub register. It’s also a cap on a remarkable resurgence in Carrera releases over the last year, which have run the gamut in styles and points of influence.
The idea behind this watch is relatively straightforward: get as close as possible to the original Heuer 3147N “Dato 45” as possible. That watch featured a 9:00 date window and a single sub register at 3:00 counting elapsed minutes. As you’re no doubt aware if you have a passing interest in modern chronographs, this is not a layout that’s particularly common, and it required TAG to re-engineer their Caliber 02 movement for this release to mimic the unique “cyclops” design of the original.
The dial on this modern interpretation is simple at first glance, but there are a ton of little details that make it special. Notice, for example, the small lume plots at the outside of each hour marker (with a double plot at the 12:00 position). Modern watches tend to have far more prominent lume filled indexes, and we think this restrained approach fits the vintage vibe of the watch particularly well. The lack of extraneous dial text is also a highlight, with the “Carrera Heuer” wordmark at 12:00 and a simple “Swiss” designation at 6:00 keeping the dial uncluttered. In spite of inherent asymmetry you get with a single register chronograph, it’s an exceptionally clean dial that ought to age as well as the vintage Carrera it’s based on, and many others in the Heuer archives.
The vintage influenced “glassbox” case measures 39mm and features highly polished surfaces all around. The contours of the lugs are easily recognizable and closely associated with the Carrera, which was conceived as a watch that was meant to be function-first: comfortable, legible, and reliable. In the process of making a watch with those principles in mind, Heuer created something that would come to be thought of and associated with a certain kind of classical elegance. The new Dato certainly has that in spades, and genuinely looks like its very tough to source vintage counterpart. We think this one is going to really please collectors who might have been after an original example with little luck.
As we’ve touched on whenever we’ve reported on a new watch with the Calibre 02 movement, it certainly packs a punch in terms of its feature set compared with similar chronograph movements from Omega, Rolex, and Zenith. It’s an in-house caliber with 80 hours of power reserve, a column wheel, and vertical clutch. It’s thoroughly modern in every way, and deserves consideration from enthusiasts who may not normally give contemporary TAG Heuer a second look. While it’s tough to call it a “value” in this particular limited edition watch that has a list price of $ 7,250, the caliber has become a staple in TAG’s collection and can be found in a variety of watches throughout their catalog, some of which start under the $ 6,000 mark.
The TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Dato’ Limited Edition for Hodinkee is on sale this morning, and extremely limited. Only 250 examples will be made, with 125 allocated to the Hodinkee Shop, and the remainder to be sold through TAG Heuer authorized dealers in the United States and Japan. If the previous collaboration between Hodinkee and TAG is any indication, this is a watch that is likely to excite the Heuer collecting community, and it could be highly sought after long after it sells out. Hodinkee Shop