Long Career Carrera – Style

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This year marks the 60th anniversary of TAG Heuer’s Carrera, which later became a collection. If you are interested in learning about its history, as well as other premieres of the brand, read Kommersant Style.

At the very beginning of the 1960s, young Jack Heuer, appointed CEO of the Heuer watch brand founded by his family in the second half of the 19th century, went to the 12 Hours of Sebring race in Florida, the timing of which was provided by his company. There he met the Rodriguez family, whose young offspring were already on their way to becoming successful racing drivers. They told Jack about the Carrera Panamericana, a fast and extremely dangerous car race in their native Mexico in the early 1950s. Jack, who had a talent for harnessing the power of stories, was so intrigued by speed, emotion and romance that he named the new chronograph the Carrera. This word has many meanings in Spanish and can be translated as “race”, “career” or “path”. Jack decided that this was the right name for a watch designed for the young, stylish and purposeful generation of the 60s.

Jack Hoer graduated from the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich with a degree in electrical engineering. He was interested in contemporary art, especially the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and the German industrial designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In the works of these legends of his time, he saw a compelling combination of modernism, functionality, beauty and the ability to create their own corporate identity. Jack Heuer transferred these qualities to the design of the Heuer Carrera.

Their debut took place in 1963. On the one hand, it was a functional watch, with a minimalist and easy-to-read design. On the other hand, they were innovative. In particular, Jack Hoer came up with the idea to place the tachymeter scale on the bezel, which until then was used only to fix the glass and protect the mechanism from water and dust.

New reincarnations of the legend

The Heuer Carrera chronograph, developed under the direction of Jack Hoer, had a diameter of 36 mm. Case sizes have increased over the past 60 years, but 36mm remains a popular diameter for both men and women.

The new steel TAG Heuer Carrera Date watch in the same diameter features bright dial colors: navy blue, pastel green, silver and hot pink. They are equipped with an automatic three-hand movement with a date display and a 56-hour power reserve.

Chronographs of the updated Carrera family are presented in two models. More simple – and modern – are distinguished by a 42-mm steel case with dials in dark blue or smoky black. Both are remembered for their bright blotches, mainly a gradient orange ring around the perimeter of the dial, reminiscent of classic racing car speedometers. The central chronograph seconds hand and subdial hands are finished in red, also inspired by sports car dashboards. The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph is equipped with an automatic in-house Heuer 02 movement.

The so-called Glassbox models with a diameter of 39 mm have distinct vintage features. Their steel case is topped with a sapphire crystal, shaped like the domed hesalite crystals found on models from the 1960s. The glass has been modified in such a way that the curve passes smoothly through the tachymeter scale that runs along the edge of the dial. To ensure harmony, readability of the indication and greater aesthetics, the inner flange and marks are curved in the same way. The Glassbox version shows two models: one with a signature blue dial, the second with an “inverted panda” dial (as chronographs with black main dials and contrasting white or silver sub-dials are called). They use an upgraded version of the Heuer 02 automatic in-house movement, designated TH20-00, and feature a bi-directional rotor, while the base movement only winds when the rotor is turned counterclockwise. This evolution, developed by the brand’s director of watch movements Carole Forestier (ex-Cartier), provides faster and more reliable winding up to a maximum power reserve of 80 hours. In addition, the TH20-00 has an improved finish.

Finally, the flagship model in the Carrera family is now the Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon, probably the most affordable watch with this “high” complication (retail price 23.5 thousand Swiss francs). It comes with a 42 mm steel case and a blue dial with a circular satin finish. The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the in-house automatic tourbillon caliber TH20-09, chronometer-certified COSC and 65-hour power reserve. Its differences from the previously used Caliber Heuer 02T are similar to those noted above.

Precious “divers”

The Aquaracer “diver” collection demonstrates TAG Heuer’s expertise in highly water-resistant watches, from 200 to 1000 m. In 2023, it has two additions, both in gold.

Firstly, this Aquaracer Professional 200 Steel & Gold in bicolor (gold and steel combination) cases. They are 30 mm (ladies) or 40 mm (mens) in diameter and feature bezels and crowns in yellow or rose gold. In the first case, the dials with a smoky finish are blue, in the second – black. Women’s models are adorned with 11 o’clock diamond markers. The movements are automatic Caliber 5 and Caliber 9.

Secondly, a pair of 40mm diameter Aquaracer Professional 200 models are presented, with cases made entirely of gold, also yellow and pink, for the first time. In addition to the precious metal, attention is drawn to the Caliber TH31-00 used by the brand with a COSC chronometer certificate and an 80-hour power reserve. It was developed exclusively for TAG Heuer by AMT, a new Swiss manufacturer based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The movement bridges with 30 jewels are decorated with the traditional Cotes de Geneve finish, which symbolizes the principles of fine watchmaking.

AMT is already the third external supplier of TAG Heuer after Sellita and Kenissi, which also has the aforementioned in-house movements, which indirectly indicates a high demand for watches of the brand, which cannot yet satisfy it only with its own calibers. It is clear what the 28-year-old head of TAG Heuer Frederic Arnault, one of the sons of the owner of LVMH and the richest man in Europe, Bernard Arnault, should do in the coming years.

Monegasque premiere

Since TAG Heuer entered into a sponsorship deal with the ACM (Motor Club of Monaco, organizer of the F1 Grand Prix) many years ago, it traditionally presents new products on the eve of the most prestigious Formula 1 event, which this year took place on May 28th. On this occasion, the brand showed rectangular (3939 mm) titanium Monaco, the first in over 50 years of existence with skeletonized dials and in three colors: Original Blue, Racing Red and Turquoise. The design of the Original Blue is inspired by the classic Monaco: blue and red colors are presented on the dial, as well as the chronograph column wheel and self-winding rotor visible from the inside. Racing Red hints at racing DNA: the red color refers to the sparks generated by the friction of the metal parts of the cars on the asphalt. The third model Turquoise (turquoise) with a black DLC-coated case symbolizes the coastline of Monaco. All versions of the skeletons are equipped with the Heuer 02 automatic manufactory movement.

Yuri Khnychkin

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