The Heuer Carrera is one of the most iconic sports chronographs. Released in 1963 with the infamous Valjoux 72 manual wind, column wheel movement, it is a watch that is highly sought after by vintage watch collectors. Over the years there were many different variations and configurations of the watch, making the history of the Carrera an interesting and intricate one.
As Heuer went through different management, ownership, and evolved into TAG Heuer, the Carrera model was phased out only to be reborn and is now one of their leading and, once again, most recognized lines with a wide array of references.
Reissue of the Carrera
As we have seen with many things in recent years, what is old is new again and, much like the auto industry, the watch industry has recognized the desire for designs of the past and revived them with modern interpretations. In fact, Tag Heuer released another reissue, to much acclaim, this March at Baselworld with the Monza. Tag Heuer has a rich history with these racing inspired chronographs so, it’s no surprise that a modern take on a vintage favorite is a winner.
This particular reference was released as part of the 8th generation of the Carrera. This was the last generation of Carrera models before Tag Heuer made the switch to placing the tachymetre on the bezel, similar to a Speedmaster or Daytona, in place of the speed measurement tool being on the dial. Personally, I really like the Carrera’s design with the tach on the dial.
Like the original reference 2447, this Carrera reissue has a tricompax chrono sub-dial layout at 3, 6, and 9. This classic design is viewed by many, this writer included, to be the most attractive style of chronograph. The sub-dials are also outlined with a contrasting white outer ring to add additional contrast and legibility.
Tag Heuer took the vintage aesthetic a step further by using a capped sapphire crystal so as to give the appearance of an acrylic crystal that was used in the original version from the 1960s. The case size is slightly larger than the original 36mm, coming in at a more modern compromise of 38mm, not including the crown. The 38mm size is a welcome breath of fresh air in a market saturated with oversized watches.
As someone who has a small wrist, the trend back to more reasonable case sizes is welcome. The watch is secured with a racing style genuine leather strap. This perforated leather is designed to be reminiscent of racing gloves. The deployant clasp is a pinch-lock style which allows it to be infinitely adjustable to get that perfect fit. This really is a great feature if you’re someone who tends to have that watch strap that’s too tight on one notch yet too loose on the next.
Wearing the Carrera
On the wrist, the Carrera is a delight. I wore it casually with the family as well as formally with a suit at a wedding and it worked great in both situations. It has a sport watch design that can work as an everyday watch, coupled with classic, clean lines and a polished case that dresses up well.
I was very impressed with how versatile this watch really was and, it looked good while doing it, all the better if you ask me. It’s a watch that blends in with your style so as to not stand out, but when someone notices, they’re impressed.
This is a watch that will surprise you. It seems fairly innocuous on the surface but, give it some wrist time and you’ll realize there is a lot more to this story. This watch will fit the bill for almost every situation.
Read Seth’s review of the Bulgari Octo Bi-Retrograde World Cup Edition.