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The New TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition Chronograph

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The sublime Heuer silver dial mid-sixties chronograph on which the new Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition is based (pic from fratellowatches.imgix.net):

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The Heuer (later, TAG Heuer) Carrera chronograph has become one of the iconic motorsport-derived watches; it is named after the Carrera Panamericana, a Mexican border-to-border road race reminiscent of Italy’s Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, and the first run of Carrera chronographs dates to 1963. The design of the Heuer Carrera is recognised horologically and also as an important example of mid 20th century modern watch styling. Writing in his autobiography in 2013, the creator of the Carrera, Jack Heuer, recalled; “I wanted a dial that had a clear, clean design and a new technical invention came to my aid. A manufacturer of plastic watch crystals had invented a steel tension ring that fitted inside the crystal and kept it under tension against the surrounding steel case. I decided to use the inside bevel of this tension ring to carry the markings measuring one-fifths of a second… this was the secret behind the fresh, clean and uncluttered appearance of my first ‘Carrera’”.

 

 

 

(Pics from ablogtowatch.com)

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Uhrenmanufakture Heuer AG was founded by Edward Heuer (grandfather of Jack Heuer quoted above) in 1860, and to celebrate the 160th anniversary of this birth of this company, TAG Heuer has released a recreation of the renowned monochrome silver-dial Carrera chronograph of 1964, featuring the original’s three counters and starburst silver-coloured dial, but with certain aesthetic and functional changes or updates discussed below, including a fundamental change of movement from the Ref. 2447S Valjoux hand-wind caliber that powered the 1964 original. This new commemorative model is the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition chronoraph (shortened to Carrera 160th in this topic).

The visible changes from the original silver dial Carrera due to the use of a recent caliber are the case size (up from 36 mm to 39 mm) and the swap of the running seconds register from 9 to 6 o’clock. The new Carrera 160th uses a true in-house chronograph movement which had been long in gestation, the Heuer 02. This movement started life as the caliber 1969 before being renamed the CH80; it’s final development was then put on hold for a while at about the time Jean-Claude Biver became CEO at TAG Heuer, until it finally made its debut in the 2017 TAG Heuer Heritage Autavia Caliber Heuer 02 Chronograph. The chronograph caliber Heuer 02 is a pedigree movement with column wheel, vertical clutch, and 75/80 hours power reserve; it represents an original TAG Heuer product as opposed to the earlier caliber Heuer 01, which was based on a Seiko movement. Other changes from the original 1964 silver-dial Carrera series are an improvement in “fineness” to the recessed sub-dials, hands and markers, the inclusion of a screw-down sapphire display caseback (through which the redesigned oscillating weight is visible) and a domed sapphire crystal, and a minor change in the shape of the minute and hour hands. Water resistance on the new Carrera 160th is a respectable 100 metres, and the hands and main markers are lumed with Super-LumiNova.

 

 

 

(Pics below from ablogtowatch.com and, bottom, steffans.co.uk)

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Twenty years ago, TAG Heuer was focusing on tech-forward design with high-tech aesthetics rather than looking back at its heritage for inspiration. However, since then, the Heritage line has been introduced and the company has been catering to the considerable audience that enjoys the recreation of classic watches from the past. The TAG Heuer Carrera 160th is not an out-and-out reproduction of a classic, but it fulfils sufficient heritage criteria to place it in the Carrera line of descent from the original. Making no bones about the fact that this is an anniversary limited edition, the caseback is engraved with, “1 of 1860” and the oscillating weight has been redesigned and also carries the celebration message; I personally would have preferred a solid steel caseback given the aesthetic "clumsiness" of the "steering wheel" weight design and the fact that the back of the movement is not particularly attractive as a display item. 

The Carrera 160th is presented on a black alligator strap and is priced at £5,620 - a sum that might be the elephant in the room for some potential purchasers. I would estimate that the 1,860 buyers of this limited edition will be found after it comes on sale in June, and will comprise a satisfied tranch of customers; this watch carefully treads the line between historical homage to its predecessor and modern chronograph and, apart from the overdone display back, gets it just about right.

 

 

 

(Pics from ablogtowatch.com and, below, s1.cdn.autoevolution.com)

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I love how similar they've kept it, although for some reason it looks a lot more formal - likely just the age of the original.

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Simply beautiful. I love their old designs. I used to have a Carrera reissue WS2111. Stunner.

 

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