New with hands-on: TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition

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Six decades after the birth of the Heuer Carrera, TAG Heuer releases a 600 piece limited edition release edition with a panda style dial. We had a hands-on session with the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition, and here are out thoughts.

New with hands-on: TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition

Retail price for the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition CBK221H.FC8317 is SGD 10,400 inclusive of GST.

Its back to the future for TAG Heuer this LVMH Watch Week. A magnificent release throwing back to the heydays of the Heuer Carrera, to the origins to celebrate the model’s 60th anniversary. Jack had learned of Mexico’s dangerous and short-lived Carrera Panamerica road race in 1962 when he met with the Rodigruez brothers at the 12 hours of Sebring, and was inspired to use the name for a wrist-worn chronograph.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition

And thus, the Carrera chronograph was created by Jack Heuer in 1963, and has designed the wristwatch chronograph genre for decades. Now the design language is seen as classic, elegant, and stylish. This first generation Carerra Ref. 2447 SN had a hand-wound Valjoux chronograph movement, with either a silver or black dial in a variety of configurations, sometimes with the addition of a scale around the dial periphery. At the end of the 1960s, a second series was added to the line-up with either a silvered dial and black subdials, or the other way around, known respectively as ‘panda’ and ‘reverse panda’.

The original Heuer Carrera 2447 SN. Source: Heuer World.

The case, dial and hands

The case is a rather similar to the lines first established by Jack Heuer’s degign of the 2447 SN. The novelty sports a 39mm round case, which is polished, and topped by a raised profile with a sapphire glass box. We particularly like this detail, as it has the vintage vibes of a box perspex crystals. The case remains as elegant and beautiful as it ever was, and a testament to the design eye of Jack Heuer and his team. The pushers are pump type, and adds to the retro vibe.

The dial is a throwback to the original 2447 SN. Interestingly the SN in the nomenclature stands for Silver Noir, indicating that the dial is silver with black sub-dials, or in today’s reckoning – the Panda dial. It is also interesting that back then, Jack has chosen to use English and French in juxtaposition for the reference of the watch. But in all aspects, the new Carrera 60th Anniversary is the essentially the same as the 2447 SN. The silver dial is brushed with a sunray finish, and the black sub-dials have a finish with concentric circles. Even the branding spells CARRERA and the Heuer shield, with no markings of TAG on the dial. Also, the imprint SWISS remains on the 6 o’clock sub-dial, though the letter T above it is removed. The T makes reference to the tritium used in the lume, but of course, the new watch uses SuperLuminova. Details like the shape of the appliqué indices are faceted, and is similar to the vintage piece. As does the choice of a cream SuperLuminova to recreate the tritium look of the original.

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The lume SuperLuminova infill on the hands and indices are in cream coloured in good light becomes a bright green in the dark.

However, one change is the sub-dials now represent different indications from the vintage watch. This is due to the architecture of the Heuer 02 movement used in the novelty, vs the Valjoux movement in the originals. The continuous seconds hand is now at the 6 o’clock sub-dial, with the 30 minute and 12 hour totalisers flanking the dial at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively.

The movement – Heuer 02

The movement is the now, time tested Heuer 02 automatic. And the movement is visible from the sapphire crystal case back. This is a rather standard TAG movement used in many of the maison’s chronographs. The movement boasts of a column wheel activation, and in our test, the start, stop and reset works well with light, but positive force on the pump pushers. We also note the activation of the chronograph is rather comfortable. Power reserve is 80 hours. And the case back is engraved with the engraving “TAG HEUER LIMITED EDITION, XXX/600”.

Movement finishing is adequate, and carries no ambition of being haute horlogerie. But TAG has never been that. The pricing is set at sane levels, and thus the amount of finishing follows. The movement has all the essential good engineering practice finishing, and no cosmetic embellishments. It is known to be robust, reliable and accurate.

Concluding thoughts

Overall, this is an exercise in restraint as we see it. TAG takes the high road and does not re-invent the classic good looks of the original 2447 SN, but retains the look and feel as much as is possible with a modern movement within. The upgrades are rather nice too. The Carrera SN now has automatic winding with a practically long 80 hour reserve, and one which is proven to be reliable and dependable in the field.

So in our view, this magnificent re-issue gives the opportunity for the new collector to acquire a modern timepiece with the vibes of the old, classic vintage. What could be nice also, if TAG Heuer also brings back the stainless steel bracelet in the same style as the 2447. But as it stands now, TAG Heuer has done a superb job with this novelty! We were told that we are to standby for more Carrera re-issues as TAG Heuer now celebrates 60 years of the line.

Photo Notes

Photographs with the Deployant watermark are photographed in the LVMH offices with the Alpa Focus Stacking Kit FP{S 105 Float system comprising of the complete with stacking unit, ALPA 12 FPS, ALPA Macro Switar 5.6/105 mm, the Novaflex Ballpro1 bellows and Castel-Macro automated focus stacking system and the Phase One IQ 3 100 Mp digital back. A review of this ultra high end, specialist macro system is forthcoming.