Great value for money, pitting case design and movement capabilities to price
Some may find a deterrence having something known as the lowest priced. Considering how 'Swiss Made' is now a highly subjective term, the more uptight consumers may find themselves struggling to find out where their bezel is from.
In a stunning industry move, TAG Heuer launches the impressive Carrera Heuer-02T, which can easily be known as the most affordable Swiss-made tourbillon watch today. Just for comparison’s sake, it is priced almost 10 times less than a similar model by Bell & Ross.
The Case and Dial
The watch is cased in grade 5 titanium with a blackened bezel and central case. The pushers and crown also bear features of the sporty timepiece with rubber accents and black skirting. The finishing of the case is congruent to its racing, sports theme, with fine angles and a predominantly satin-finish on the metal parts. Undoubtedly, some of us may already see similarities with the Big Bang, with the fusion concept in play. The dial and alligator on rubber strap are also some features of Jean Claude Biver’s other brand. Nonetheless, the case and dial are very well made, with a very catchy colour theme, like the ‘All-black’ or the tungsten bezel ‘Ice-Bang’ that were once upon a time (or maybe still are) fan favourites.
The movement used contains both a minute tourbillon complication as well as a chronograph. With this new movement, TAG Heuer not only overcame the technical challenge to house a single barrel tourbillon with chronograph functions, but managed to have it contain 65 hours of power reserve. The central lightweight tourbillon is hand-crafted by 4 watchmakers and inspired by the Monaco V4’s tourbillon. Titanium and carbon are used on the tourbillon.
It may be heartening to know that despite the low price tag, fitting, assembly and adjustment work are still performed by hand. According to TAG Heuer, “the main components are manufactured in the workshops of the TAG Heuer Manufacture. At the heart of the tourbillon, the balance spring is produced by the brand’s Swiss partner, Atokalpa.” Atokalpa is a company within the Parmigiani group. Not trying to be a skeptic, but that seems to suggest a good possibility that an amount of secondary components are made potentially anywhere else in the world, which may explain its price.
Nonetheless, quality of the movement and performance of the timepiece is closely monitored. The watches undergo 21 days of testing, and every movement is COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certified.
All in all, we find the watch to be a resounding success for TAG Heuer in its strategy to position itself as reliable and accessible luxury. With this new model, LVMH enters the fight with Richemont’s Montblanc as the watch industry grapples with this new genre: affordable Haute Horlogerie. Considering the watch’s quality to price, we find it to be of outstanding value. The Heuer 02-T comes in two versions, a regular production model priced at 15,000 CHF and another all black limited to 250 pieces Black Phantom version priced at 19,900 CHF.