TAG Heuer launches the new Calibre 16 models at Baselworld 2018 to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Carrera. The 2 models are available in black and blue, cased in stainless steel with attractive motorsports themed colour schemes.
Review: TAG Heuer Calibre 16 in blue
The Case and Dial
The stainless steel case measures 41 mm in diameter, a downsize to its larger 43 mm and 45 mm predecessors. The new case size is a welcome addition to the Carrera, especially with the market demanding more classic styling, even for sports models.
The watch uses a blue opaline dial with matching ceramic bezels decorated with a tachymetre scale. A good contrast with the more vintage Carrera designs, with an internal tachymetre, the external ceramic bezel adds to the modern look and sporty feel of the watch. Polished ceramic also has a good reflectiveness that helps the watch ‘sparkle’.
The new dial design uses contrasting sub-dials and an inner flange with the 60-second scale. Stylistically, it is taking cues from the 70s, in particular from the second generation Carrera. There is also a good mix to the otherwise modern looking case, with classic color combinations and faux patina Super Luminova hands and markers. In particular, the blue reminds us of Tudor’s Monte Carlo Chronograph in blue.
The watch is fit with a closed caseback, similar to the other Calibre 16 models from recent years. See-through sapphire casebacks are now mainly used with the in-house Calibre 1887 models.
The new Carrera uses the Calibre 16 movement, a renamed movement with some cosmetic modifications from ebauche movements based on the ETA 7750 or the Sellita SW-500. The movement is typically found in entry level automatic chronograph watches and is a proven workhorse. That said, they are significantly thicker due to the modular design which results in thick cased watches. If one prefers thinner profile chronographs, Zenith’s El Primero offers the next step up for a significantly better looking column wheel chronograph movement with better performance and a history.
The watch is a nice addition to the Carrera collection, but will struggle to find its footing in a highly competitive segment. Other more significant chronograph watches within this price range include the Omega Speedmaster and Zenith El Primero. Within the TAG Heuer brand, its Blue Monaco, associated with Steve McQueen is a more iconic choice between the two. That said, those who are looking for bracelet automatic chronograph watches will still find this piece very much a draw, especially if they find the other named ‘historical’ chronographs too cliché for their liking.
The watch is priced at US$4,500 for the blue dial with bracelet model.