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Smaller and better – Introducing the new TAG Heuer Calibre 16 in blue

A smaller carrera with a neater look
by Chester Lau on May 12, 2018
Review: TAG Heuer Calibre 16 in blue

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.

 

The new Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 in blue.

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 watch measures 41 mm in diameter and is cased in stainless steel.

 

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.

 

A closed caseback hides the Calibre 16 movement, a relative of the ETA 7750 or SW-500 movements.

 

The Movement

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 on the wrist, attractive color scheme with contrasting subdials and a blue ceramic bezel.

 

Concluding thoughts

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.

What's your reaction?
I Love It
8%
Cool
15%
It's OK
54%
What?
23%
I Hate It
0%
1 Comments
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  • Just another guy on the web
    May 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    54% It’s OK.
    This is the unfortunate truth with many Tag Heuer offerings. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this watch, except the price. Isn’t a ‘Tag’ supposed to be special? I visited a ‘Tag’ boutique yesterday and tried on a few pieces. Each watch was “actually quite nice”. But for not much more money you can have a much better watch. And for a bit less you can have a less mainstream brand that tries harder. Who would take a Tag Heuer over a Sinn if they were sitting right next to each other in the same display case? Never mind Nomos. And I have to say this “Calibre 16”, “Calibre 5” nonsense written on the dial comes off as downright dishonest/cheap when you know it is a bog-standard ETA. It’s this “all mouth and no trousers” aspect of the brand that causes it to have the reputation it does in watch circles.

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