TAG Heuer Carrera Watches
All About TAG Heuer Carrera Watches
The Tag Heuer Carrera collection is among the most iconic watch collections in the world. Its very inception links it to the world of motorsports, and it gets its name from the deadly Carrera Panamericana racing event. It came to the market in 1963 and was the brainchild of the famous watchmaker, Jack Heuer. He worked on the watch for a long time to take it to its present status. The 1980s saw a period of discontinuation of the watch's production, but it soon revived in 1996. Tag Heuer Carrera continues to be one of the most sought-after watches in the world, and its long heritage of performance and innovation continues to attract customers.
In 2018, TAG Heuer celebrated the 55th anniversary of its most successful and iconic watch, the Tag Heuer Carrera. The story of the Carrera dates back to 1962 when Jack Heuer met the famous Rodriguez Brothers at the 12 Hours of Sebring race. The two daring drivers introduced Jack Heuer to the Carrera Panamericana racing event. It was a border-to-border sports car race held in Mexico for five consecutive years from 1950 to 1954. It was stopped in 1955 due to safety reasons.
In spite of the race becoming nonexistent by 1962, Jack Heuer carried the name and the background story with him to Switzerland. The name 'carrera' caught Jack's attention because of its sound and varied connotations. The name could also be pronounced in different languages and carried many folds of meaning which aligned with Jack's vision of the watch.
After finalizing the name for the watch, Jack started to work on its design. He had very clear objectives in mind while designing the watch. It was meant to be a practical and legible wrist-worn device when driving. He also made sure that it should be capable of precisely timing races and calculating speeds. Jack Heuer's strong background in engineering helped him achieve a clean, uncluttered aesthetic for his watch, which was the Heuer Carrera 2447.
The Tag Heuer Carrera collection came to the market in 1963. This was also the time when chronographs were gaining widespread popularity. Since the moment of its launch, the Tag Heuer Carrera has caught the public's attention. It came as a surprise for many watch connoisseurs and the news of its greatness was quickly spread all over the world. Numerous publications started talking about the watch, and it took very little time for the watch to achieve its mythical stature.
First generation Tag Heuer Carrera
The first generation Tag Heuer Carrera watches were known with the reference 2447. They were in production for seven years, from 1963 to 1970. It featured a 36mm case with straight casebands and faceted lugs. Jack Heuer also designed a clean dial with elevated applied batons for the hours and sunken registers. The idea was to strip off useless ornamentation and create a watch that can function in high-pressure situations with remarkable accuracy and consistency. The contemporary aesthetic of the Heuer Carrera watch draws back to the brand's DNA. With the patent Heuer logo and the 'Carrera' name marking on the dial, the launch of the watch predicted its subsequent success.
Golden Era of the 1970s
The year 1969 saw a landmark moment in the history of both the Tag Heuer and Tag Heuer Carrera collections. Jack Heuer, along with Buren, Hamilton, Breitling, and Dubois Depraz, designed one of the earliest automatic chronographs, the famous Calibre 11 with a micro-rotor. With the introduction of this movement and a growing trend for bigger and more colorful watches, Tag Heuer Carrera was already on the path to success. Another factor that went into the development of the watch is Jack Heuer's growing passion for cars and Formula 1 racing. These factors came together and changed the face of the Tag Heuer Carrera collection.
The 1970s marked the introduction of barrel-shaped watches with bold designs and flashy dials. Tag Heuer also collaborated with various notable Formula 1 racers, which further popularized the watch. This generation of Heuer watches was subsequently upgraded with the legendary Tag Heuer Calibre 11 movement. The Calibre 11 movement is one of the first-ever automatic Swiss chronograph movements. This movement was symbolic of the golden era that Tag Heuer was going through in the 1970s.
The arrival of Quartz and the consequent downfall of Tag Heuer
The 1980s were tough times for Swiss watch manufacturers. Jack Heuer and his company were no exception. He was forced to sell the company for a number of financial reasons. Heuer was sold to a consortium of investors, including Piaget and Nouvelle Lemania, in 1982. In 1985, Techniques d’Avant Garde (or TAG) bought the company from Piaget/Nouvelle Lemania. Tag had stakes in many high-tech industries, aviation, and Formula 1 racing. With the acquisition of TAG, the company philosophy changed temporarily. Production of the Carrera collection also stopped.
In 1996, the company decided to bring back its legendary Carrera collection. It came back in a retro-style watch, inspired by the reference 2447. It was powered by hand-wound Lemania movements or automatic ETA chronographs. Since then, they have retained their former glory and continue to be a favorite of watch lovers.
The Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 Chronograph takes its inspiration from the vintage Heuer watches. It is a celebration of the legendary Heuer Carreras. It is powered by the in-house Tag Heuer Calibre 1887 movement, which has demonstrated outstanding accuracy over the years. Multiple variations and even special editions have been launched to cater to different customer bases.
Among the latest designs of the Tag Heuer Carrera is the Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 model. It was released to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Tag Heuer Carrera collection. This model is a sleek and uncluttered 41mm stainless steel watch. Both blue and black dial options are available to choose from. The design of the Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 model is greatly enhanced by the latest cylindrical pushers, 3-row H-link bracelet, and its minuterie inner-flange.
The Tag Heuer Grand Carrera is another great watch in the line. Launched in 2007, this collection's objective was to attract new customers who are not acquainted with Tag Heuer. It comes with Caliper Scale, Chronograph, Date, Tachymeter, and features an automatic movement. The notable design component of this series is the Rotating System (RS) disc applied in all the models.
- The Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 is an updated classic carrying iconic features of the 1963 original version. It has a bold blue dial, elongated lugs with straight lines for a distinguished look, and a classic fit. The luminescent baton markers and matchstick hands allow for excellent readability.
The Tag Heuer Carrera collection has gone through a roller coaster ride, seeing both dramatic failures and overwhelming success. What has remained constant is its amazing performance, stunning, minimal looks, and ability to be adapted for different purposes. The brand continues associating with Red Bull Racing to this day. As a hallmark of the Tag Heuer brand, the Carrera collection continues to implement research and development to further improve their watches.