Carrera 1887 Updated- Again

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   30 October 2010   |   104 Comments  

TAG Heuer have made a second round of changes to the Carrera Calibre 1887. The model has been available in some markets for the last few months, but ahead of the launch rolling out globally, further detailed updates have been made to the design of the watch. The changes only impact the dial- the case, pushers, hands and movement are unchanged.

The Carrera 1887 prototype was first displayed in March at the Basel show and was followed by an updated version in May (a change some foolish observers called the “Final Design”). And now, we have Carrera 1887 Version 3.0…or maybe its 1.3, because the changes are subtle. This new version of the Carrera 1887 will be announced at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève towards the end of October.

So, let’s go through the evolution of the Carrera 1887 design- from Left to right, Version 1 (Prototype March 2010), Version 2 (Production May 2010) and Version 3 (Production, October 2010)

So what has changed?

Above is the V2 Carrera 1887- let’s look at the changes to the new V3 version.

Outer Bezel

Version 1 has the prominent tachy scale on the outer bezel, a feature deleted from the bezel of later versions. Versions 2 and 3 seem to share the same external bezel, which is more peaked than the flat bezel of Version 1.

Inner-Bezel

The inner-bezel on versions 1 and 2 is identical, showing minute markers and 15-second increments. Version 3 moves these markers to the dial itself, while the Tachy scale now sits on the inner-bezel.

Sub-dial

Some of the Version 1 prototypes shown at Basel had a flat surface inside the sub-dials at 12 and 6 o’clock, while Version 2 brought in a circular, radial pattern reminiscent of the Carrera’s of the 1970s, which stays for Version 3. On Versions 1 and 2 there was a painted silver ring around the outside of the sub-dial, but for the third version this has been replaced with an angled insert to give a more 3-dimensional look (see below).

The 9 o’clock sub-dial has also been changed in this third version. The first two versions had no dial outline, simply a seconds hand that blended into the rest of the dial. Now there a faint circle is used to seperate the sub-dial from the rest of the dial.

Logo

The black text on Versions 1 and 2 looks to have been replaced with raised silver text on this third version, helping the dial to look less flat and giving it an “applied” look.

Better or just Different?

It’s hard to be too definitive about this third version, given that there haven’t been any high-res photos released yet.

To me, every change from Version 1 to Version 2 was an improvement- they gave the watch a more minimalist look and put the focus on the clean, large dial rather than being distracted by the Tachy bezel.

From version 2 to 3? I’m not so sure. Certainly the 3-D sub-dial rings lift the dial and no complaints about the raised, silver text used for the TAG Heuer logo and “Carrera”. I am on the fence about the use of the inner tachy bezel, if only because adding the bezel has meant that some of the minimalist look has been lost. This layout is now the same as the 300 SLR that I was able to review last week.

The only change that I don’t like is the change to the 9 o’clock sub-dial. The original design paid homage to the Calibre 15 Heuers of the 1970s, such as the Monaco 1533G below:

The new design is more conventional but I feel as though a nice design element that tied the Carrera 1887 to Heuers of the past has been lost.

Why Change?

The decision to change the design appears to have come from within TAG Heuer, rather than being in response to any feedback from customers or dealers. I was fortunate enough to interview TAG Heuer designer Christoph Behling yesterday (full interview coming soon), who emphasised how important the Carrera Calibre 1887 was to showcase the new Calibre 1887 movement and that endless hours had gone into fine-tuning the final details of the watch.

I also suspect that the success of the 300 SLR also played a part. While the Carrera 1887 should have been the star at Basel, it seemed to me that everyone was talking about the 300 SLR. So now, the Carrera looks more like the 300 SLR, having adopted several of its design touches.

Interestingly, the merits of the changes from Version 1 and 2 were debated here and you can see that the loss of the tachy scale was not appreciated by some, nor was the lack of a dial to seperate the 9 o’clock sub-dial from the rest of the dial.

So who gets the new design?

Customers in some Asian markets already have the Carrera 1887 (Version 2) and other markets, such as Australia, are due to get the watch in the next few weeks. I’d expect that markets about to get their first delivery will get Version 2, with Version 3 to follow at some stage next year. I’d also expect that the US market- due to get the watch in Q1 2011 will get Version 3, but that is my guess and not being anything official from TAG Heuer.

The good news is that if you prefer Version 2, (below left) you should be able pick one up given that its been on sale for a while.

It does feel like a long time has passed since we first saw the Carrera 1887, but I guess that- like with prototypes of new cars- we have to wait until the design is ironed out and made production ready. I haven’t heard that these changes will impact either the price or the timing of availability of the Carrera- let’s hope not, because I know a lot of people who love this watch just want to wear one rather than just looking at more photos.

Update: 23 January 2011

Read this exclusive interview with TAG Heuer’s CEO explaining why the design changed and see the latest photos of Version 3 of the Carrera 1887

Photos:

TAG Heuer/ Calibre 11

Home » Carrera, CH1887
  • Tom

    I really like version 3 and hope it comes out soon! I'm torn, not sure if I should get the 1887 v3 or the Omega Planet Ocean–tough choices. Hank, could you post additional pictures of your beauty? December is here, I hope some of the US AD will carry them soon! Many Thanks

  • DC

    No, my guess would be that TAG Heuer stopped production of Version 2 several months ago and switched to the new design. Will it have any impact on value? I guess that depends whether over time people decide that Version 2 is superior. Yes, it will be rarer- but as Jeff Stein says "Rare doesn't mean valuable".

    Tom, not sure on when they're due in the US. Click on the Toppper Jewlers link and ask Rob when he's expecting them.

    Cheers

    dc

  • Johan

    Hi,

    I was just visiting my AD (in Sweden). They were not even aware of a version 3 at all, and they told be that version 2 definitly will be the one sold here in Sweden for the next couple of years. They also showed me the offical TAG Heuer catalogue for 2011 and there were only pictures of version 2 in it.

    Furthermore, I haven't been able to find information about a third version anywhere on the internet and there is nothing said about this on TAG Heuers homepage. I don't want to be suspicious or anything, but people saying different things just makes my a bit confused. How come there is no offical information from TAG Heuer regarding this? Shouldn't it be more photos on the third version if this is the final one?

    Kind regards,

    Johan

  • DC

    Hi Johan. Fair questions- not all of which I can answer. But these are official TAG Heuer images, being the ones submitted for the Grand Prix de Geneve watch awards.

    There is always a time lag between when a design is first shown and when it hits the stores, so I have no idea when this will arrive in your part of the world, but it will.

    Finally, I did check the authenticity of the photos before posting…

    Cheers

    David

  • Nikolaj Friis Hansen

    Just purchased my Calibre 1887 (my 6th Tag) here in Denmark. It's version 2 (white dial, no tachymeter, black leather strap) and I absolutely LOVE it. I like the slim brezel and the clean look of the dial, which make it so more "dressier" than my slightly larger Carrera Calibre 16 Day-Date.

  • hank

    @tom here you go

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5004/5248809282_5751f45329.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5285/5248213723_daced5cddf.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5241/5249869605_7f9366e044.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    @nikolaj, if you have any shots of the white dial it would be nice if you could post a pic or two. They didn't have any in when I visited the store.

  • P.C.

    I purchased a black face/metal band Carrera 1887 (i.e., Version 2) from the Tag Heur flagship store in Omotesando around late December, 2010. According to the manager of the store, the Carrera 1887 has been running hot in Japan. Some industry magazines have had it in the No.1 poll position in popularity for some time.

    The model that I got was from a new shipment that had only just arrived on December 20. It looks exactly like the first and third image in this blog posting: http://www.calibre11.com/carrera-1887-final/#comments

    After reading and researching (in particular post-purchase), I was surprised to learn that my model while new, may not be all that ‘new'; i.e., the radial pattern in the sub-dial versus the flat/textureless sub-dial (which is what I got). Still, I’m not disappointed. I liked my 1887 for its minimalism and understated feel, blending sportiness with refinement (probably the same reason it’s so hugely popular in Japan).

    If you check the Tag Heur website it actually showcases close-up pictures of the Carrera 1887 that have the radial pattern for the sub-dial, as well as the flat/textureless sub-dials. Guess both are out in the market, and for the less discerning/knowledgeable consumer (read: me), it’s a case of pot-luck.

    For anyone about to purchase the watch, the manager at Tag Heur’s flagship store in Tokyo told me that it’s better value to buy the alligator leather band (valued at about $500 separately) model and then just buy the metal band (valued at about $300 separately).

  • Robert L

    Guys, i'm completely confused about the different versions of the watch and it won't be long before i stop waiting and make my choice. My AD received a version 2 last thursday and he still thinks he will get version 3 in january. BUT, i read on a french forum that a member (known for having very good contacts with TAG representatives) had a legit information telling that there isn't a tachymeter version of the 1887 carrera expected soon…. Does it mean that the power reserve version that will be displayed next march will be the version with a tachy? DC, what can you say about that? I will try to contact TAG tomorrow and make a visit at the official store that opened 2 weeks ago here in Paris, but i will either get the version 2 or buy a day date. Can't wait anymore.

  • Robert L

    Guys, after making some phone calls to TAG french customer service, it seems that version 2 will be the final version after all.

    Version 3 is shown from official photos but it was a communication error by TAG. The version 3 model won't go on sale, at least not in 2011.

    Maybe it's what the next carrera 1887 will be but it's not the one we'll be able to buy….

    I guess i will finally buy the version 2 or choose the day date…

    DC, wainting for yuor information from Geneva !!

    • DC

      Interesting Robert. A communication error on the series of three photos
      submitted to the watch olympics? Mon oeil!

      I can promise you that I checked these changes with someone in
      Switzerland who works with the Carrera range and discussed the changes
      with TAG Heuers lead designer (interview on it's way). I'm certain
      that at the time this article was posted it was correct. But, as we
      all know, things change! I will be in Geneva in a couple of weeks
      and will have the chance to interview Jean Christophe Babin- I
      promise I will ask him and we'll get to the bottom of what's
      happening. Cheers David

  • T.F.

    I agree with your opinion(V2 is fina design at prezent).

  • Wisconsin Proud

    Nice pics above…especially showing the thickness of the case. Definitely a pudgy fellow!

    David, has there been a reason why TAG doesn't do a blue dial in either the 1887 or Day/date? They did one in the 41mm date version and now it seems they dropped that color.

    A "Monaco blue" dial would be a hot look!

    Dan

  • Robert L

    Thanks a lot David !

    Unfortunately i won't be able to wait a couple of weeks more….

    i'm buying mine today i think, whether it is a 1887 or a day date….

  • Robert L

    Here i am, finally bought a v2 1887. Tried both the white dial day date and the v2 and the more classical look of the 1887 won, at least for me. Will post some pics later :-)

    • DC

      Congratulations- look forward to the photos

  • ENRICO

    Dear DC author, your news are very interesting. Particularly because in my opinion version 2 was too flat and minimalist. Definitely less interesting than 300slr. However, my jeweler shop (Tag retailer) called in front of me both Tag Heuer Italy and representative and they ensure me that version 3 is not expected to come out.

    Maybe they just want to be sure to sell all already produced lots of version 2, but probably they will not disclose also to your magazine if they are going to release version 3 sooner or later. Anyhow, I dont' think in 2011 at least in Europe. Anyhow, please investigate and keep us posted. Thanks! :)

    • DC

      Thanks Enrico- interesting to hear. I'll see what I can find out for you.

      Cheers

  • ENRICO

    OOps! Forgot. If someone can find Real photoes (not catalogue ones like the one published in this article)of version 3, please published here. Thanks!

  • BR

    I have a funny story actually on availability of 1887.

    My AD does not have them and I have been waiting since June.

    Finally found another one and went for fitting however my own AD gave me a better reduction on the cat price if it would come in.

    So I decided to wait and pre-order it. But then he send me a mail he received a 300 SLR but not the normal 1887.

    I went for a fitting and fell in love instantly. So now I'm the proud owner of #120.

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5287/5308472634_8929a65224.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5125/5308471762_9d70b03eb0.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5088/5307882549_aea06bddc9_z.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5163/5308469958_3212263b53.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5161/5307880587_92059fc38c_z.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    • DC

      Regarding the Version 3 Carrera debate, I can confirm that I've now seen both black and white versions of the Version 3 Carrera and its coming to all markets later this year. Full update and photos soon.

  • BR

    By the way for sure there will be a power reserve version.

    It's already mentioned in the manual of 1887.

  • ENRICO

    Dear DC author, when will you be able to post here some real photoes (not catalogue ones like in this article)of version 3? Even more anxiously, when will you be able to clarify with the designer if Tag is telling the truth that version 3 will not be produced? and in any case not in 1st quater of 2011 for Europe? Next week? Next month? Sorry for anxiousness but looking many forums there was a great interest for the 1887 but many people remain disappointed by the minimalist and flat style of version two, preferring SLR 300…

  • DC

    Enrico,

    Given that the first Carrera 1887's have only just started to arrive in Europe, I'd be very surprised if version 3 will appear in the first quarter of 2011- my guess is mid-year.

    I will interview TAG Heuer's CEO on January 19- so I promise you that the issue of the different versions of the Carrera 1887 will be my first question.

    David

  • Robert L

    Thank you David !!

    My pics can be found here :

    http://forumamontres.forumactif.com/t92781p75-inf

  • DB10

    Bought a v2 black/black after Christmas from TAG Westfield London, so they have obviously taken more stock since Hank got his a month ago.

    As with P.C. above, it was the blend of sportiness with a more refined look than most chronographs that won me over, as I was buying this as a work watch and wear a suit most days. Black on black is perfect.

    The TAG store indicated that v3 will be available in the UK, with no definite timescale. UK price from 1 Jan is going up from GBP 2350 to 2695 I believe – new year price rise including the VAT rise.

    They also still had the 300 SLR if anyone's looking!

  • DC

    Thanks DB10. Sounds like the UK are at least aware of the third version.

    David

  • ENRICO

    So nobody has taken any real photo of CARRERA 1887 VERSION 3? Please post here :)

    • DC

      Enrico,

      I don't think its in the stores yet- and until it is, it will be hard to get real photos. I would have thought that TAG Heuer will have the new version to show at Geneva in 2 weeks…

      dc

  • ENRICO

    David, I know version 2 just arrived in shops, but I hoped somebody has taken some pictures of version 3 at exibitions or Prix de l'Aiguille :) . Anyhow, if it is true that few weeks after debut Tag will increase the price just to revise to version 3, this will be a big loss for this Company reliability and reputation

  • Wisconsin Proud

    Nice pics, BR!

    The strap is very cool with the perforation and the HEUER clasp.

    5000 pieces ensures there are enough to go around when/if they reach the States.

  • DC

    Dan- the strap is very, very cool- much nicer than the standard croc in my view.

    Now that we've seen the thinner outer bezel of the Carrera 1887, I wonder if the 300 SLR would look better with the thinner bezel? You never can please some people!

    dc

  • TheDamBoy

    Thanks you very much for all the info. It has resulted in me recently placing a deposit down on what appears to be a version 2 (black with bracelet) in Glasgow, Scotland.

    However, I'm fairly certain that it does NOT have the radial pattern in the sub-dials. Does this mean that there is a 4th "version", or do all version 2s have flat sub-dials? If so, then the information at the beginning of this article is incorrect. I suppose it could be market-dependent, or face-colour-dependent? For those of you who have already purchased version 2, it would be good to know your location, face colour and whether you have the radial pattern or not.

    • DC

      No problems DamBoy.

      Certainly the white version in stores has the radial pattern- and I'm pretty confident that the black one does too.

      No, I don't think there would be different versions…but the radial detailing is not obvious unless you really focus on the dial from close range. But, anything is possible, so if you do have a radial-free version, please let us know!

      dc

  • TheDamBoy

    Can somebody explain what you are expecting from "power reserve version". My understanding is that the first batch of 1887s will continue to function for a couple of days when not worn. How long can we expect in the future?

  • SCNomad

    The power reserve is an indicator / dial on the watch face!

    • DC

      SCNomad is right- Power reserve is a complication added to the watch that allows an indictaor to be placed on the dial showing how much power is left…. it doesn't mean that these versions have greater life than the standard 1887.

      dc

  • DB10

    David, my v.2 black dial is radial-free. Although not conclusive, I'd say Hank's picture of 10/12 is the same. We did buy from the same store.

  • BR

    I'm sure from my fitting of v2 the sub dails have no patern, this is one of the reasons why i went for the 300 SLR.

    So this could mean there are different versions, or was I really tired that day?

    • DC

      There you go- I stand corrected! I guess that dials come in different batches…you guys scored the lucky "no radial" dial.

      Anyone have a white with no radial pattern?

  • TheDamBoy

    Thanks for the explanation of "power reserve". BR said "By the way for sure there will be a power reserve version. It’s already mentioned in the manual of 1887".

    Can anybody tell me what it says in the manual? Does it specify or illustrate the position of the power reserve indicator?

  • TheDamBoy

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but does anybody have a black WITH radial pattern? Is it possible that they removed it for the final production version? And for the complete picture, are there definitely whites with radial pattern?

  • SCNomad

    TheDamBoy, here's what it says in my manual from my silver/white 1887 (same as above) purchased in London Mid Dec 2010:

    'POWER RESERVE FUNCTION*'

    'The graduated section shows the percentage of power reserve remaining at that time.'

    '*Depending on model'

    (I would post a pic from the manual but I'm not sure how to!)

  • Henry Law

    I have the White dial version 2 on a black leather strap, It has the radial dials, but I think it is very subtle compared to the macro pictures, you have to catch the watch in the correct light to see them. I am based in Kent England.

  • TheDamBoy

    I've just read the excellent interview with Christoph Behling. He talks about his disatisfaction with the "first one" and seems to state that it was improved by the inclusion of the "tachy on the flange". He then goes on to state that "version 3 looks in reality the way version 2 looked on paper". My interpretation of this is that he is ignoring version 1 and that he views version 2 as the "first one", presumably because version 1 was just a prototype. However, it isn't clear, so I may be mistaken.

    Anyway, it seems fairly certain that version 3 will be produced. Hopefully the promised interview with Jean Christophe Babin will clear up the outstanding questions.

    SCNomad, thanks for the response re Power Reserve version. Where abouts on the watch face is the "graduated section"?

  • kmatsu

    So I purchased the version 2 (black with steel bracelet) from Japan over the winter and love how it looks. I do have a couple issues with it that I thought I’d throw out there. Full disclosure, this is my first watch that I’ve ever purchased that was more than $300 so I don’t know much.
    a. The time is off by 1-minute or so every day. I usually wear it from 7am-7pm so I think it’s fully charged but it falls behind everyday. Is this normal for these kinds of non-battery watches?
    b. The steel bracelet scratches very easily. I know that these things eventually scratch but after only 2 weeks of wear, there are noticable scratches all over the bracelet (the cheap $300 watch i previously had does not has such scratches).
    c. There is a small white speck under the glass (perhaps it is a small piece of dust).

    I still absolutly love the watch but wish some of these imperfecitons weren’t there. I don’t think any of them are a huge deal but wish they didn’t happen for a watch that is so expensive (at least for me). Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

  • KV

    (from the Netherlands)

    I saved money for the last year to buy me this kind of watch and

    I practically almost bought the carrera V2 in november 2010, until I saw the article about the Version 3.

    I purchased myself to wait a bit longer….I like the V3 much more.

    @DC; you wrote that it will be on the market later this year. In what terms are "they" speaking. For example June 2011 or last quarter 2011??? I can't hardly wait that much longer!

    Kind regards,

    Kersten

  • Tom

    Yes, I would definitely love to see a version 3 in black!! I hate the waiting game…

  • DC

    OK, here is the official update- straight from TAG Heuer's CEO:

    http://www.calibre11.com/carrera-1887-2011/

    Given this thread is so long, I will lock this from further comments- please comment over at the new post

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