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Hands on Review- TAG Heuer Carrera CH1887 Rose Gold

While the Carrera 1887 has been one of TAG Heuer’s most popular watches since its introduction in 2010, the number of choices in the range has been somewhat constrained (“would Sir prefer a black or white dial?”), largely due to the limited availability of the CH1887. Now that movement production has expanded, we are starting to see more Carreras with the 1887 movement including this one- the TAG Heuer Carrera CH1887 Rose Gold (Ref. CAR2141).

The new Carrera 1887 is available in a choice of two dials- Silver and Anthracite, the latter being the colour that you see here. Anthracite is an interesting colour- a Gunmetal Grey that has both blue and green undertones. Compare the photos above and below and you can appreciate the variety in colours that you get from this dial depending on the light. As we’ll come to later, TAG Heuer seem to have decided that Anthracite is the colour for 2012, with Anthracite dials offered on several 2012 watches.

The Carrera 1887 is one of my favourite watches in the current TAG Heuer range and given that I also have a soft-spot for Rose Gold, I was excited to get my hands on one of the pre- production watches to see how the new version stacked up against its Steel brother.

Case

To start with the obvious, the case of the Carrera is “18k 5N” Rose Gold. Given that 24k Gold is “pure” Gold, “18K 5N” tells you that Rose Gold is an alloy that consists of 75% Gold (18 divided by 24). The “5N” refers to the amount of Copper used in the other 25%- 5N typically means 22.25% Copper and 2.75% Silver. The more Copper, the deeper the Red, so a Red Gold case is typically 18K 6N and consists of 25% Copper and no Silver.

Whatever the Metallurgy, it’s a stunning colour that works beautifully on the elegant Carrera case.

In fact, the Carrera in Steel has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to overlook what a perfect design the case is, especially those beautifully shaped horns.

The 41mm case, crown, bezel and pushers are all 18K 5N Gold, and each has the same polished finish.

Dial

As mentioned at the start of the article, the colour of the dial is hard to define, but it’s what you might call Slate Grey or Gunmetal Grey. The dial has a starburst finish, which you can clearly see in the photo above.

Consistent with the case, the applied hour indexes and hands are also Rose Gold, with the same colour used for the TAG Heuer logo and Carrera lettering.

The Sub-dials are slightly recessed and finished in a flat Grey colour that provides a little contrast to the finish of the rest of the dial.

Whether you like the colour of the dial is purely a matter of personal taste. I like Anthracite, but whether it works well in combination with Rose Gold is another question.

Movement

The now-familiar TAG Heuer-made CH1887 movement sits inside the CAR2141 Carrera, with the movement gaining a unique Black and Gold rotor. As we’ve mentioned before, the design of the rotor on the Calibre 1887 for all models has changed for 2012 to the design you see below.

The case back has a clear Sapphire window allowing you to see the new rotor in action.

On the Wrist

The Rose Gold 1887 felt pretty much the same as the steel version, although I have to say that I am not a fan of the pin-buckles used on most of TAG Heuer’s Gold watches. I assume that they’re used for cost reasons, as a large, Gold Deployant buckle would be very expensive. Still, it’s hard to “go back” to the old pin buckle once you’re used to using a deployant.

As with all Carrera 1887s, some will find the case quite thick- it doesn’t feel overly heavy, but it’s certainly no lightweight.

Comparison with Steel 1887 Carrera

Putting aside the differences in materials and colour, the only real change from the Steel to the new Rose Gold Carrera 1887 is that the Gold version loses the angled steel frames from the 12 and 6 o’clock sub-dials. I like this finish on the stainless steel model, but the change makes sense to cut down on the bling factor.

If you’re really into details (and you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t), also notice that the 12-hour register at 6 o’clock has hash marks for every hour, while the steel version has markers for every 30 minute interval…at least the designers will be relieved to know that someone noticed!

Price and Availability

The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 Rose Gold is due out in the next few weeks, and I understand is already available in some countries. The price in Switzerland is CHF15,000, which is about the premium that you’d expect over the steel model given that Gold content.

The watch is only available on a leather strap, with the price being the same for the Silver dial version.

In Summary

Given the rich heritage of Carreras in Gold (see here, here and here) it’s great to have a Gold option back in the Carrera range. The case itself is truly beautiful, and one very much worth seeing in person to appreciate the richness of  the colour. But despite this, I can’t help but think that the Rose Gold and Anthracite combination doesn’t work as well as it should- at least, not for me.

TAG Heuer have long been a fan of Starburst Anthracite dials- for example the Monaco Gulf Calibre 12…

…and the 2012 Carrera Mikrograph. Yes, this one also combines Anthracite and Rose Gold, but in the Mikrograph this is broken up by the large white border on the outside of the dial. Speaking of 2012 and Anthracite…

…you can also get a new Formula 1 in Anthracite with a cool matching Ceramic bezel. Again. I think this colour combination works quite well, so it’s probably not the anthracite colour that I don’t like, as much as it’s the combination of Rose Gold and Anthracite.

Given this, if I was to buy a Rose Gold Carrera 1887, my choice would the Silver dial version (CAR2140) that you see below, which for me looks perfect with the contrasting black strap.

Those who find the Silver/ Rose Gold combination a little too traditional may like the different look of the Anthracite dial, but for me I’ll stick with the colour combination of one of my favourite Carreras the Heuer Carrera 1158S.

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Want to find out more about the history of the TAG Heuer Carrera? Check out the dedicated Calibre 11 Carrera mini-site to see all ten generations of the Carrera from 1963-2013.

Photo: Heuer Carrera 1158S:

  • Omar

    I like the watch! When will it be available in the US and $?

    Thanks!

  • Philmo

    I just drool over black and gold designs and fortunately TAG Heuer are masters of the genre.

    The black dial in rose gold 1887 Carrera would make a lovely companion for my Black Coral, 3000 Series 236.006BG, and Link S93!

    Keep 'em coming!

  • DC

    – Omar, not sure of the price in the US, but should be out in the next couple of weeks

    – Thanks Philmo…will do!

    dc