Hands on Review- TAG Heuer Carrera CH1887 43mm

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   24 June 2012   |   30 Comments  

Perhaps the least interesting aspect of the new TAG Heuer Carrera CH1887 43mm is the most obvious: yes, the watch is 2mm larger in diameter than the standard (41mm) Carrera 1887 that we’ve come to know and love, but the new “plus-size” model is far more than just a larger version of what’s come before.

TAG Heuer has taken the opportunity to create a distinctly new member of the Carrera family that combines the larger case with an open, elegant design that brings together elements of the 41mm Carrera 1887 (Version 2) and the Carrera Heritage series.

While the majority of the Carrera range emphasises the sporting credentials of the series, the new Carrera 43mm is firmly tilted towards the luxury/ elegance part of the market. Tachymeter? No. Rose Gold detailing? Plenty.

We’ve shown you the official photos of the 43mm Carrera 1887 back in March, and can now bring you the first review based on these pre-production watches.

Design

The 43mm Carrera has a clean, simple design that brings together the elements from other Carrera models. Regular readers will recall that the Carrera 1887 on sale today is actually the third version of the watch, with the second version (“V2″) being the first commercial version of  the Carrera 1887 that was available in selected markets for a few months.

As you see above, the V2 Carrera 1887 41mm has no tachy scale/ bezel and a flat 9 o’clock sub-dial that blended in with the rest of the dial.The V3 Carrera 1887 41mm on sale today (below) added a metal frame to the 12 and 6 o’clock registers, a recessed 9 o’clock sub-dial and a tachy scale to the inner bezel.

So think of the Carrera 43mm 1887 as having the same “stripped back” dial as the V2 Carrera but with added lashings of Rose Gold- as you can see below. In addition to the Rose Gold coloured numerals, the watch hands and the running seconds hand are also Rose Gold (plated) on the Silver dial model, while all the sub-dial hands are Rose Gold on the Black dial model.

The final element of the new design is the use of Arabic numerals to mark out the hours rather than the usual markers. TAG Heuer introduced this design with the 2011 Carrera Heritage series, although as you can see from the photo below (Carrera Heritage Calibre 16 Chronograph), the font has changed and the numerals are printed rather than applied, but the thinking behind the look is the same.

The use of the large Arabic numerals is both a design flourish and a necessity. Given the diameter of the Calibre 1887 movement, the position of the registers is fixed, meaning that without the larger numerals, the dial may have appeared too “empty”. The prominent Gold numbers draws your eye outwards and gives the dial a nice visual balance.

Given that I rate the V2  as the most attractive of the 41mm Carrera 1887s, it’s great to see the “old” design brought back. The Rose Gold detailing is a nice change from the usual Carrera look, and it does achieve the goal of creating a watch that is more luxury than it is sports. The end result is a very classy Chronograph, albeit one that does look very similar to the IWC Portuguese one of the best looking luxury Chronographs on the market.

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