Hands-on Review: TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback
The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback is a study of both the past and the present, in that it combines three innovative ideas from the 1960s into a modern, contemporary chronograph. The first of these ’60s icons is of course the Carrera itself, with the case design of the current range staying true to the very first Carrera of 1963. Then of course there is the movement, the famous El Primero, introduced in 1969 and still made today by TAG Heuer’s sister company Zenith. And lastly we have a design layout that replicates Heuer’s Stopwatches of the 1960s, which shifted the focus of the dial away from minutes and towards seconds by moving the seconds counter to the most prominent part of the dial. Yet the result is far from retro, with the Carrera Calibre 36 looking modern and sporty, especially the Titanium-cased Racing model. Despite TAG Heuer first offering the El Primero (called the Calibre 36 by TAG Heuer) in 2002, it has taken more than 10 years for TAG Heuer to release the high-end movement in its top-selling model- the Carrera.
While the high-end Calibre 36 is nothing new to TAG Heuer fans, the addition of a Flyback complication is. A normal chronograph is started and stopped with the top chronograph pusher and then re-set to zero with the bottom pusher. You have to stop the chronograph before you re-set to zero. The Flyback is different, in that you can press the bottom pusher while the chronograph is active This resets the hand back to zero and continues timing, something essential for military pilots for whom the complication was originally developed. This is not the only flyback in the historical Heuer/ TAG Heuer Catalogue, with the Heuer Bundeswehr offering a flyback complication.
The Carrera Calibre 36 is a development of the Heuer Carrera Mikrograph, launched by TAG Heuer in 2011. The Mikrograph is famous for offering a 1/ 100th second chronograph and solving the challenge that evaded TAG Heuer’s previous efforts at this precision of timing (the Calibre 360): how do you make it easy to read the elapsed time when the fractions of a second are so small?