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Hands on Review- TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 17 Jack Heuer Boutique

TAG Heuer has dropped a surprise to close out the year with two new boutique-only Carreras based on the highly successful Carrera Jack Heuer 80th Birthday edition. Given that the new models pay tribute to the design of Jack’s 80th birthday present from last year, it seems appropriate to call the new pair the Jack Heuer Carrera 81…even if that isn’t an official name.

There are two new models to add to the family- one with Blue highlights (centre) and the second that inverts the colours of the original, offering an Anthracite dial with Silver sub-dials (right).

Carrera Jack Heuer Family

2012 Jack Heuer Carrera 80

Carrera Wristshot 2Of course, the 2012 TAG Heuer Jack Heuer Carrera 80th Birthday edition needs little introduction: it was one of the best- received TAG Heuer limited editions in recent memory. The watch offered a spectacular Silver star-burst dial, with Anthracite sub-dials and tachy flange. The 41mm stainless steel case uses the pushers from the Carrera 1887, but with the Calibre 17 (ETA 2894) movement.

And as you’d expect for a Birthday tribute for Mr. Heuer, the usual TAG Heuer logo is replaced by the Red Heuer logo.

2013 Carrera Calibre 17 Chronometer

So, apart from the colours, what are the differences between the Carrera 80 and the Carrera 81?

Let’s start at the rear of the watch, where the new Carrera 81 features a plain caseback with the Red Heuer logo, rather than the Heuer family crest and Jack Heuer’s signature, as found on the Carrera 80.

Behind the caseback sits the Calibre 17, although this time in Chronometer-grade spec.

…and unlike the Carrera 80, the new watches lose the red “80” on the tachy flange.

Jack Heuer Carrera 80 BoutiqueApart from those details mentioned above, the two new models stay close to the script of the original.

Carrera Jack Heuer 81- CV5111 Calibre 17 Chronometer

TAG Heuer Jack Heuer Carrera 81 Chronometer Blue dialThe first Jack Heuer 81 is essentially a Blue version of the 2012 Carrera 80- Blue sub-dials, Blue tachy-flange and a Blue-leather strap.

In fact, the differences between the Blue 81 and the original are quite subtle..depending on the light, it may be hard to spot the new shade of Blue.

The new strap features Blue stitching and a cream lining- while both models are available with a stainless steel bracelet, the leather “Rallye”-style straps compliment perfectly the vintage-feel of the Carrera design.

Carrera CV5110 Calibre 17 Chronometer

TAG Heuer Jack Heuer Carrera 81 ChronometerThe second model is much more of  departure from the Carrera 80, with a gorgeous star-burst Anthracite dial that gives the watch a very different feel.

TAG Heuer Jack Heuer Carrera 81 ChronometerThe contrasting White tachy-flange matches the two sub-dials, which are framed by Silver rings.

TAG Heuer Jack Heuer Carrera 81 Chronometer

If anything, the Anthracite dial is even more beautiful than the Silver original….it really is a great looking watch

TAG Heuer Jack Heuer Carrera 81 Chronometer

The Inspiration

52_Carrera_1153N_Chronomatic_no1_39D70D1A-1E4F-37DC-713CBDF161BF5339Only last week, Mark Moss brought you the story of the first Chronomatic models, including this wonderful 1969 Carrera 1153N model, with its Charcoal-dial and White sub-dials/ tachy-flange.

While the new model is more of a Grey slate colour rather than the Blue-tone of the original, the similarities are obvious.

Wrist-Shots

TAG Heuer Jack Heuer Carrera 80 Anthracite ChronometerThe colour of the Anthracite dial changes depending on the light- you can see how much lighter in hue the dial appears above than the darker slate colour below.

TAG Heuer Jack Heuer Carrera 80 Anthracite Chronometer

Price and Availability

Jack Heuer Carrera 81 AnthraciteThe 2013 TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 17 Chronometer limited editions are  only available from TAG Heuer boutiques, and in fact are already in stock. While production numbers haven’t been confirmed, at this stage there are no plans for the model to be more broadly available, although given that these new designs will almost certainly be highly popular, it wouldn’t surprise if they did become part of the regular range.

In Australia, the Carrera Jack Heuer 81 is priced at A$5,750.

CV5111.FC6335_TAG_HEUER_CARRRERA_CALIBRE_17_CHRONOGRAPH_PACKSHOT_2013-imp

CV5110.FC6310_TAG_HEUER_CARRRERA_CALIBRE_17_CHRONOGRAPH_PACKSHOT_2013-imp

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Photos:

Carrera 1153N: Paul Gavin- HeuerWorld

All other photos: Calibre 11

  • Mark

    David I absolutely adore the new model with the anthracite dial. Like you I have seen it in person and for me personally, it is the pick of the current range. My birthday is in Feburary and I have found the perfect present for myself. Lol

  • John

    Stunners, both of them! Any news on the new limited edition of 500 pieces calibre 1969 in house carerra that you teased us about a couple weeks ago? Patiently waiting over here… 🙂

  • Stacey

    I have the J Heuer 80. Wow… These two new ones are awesome!! Any idea when they will be in the US?

  • Yes, agree that these are great…especially the Anthracite. I liked it so much that I bought the watch you see here on the spot…my first new TAG Heuer in a few years.

    Not sure on the timing of the Carrera 1969. I'm trying to get hold of a photo as soon as I can..promise 😉

    Not sure on the US, but I imagine that they may already be there- the pair that you see here arrived in the Melbourne boutique a week ago.

    dc

  • DM.

    It's interesting that they have gone from having no COSC models in the (regular) Carrera line up (apart from the gold model way back…) they now have two in the space of half a year.
    I think that may well an indication of where they're aiming at.

  • The cynic in me also wonders if this is partly driven by ETA, who are forced to supply a certain volume…"Sure, you can have some movements- no, not the lower priced ones…these premium ones".

    I'm sure that's not the case 😉

  • Scotti b

    Beautiful watches. Anthracite is the one for me. Great article.

  • Anthony

    What's Uk RRP likely to be on this piece

  • Jeffzx9

    Assuming these are manual-wind movements?

  • Tim

    really excited about this. I missed the 80 at my AD and it will be nice to grab this anthracite … which to my eye looks incredibly smart. Great article as per usual

  • Lisa M

    You can get them in Vegas!!! I know a great guy and he always finds me the latest watches! I've always worn a bigger watch since most watch companies don't make a big women's watch..and I'm not into cheap watches!

  • Thanks for the comments everyone,

    No, this is a automatic movement- Calibre 17 COSC.

    Not sure of the UK retail price, but I would expect to be in line with the Jack Heuer 80 allowing for the annual price increase

    It is a great looking watch….very happy with mine so far

    dc

  • Simon B

    It's a beautiful piece. I have the Heuer 80 and although prefer the anthracite face on this version I wouldn't swap it.

  • Steve

    I wonder why they did not consider a version without any red.
    http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/3711/kyi7.jpg

  • Niall

    As a proud owner of a JH 80 I feel cheated by Tag Heuer. There is nothing limited about this piece any longer.

  • wynonie

    I have to say, I agree with Niall. This is a con. The 80 sells well so they basically extend the Ltd edition and in some ways, improve it – ie by making it cosc. As an owner of several, including the 80, I'll think twice about another tag ltd edition.

    • "A con" is a little strong! Don't forget that when the Carrera and Monaco were brought back in 1996/ 7, they were only supposed to be limited edition re-editions…yet here we are where both models are part of the core range. Everyone does it, but it hardly ruins the resale of the original.

      I'm sure that the Jack Heuer 80 will still command a premium, given the link to Jack Heuer, which these new models don't have. Look at the difference in value that a Double Red/ Red Rolex Submariner commands relative to the standard model. People pay for small differences.

      If these models offered the same Silver dial and Jack Heuer caseback as the original, then I think there would be more of a case to argue!

      dc

  • wynonie

    Yeah, fair enough dc. But I am going to think twice about the next Ltd edition as its a safe bet there'll be another very similar model out soon after. I've seen a pic of the Ltd edition 1969 carrera and its a stunner, but I'm going to pas on it, it's super expensive and clearly there'll be other similar options out soon enough.

  • Gerry Dimatos

    I bought the JH Carerra 80 last year and loved it. The fact that Tag released 2 new models so close to the 80 smacks of opportunistic capitalistic corporate greed.

    I also have a Heuer Monaco Cal 11 with the grey dial. If Heuer continues in this fashion, my JH 80 could be the last Heuer I ever buy. There are other Heuer collectors I know who are just as disappointed.

    Rolex is my other core brand, and I have never been disappointed in quality, finish or resale value…..

    Regards,

    Gerry.

    • Hi Gerry,

      Yes, I know where you're coming from. On the one-hand it's not the same watch, so the Jack Heuer 80 is still unique. On the other, its "less unique" and the newer model- which is not on general release- does have a better movement.

      Will it impact the value of the Jack Heuer 80? Let's see, but I don't think it will.

      Cheers

  • Gerry Dimatos

    I agree it will be interesting to also see how the retained values go. In Australia the JH 80 retailed for $5,650 with no discount. The JH 81 without the Signature or the Limited Edition sells for $100 more. How can the value of the JH81 be justified just because it is COSC certified ?
    Heuer must be telling us that either the Signature on the Limited Edition have little or no value or they have overpriced the JH 81.
    This is another example showing how Heuer have simply got it all wrong. They could have made the JH 81 around $4K, and us faithful collectors may not have had such an issue,

    Regards,

    Gerry.

  • Beanbag

    I just picked up my JH 81 yesterday with the anthracite dial. It's utterly beautiful and will be my day to day piece.

    The only point I might add is I would prefer a steel bracelet and plan to replace the leather straps shortly to the same steel strap used in the JH 80.

    • Glad you like yours Beanbag- I still love wearing mine.

      Should be easy to get a bracelet to fit…any TAG Heuer dealer will be able to order one for you

      dc