Hands on Review- TAG Heuer Carrera Day Date Calibre 16
Since its release back in 2008, the Carrera Day-Date Calibre 16 has become one of the most popular watches in the TAG Heuer range: bigger, bolder and more intricately designed than most of the Carrera models, the Day-Date model is the Alpha Male of the Carrera pack.
TAG Heuer offer the combination Day-Date feature on several Calibre 16 watches, (The Aquaracer and- in the past- the Link) but typically the only change between the two versions is the larger date window and additional functionality implied by the name. As someone who rarely uses the date function and never uses the day function (sure, I forget the date occasionally, but rarely which day of the week it is), it’s not the functionality of this watch that makes it interesting to me- it’s the design.
And the design of the Day-Date model is distinctly different to the Calibre 16 Date Carrera (below)- sure the case design is the same, but whether it be the chronograph pushers, the crown, the dial or the hands, almost every aspect of the design has been changed.
As you can see from the photo above, the watch borrows its looks from the 2006 Carrera Calibre 360, the limited edition range launched to showcase the Calibre 360 1/ 100th second movement.
Both watches use the over-size 43mm case- 2mm larger than the standard Carrera and a massive 20% larger than the 36mm Carrera re-edition from 1996. As well as having a larger case, both watches place the minute and seconds hash-marks on an angled inner-bezel, freeing up more room on the dial for the signature applied minute markers, set out in 5-minute increments. Look carefully and you’ll see that both watches also use the same small triangles on the inner bezel to mark each 5-minute increment.
The other design flourish borrowed from the Carrera 360 is the double-crown, a look that the Carrera 360 passed on to other watches in the TAG Heuer range, including the Grand Carrera and Monaco V4.
Apart from the layout of the dial, the Date and Day-Date Carreras share almost nothing in terms of design. The Day-Date comes from what I’ll call the “Technical” period of TAG Heuer design. If the Carrera 1887 marked a return to simplicity, then this watch comes from the opposite school where there is an array of patterned surfaces, applied markers, printed text and colours.
The Day-Date is cut from the same cloth as watches like the Grand Carrera Calibre 36- the “more is more” approach.
Even simple features like the crown and the top Chronograph pusher have detailed finishes, with a black and red band respectively. The date window? An angled 3D window that increases the sense of depth.
Like other Carrera Chronograph models, the 12 and 6 o’clock sub-dials have a circular “Record” finish, while the 9 o’clock register is slightly recessed. The central chrono. hand and the 30-minute sub-dial hands have red tips, adding another splash of color to the dial.
Overall the design of the watch works very well- the additional detailed touches and applied markers give the watch a more 3D, premium look. The question for people looking to buy a Carrera will be whether they like this design, or prefer the more understated Date-only Chronograph.
I can see that some will find the watch “over-designed”- and there is no disputing that it’s a “busy” design, but it does have a place in the Carrera range. If you have the “elegant” 1887, the “vintage-styled” Heritage series and the “racing-style” Calibre 16 Chronograph, the Day-Date is a bolder, more modern design.