First Look- TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36

TAG Heuer’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Carrera continues with this new watch, the 2013 TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback. This is the first time that the Carrera has featured the Calibre 36 movement- TAG Heuer’s modified version of the famous Zenith El Primero, perhaps the classic Chronograph movement, which traces its origins back to 1969.

The new flagship Carrera’s look are a development of the 2011 Heuer Mikrograph design, with a little of the new Ceramic Bezel Carrera 1887 thrown in for good measure.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 El PrimeroThe Calibre 36 also features a Flyback complication for the first time- a function that we’ll explain shortly.


The Carrera Calibre 36 is a thoroughly modern development of the Carrera, perhaps disappointing those hoping for a retro-themed model to mark the 50th anniversary of the Carrera. In fact, TAG Heuer has resisted the temptation to release any re-edition Carrera models this year. A good thing in my book.

The watch features the classic Carrera case in a 43mm diameter- a large size case, which in part explains the design of the dial. When the El Primero movement was launched back in 1969, most men’s watches had a diameter around the 36-39mm mark- significantly smaller than today’s watches. Using a vintage movement like the El Primero means that the position of the sub-dials and date are fixed, so despite the case and dial being larger, the movement is unchanged and so can look awkward in a larger case.

Carrera Flyback El PrimeroTo get around this problem, TAG Heuer has created a two-part dial. This allows the registers to sit inside the inner dial while the broad outer ring adopts the style of the Heuer Mikrograph (below). Also like the Mikrograph, the time is read from the inner dial (hence the shorter hour and minute hands), while the outer ring is purely for reading the elapsed time of the Chronograph.

MIKROGRAPH_MUSHROOM_HDThe inner dial of the Carrera is a “sunburst” Anthracite finish, with either a Black or “Silver” (Officially Silver…but White to you and me) outer ring and flange. The outer ring features double Arabic minutes, a similar style to the recently released Carrera 1887 Ceramic Bezel.

The Titanium Racing model takes a different approach, with a black Sunburst dial, but without the contrasting outer ring.

The hands follow the current TAG Heuer trend of being Silver with Red tips- Red also being used for highlighting the “Calibre 36” and “Flyback” script on the dial.

Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback- CAR2B10 Black Dial

There are three dials variants of the Flyback Carrera, the first being the Black/ Anthracite model above. The watch is available either with the Grand Carrera “square-brick” bracelet, or a Black leather Alligator strap.

While it’s hard to be too definitive based on press photos alone, I reckon that this will be the pick of the models, as the two colours work well together- the Black offering a more subtle contrast than the white dial.

Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback- CAR2B11 Silver Dial

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback- CAR2B11.BA0799Like the Black dial, the Silver/ Anthracite model is also available with a Black alligator strap, or the Grand Carrera bracelet you see above.

Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback Racing- CAR2B80 Titanium

The hero model in the Carrera Calibre 36 line-up is the Titanium Racing model. While the other two models offer a stainless steel case, the Racing version uses titanium-carbide coated Grade-2 Titanium case. To add to the stealth looks, the hands, sub-dial rings and minuterie are finished in Black Gold.

The Calibre 36 Racing also gets a unique overmolded rubber Crown and “piston-style” Chronograph pushers

This is the second Titanium Racing model in the Carrera range, joining the 1887 Carrera Racing (below).

The titanium case is also available with a Black strap. It’s an interesting design, which layers a Black Rally-style layer.

Movement: Calibre 36 Flyback

The Calibre 36 is a development of the Zenith El Primero 400 series- in this case,  the El Primero 405 (the flyback variant).

So, what is a “Flyback”? In a normal Chronograph you press the top pusher to start and stop timing and the bottom pusher to re-set to zero- fine for timing say a 100m sprint. But if you were timing a car around the race track, a flyback allows you to finish one lap and then immediately continue to time the next. As you re-set the chronograph, it will automatically start timing again, rather than having to press stop, re-set and then start.

The 2013 Carrera Calibre 36 is the first of the new watches from Baselworld 2013. Read about each of the 2013 Carrera models here and stay tuned to Calibre 11 in the next few hours as we’ll be bringing you live photos of some very cool watches.

Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback Price and Availability

Carrera Calibre 36 Black angleSo, how much will the new Carrera cost? The watch is priced as you would expect for the premium Calibre 36 movement.

We understand that the Silver and Black models will be priced at CHF7,500 (that is, Swiss francs) in Switzerland, while the titanium Calibre 36 Racing model will be CHF8,500. To put that in perspective, the standard Carrera 1887 41mm is priced at CHF4,750.

Live Photos

052Paul Boutros, a Senior Moderator over at took these great shots and kindly agreed to share them with us- thanks Paul!






50 Years of Carrera

The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback is part of the 50th anniversary range of TAG Heuer’s most famous model- the Carrera. Click on the image below to learn all about the history of the Carrera and see the entire 2013 Carrera range.



Check out all of the Baselworld 2013 releases from TAG Heuer at our dedicated page here 



  • Mark

    Any ideas on price yet David? The titanium looks great. Reminds me of the carbon matrix

  • George C

    Hi, David, the flyback model sounds great and like this execution somewhat, I couldn't help but to make a comment, this watch would have been perfect had it had an inner ring Tachymetre scale for reading the speed of a race car, I'm sure TAG Heuer thought of it but i can't find a reason as to why they'd avoid it all together, I can see that perhaps having minutes simplified its design but sounds like an easy way out of a complicated task perhaps?

  • George C

    i should have mentinoned for the regular models i se that the titanium gets it, premium over regular?

  • Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback Racing, Carrera Carbon 1887, it's a good year to be a TAG Heuer fan!

  • Tom

    Any updates regarding the Carrera 1888? Many Thanks!

  • DM

    I have to say, when I first saw these in print, themselves on bad quality paper, I was a little unsure of how the dial works but the more I look at them, especially the black dial, the more they grow on me.

    I think they could do with reducing the chronograph reading portion a little as those sub-dials still do look a bit squashed up in the watch reading portion of the dial and like I said about the Carrera Mikropendulum, I think the watch looks better with the nice baton hour markers than without.

    Alas again, it is another 43mm watch and I can't help but think how cool a 41mm Calibre 36 Carrera in the Jack Heuer black on white style would be.

  • Mark- no word on pricing yet…but the Calibre 36 watches tend to be in the USD6,000- 8,000 range

    George- yes, I know what you mean with the tachy scale , but I think they want to emphasise the "stopwatch" style and features. Rumours are that the first prototypes of this watch didn't have a Flyback, but instead used a caliper system similar to the Grand Carrera Calibre 36

    Shelton- its been a while- did you ever end up getting that McLaren???

    Tom- nothing. We'll keep digging!

    DM- Yes, using these small movements in big cases can give the watch that "squinty" look- I think it avoids it on this occasion.


  • AS

    Pricing will be $7,900 for this per TH.

  • Thanks AS- sounds about right.

    Hope you've all seen the great photos taken by Paul Boutros above- looks even better than the studio shots.


  • Hey David, been a while. It's a no on the McLaren, I'm a family man now so all my toys need back seats. Picked up a C63 Black Series last year, that's my current toy.

  • Nice! Still, surely you could squeeze a baby seat in the passenger side 😉

  • M S

    For those who are interested, after visiting a Tag UK store and seeing the watch in person, the price is £5,895 for the bracelet variant Calibre 36 Flyback.

  • Thanks MS- not a bad price considering the recommended price on the Calibre 36 Grand Carrera is over GBP7,000


  • Bogdan

    So is this the successor of the grand carrera 36 rs?

  • Yes, I'd say that it probably is…at least unofficially!

  • $8900 MSRP for the racing model. Arriving in August, just got mine ordered!

  • J.O.

    Not a chronometer?

    All Zeniths are COSC certified.

  • Don't think so J.O but will check. The Monaco Twenty-Four Calibre 36 is COSC, even though it doesn't say so on the dial.

    Not sure that Zenith do send every El Primero for COSC- I'm not a Zenith expert, but there are plenty of threads like this one saying that they've cut back (of course not being COSC certified doesn't mean that it won't perform to COSC spec.)

  • Bogdan

    It is not COSC, but as mentioned above should have no problem performing on COSC level since it’s a calibre 36

  • Kris

    I need to buy a calibre 36 31 jewel movement I have the link chronograph how do I get it

    • calibre11

      You just want to buy the movement? They sometimes come up on eBay, but your best bet is direct from TAG Heuer