Last Updated on February 5, 2021 by Calibre 11
TAG Heuer has kicked off 2021 with the announcement today of a major new brand partnership with one of the absolute top-tier names in the automotive world- Porsche. Yes, TAG Heuer has sponsored several of Porsche’s racing initiatives over recent years, but today’s announcement is far broader and marks the first time that collectors will be able to buy a Porsche-edition TAG Heuer watch.
TAG Heuer describes the deal as a “holistic and long-term collaboration ranging from competition to product development“- could we see a TAG Heuer edition Porsche 911? Potentially. The new partnership supersedes the deal that TAG Heuer had with Aston Martin, which makes sense given the split in Formula 1 between Aston Martin and TAG Heuer’s long-time partner, Red Bull Racing.
While today’s announcement has several components, the key news from our perspective is the first collaboration watch- the 2021 Carrera 44mm Porsche Special Edition. We’ve had the watch in at Calibre 11 HQ for these “in the metal” photos and a chance to review the first in what will hopefully be a long time of TAG Heuer x Porsche designs.
TAG Heuer and Porsche
TAG Heuer and Porsche seem like obvious corporate bedfellows for two reasons. Firstly, the iconic model of each brand was launched in 1963- for TAG Heuer, the Carrera, and for Porsche the 911. Both the Carrera and the 911 have more or less survived intact over the last six decades (the 911 almost being replaced by the 928 in the late 1970s, and the Heuer Carrera being discontinued from the early 1980s to 1996) and the spirit of the original 1960s designs continues in today’s models.
The second reason is that one magic word: Carrera. Porsche began using “Carrera” for its sportiest models back in the 1950s with the 356 and the two companies have occasionally clashed over the use of the name. The reason that the Heuer Carrera re-edition from 1996 does not have Carrera on the dial? The rumours say that Porsche’s lawyers stepped in, or at a minimum, there were concerns that they may.
But despite TAG Heuer and Porsche having existed in the same orbit for many decades, they’ve never before truly been partners. Back in the Heuer days, it was common for Heuer’s partners to also partner with Porsche- for example, Swiss racing ace Jo Siffert was sponsored by Heuer and also drove and sold Porsche cars- but there was always one degree of separation between the two brands.
Even in the TAG Heuer days, the two companies almost-but-not-quite worked together, for example the TAG engine used in Formula 1 by McLaren- in the mid-1980s. Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) was a sponsor of the Williams F1 team in the early 1980s, but was lured across to acquire 50% of McLaren International by new team boss Ron Dennis with the promise of a new high-tech carbon monocoque chassis. To power the innovative chassis, a new engine would be needed, with TAG commissioning and paying Porsche to develop the 1.5 litre V6 Turbo engine that would eventually power McLaren to three world championships. And because TAG paid for the engines, they were branded as “TAG” powerplants- not Porsche. TAG of course also owned TAG Heuer, but that was as far as the Porsche link went. One degree of separation again.
Moving to modern times, the TAG Heuer logo today features on the Porsche Carrera Cup cars, and as title sponsor of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. Looking back, these recent sponsorship deals feel like the entree to today’s main course.
2021 Carrera Porsche Special Edition
The Porsche Edition Carrera is based on the 2020 44mm Carrera Sport series, which you and read more about here. What’s new with the Porsche edition are the dial and sub-dials, bezel, the red detailing on the crown and the option of a bespoke leather strap.
2020 was major year for the Carrera, with two new Heuer-02-powered series launched- the Carrera Sport and the Carrera Elegant. Putting the movement to one side, what we like about the new-generation Carrera is the updated case shape- and we say “updated” rather than “new”, because it’s still very clearly a Carrera, but with re-profiled “swoopy” lugs and a thinner middle section, which reduces the thickness of the case.
The dial features a textured “asphalt effect”, with large black sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock, and a smaller register at 6 o’clock that houses the sweeping seconds function and the date wheel. TAG Heuer has been much more adventurous with its dial textures over recent years, as highlighted by the Monaco 50th Anniversary collection.
We like the red flashes on the two larger registers, especially the three red segments on the 3 o’clock register that echo the Autavia and Carrera designs from the 1970s.
The dial offers two-digit Arabic minute markers, rather than traditional hour-markers, with the font used for the numerals mirroring the Porsche font used in its cars. And in case the common font was too subtle a link for you, there is also the red Porsche script on the ceramic black bezel.
But back to that dial, it’s one that appears quite different depending on the light. The photos above were taken in direct sunlight and show a light anthracite/ grey colour, while on the wrist at a glance, it’s more of a black.
Caseback and Movement
The watch uses TAG Heuer’s flagship Heuer 02 movement, which has been modified with a new rotor design based on the steering wheel of the 911, and carrying both the TAG Heuer and Porsche brands. It’s not that dissimilar to the standard Heuer 02 rotor, but the new design will be instantly recognised by Porsche owners.
Strap- Reference FC6492
There are two options when it comes to the strap- you can either choose the familiar Ref. BA0643 H-Link steel bracelet, or a newly designed calfskin leather strap, Ref. FC6492. The leather strap shown here is black with hand-stitched light-grey stitching, designed to evoke the leather seats in a 911, with its prominent centre seam.
As with many new TAG Heuer models, the box for the Carrera Porsche edition doubles as a soft leather travel pouch that can be removed from the cardboard outer-box. Inside, the box has a red lining, matching the red highlights on the dial.
On the Wrist
So, what’s the verdict on the new Carrera Porsche Edition? If you’re in the market for a 44mm Carrera, this is the one that we’d be buying. The dial texture gives the watch a distinct look, and we really like the red highlights on the sub-dials and the Porsche font used for the arabic numerals. The Porsche touches are subtle too, which will appeal to most buyers.
If, like us, your taste in watches caps out at around 42mm, we’d certainly recommend to try before you buy. The 44mm Sport Carrera doesn’t feel as large or top-heavy as the 43mm Day-Date Carrera from ten years ago, thanks to the re-profiled case, but this is still a large watch if you’re used to 40-42mm cases.
We can’t wait to see where the TAG Heuer-Porsche partnership heads- there are all sorts of customisation options that are possible, for example being able to have your Carrera dial match your 911 Carrera, as Porsche have offered in the past with Porsche Design watches. While the first model is a relatively safe design, it’s a strong start and we hope to see some exotic case materials such as ceramic and carbon fibre in future models, as well as exploring the heritage side of both brands.
2021 TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Edition- Price and Availability
The 2021 TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Special Edition is priced at A$8,450 in Australia for the leather strap, and A$8,750 for the steel bracelet. That works out to be a premium of A$450 over the standard Carrera 44mm Sport on a bracelet.
Prices is other key markets as follows:
- North America: US$5,850 (strap); US$6,050 (bracelet)
- Europe: €5,550; €5,700
- UK: GBP4,850; GBP5,000
The watch is a “special edition”, meaning it is not limited to a specific number of watches like a limited edition.
The watch is on sale now from all TAG Heuer authorised dealers and online at tagheuer.com.
2021 TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition 44mm Specifications
|Model Name||TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph|
|Year of Launch||2021|
|Production Type||Special Edition (not limited)|
|Watch Reference Number||CBN2A1F|
|Strap Reference Code||FC6492|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Movement||Calibre Heuer 02|