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The new Carrera Calibre Heuer-01 is an important watch- it’s not just the first example of new CEO Jean-Claude Biver’s vision for what TAG Heuer design should be, but also the first watch to feature the new Heuer-01 Calibre, a development of the Calibre 1887. Biver strongly believes that to justify the higher cost of an in-house movement, you should instantly be able to distinguish a TAG Heuer with an in-house movement without resorting to reading the small text on the dial- mission accomplished. Don’t expect to see this design offered with an ETA/ Sellita Calibre.
But despite offering a modular/ composite case and an in-house movement, the Carrera Heuer-01 stays true to the Biver vision of aggressive pricing for TAG Heuer, with pricing about the same as the existing Carrera 1887 Chronograph.
There is no question that the new Carrera has a Hublot-feel to it, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has seen the similarities between the new Jerome Lambert-led Montblanc collection and the designs he rubber-stamped during his time at Jaeger-LeCoultre…a brand’s watches naturally reflect the tastes and preferences of the boss. That doesn’t mean that the entire TAG Heuer range will morph into mini-Big Bangs, but you will see flourishes and influences from TAG Heuer’s sister brand.
This is not your grandfather’s Carrera. Yes, the case still echos the original Carrera, but the construction is entirely different. Rather than being made from a single piece of steel, the Carrera Heuer-01’s 45mm modular steel/ titanium case is made from 12 different components:
- Lugs (X4)
- Middle Case
- Crown and mouldings
- Gasket between the middle case and the bezel
- Upper and lower sapphire crystals
The modular nature of the case means that it will be easy to offer small variations of the design , without needing to retool for an entirely new case.
The strap is rubber, with what looks to be titanium end-pieces- not sure how well this will work, so we’ll need to check this out in person.
The Black skeleton dial has with 3 counters, with the Chronograph minute counter at 12 o’clock, Chronograph hour counter at 6 o’clock and small counter at 9 o’clock for the current seconds- the same layout as the existing Calibre 1887-powered watches. We may see a further evolution of the Calibre 1887 with an alternative dial layout, but for the moment the Carrera sticks with the familiar 12-6-9 layout.
The hour-markers are Rhodium-plated with red dot detail and white and red Super Luminova, while the hands are rhodium-plated with a polished finished. Note the stylised TAG Heuer logos on the tip of the hour and minute hands.
Movement: Calibre Heuer-01
The TAG Heuer Calibre Heuer-01 is a development of the Calibre 1887. We know that TAG Heuer has continued to evolve and improve the 1887 since it’s launch in 2010, and we’re now on the 4th generation of the Carrera 1887 (denoted by the “-4” suffix on the model reference). The key dimensions of the movement are unchanged (still 39 jewels; still 50 hours power reserve), but we do have some cosmetic changes, such as the Red column wheel, a new skeleton weight and chronograph bridge.
We’re keen to find out exactly what separates the Calibre 1887 and the Heuer-01 and whether it’s simply a case of a new name and cosmetic changes, or whether the differences go further. Either way, it makes sense to move on from the Calibre 1887.
Why the Carrera Calibre Heuer-01 is Important
Over the last few weeks we’ve seen two interpretations of the Carrera- yes, it’s a watch with a wonderful heritage stretching back more than 50 years, but it’s also at the centre of today’s TAG Heuer collection and will continue to be going forward. The Carrera must be as relevant and bold in 2015 as it was in 1963- time and time again we’ve seen that while retro designs please some of the purists, they do nothing to move the brand forward. There has to be both a heritage and a future vision.
And that’s what the Carrera Heuer-01 offers. Jean-Claude Biver told us that TAG Heuer’s had to be bold and avant garde, which meant using modern materials rather than just steel. The Carrera clearly ticks those boxes. Those expecting Biver to simply “polish” the existing TAG Heuer collection underestimate the scope of change that he likes to implement. Whether it’s changing the TAG Heuer logo, the names of the movements or the designs of the watches themselves, expect revolution not evolution.
It also marks a change in philosophy on in-house movements. The old plan was to migrate the majority of the chronograph collection across to the Calibre 1887, which is why in some cases you had two almost identical watches, one with an ETA/ Sellita and the other with the in-house Calibre 1887. TAG Heuer will now continue to buy movements from the likes of Sellita and Dubois Depraz, meaning that watches with the in-house movement must be differentiated and special enough to justify their additional cost.
Pricing and Availability: TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Reference CAR2A1Z
At this stage, all we know about the pricing of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer-01 is that it will be priced at “less than CHF 5000” (Swiss Francs), so about the same as the 41mm Carrera 1887 Chronograph- that’s a very sharp price given the use of titanium, the modular case, skeleton dial and an in-house movement. If TAG Heuer can deliver it’s new Heuer-01 watches to market at these sorts of prices, then the revolution may be far more accessible that we thought.
Read our exclusive first review of the Carrera Calibre Heuer-01 here