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The new TAG Heuer Skipper is the first new Skipper from TAG Heuer since the early 1980s. The new watch is a collaboration between TAG Heuer and Hodinkee, a website that has long recognised the special place in the vintage market that Heuer commands.
The first watch in this series arrived in 1967 and was the only Skipper based on the Carrera, with later models based on the larger Autavia. The best way to think of the Skipper is this: if the Autavia and Carrera were born in pitlane, then the Skipper has its origin in the yacht club and on the water.
What made the Skipper different to the base Carrera/ Autavia was that instead of a traditional Chronograph with 30 or 45 minute counters at the 3 o’clock sub-dial, the Skipper variants instead show a 15-minute counter. These 15 minutes are divided into three coloured sections to allow the yacht’s skipper to keep track of the 15 minute countdown to the start of a race- that’s the magic of the Skipper.
If you like the look of the Skipper, then skip down to the end of this article for the link to where you can buy the watch- and you’ll need to move fast because only 125 watches have been made.
The watch is based on the stainless steel case of the Carrera Calibre 18 Glassbox Telemeter from 2015, a popular design that reintroduced a smaller 39mm Carrera case, a size TAG Heuer introduced with the 2002 Calibre 17 Carrera range. It’s a great choice for the watch, as the original Skipper was also based on a Carrera (as we’ll show you shortly), which had a 36mm case. Finishing the vintage look is the glassbox crystal, a scratch-resistant domed crystal which sits proud of the case.
It’s a design that stays true to the original- the shape of the indices, the sub-dial colour, the sub-dial and central hand and the dial itself all echo the 1967 design, even if the 15-minute (3 segments X 5 minutes) register of the original is replaced by a 30 minute register (3 X 10 minutes) on the new model.
The watch comes with two Nato straps (Orange and Grey) as well as a 19mm TAG Heuer blue rallye-style strap as offered on the heritage Calibre 17 Heuer Carrera range.
On the Wrist
The Calibre 18 movement is a movement specific TAG Heuer movement supplied by Dubois-Depraz, who add their DD 2223 module to a Sellita SW300 base. We first saw this movement in the TAG Heuer Link in 2013, with the Carrera Telemeter being the second model to get the two-register chronograph calibre.
Each watch is individually numbered with a subtle “Limited Edition for Hodinkee” script engraved on the rim of the sapphire caseback.
The Inspiration- Heuer Skipper 7754
The new Skipper is based on the very first model from 1967- the Skipper 7754, which was powered by a modified version of Valjoux’s 7730 movement.
The original Skipper had a, well, unusual colour scheme. We start with a starburst blue dial and a white outer chapter ring..so far, so normal. It’s the colours on the two sub-dials that mark out the first Skipper- a combination of Aqua green, orange and dark green. It shouldn’t work…but it does.
We told you in the introduction that later Skippers were based on the Autavia- those watches looked like this Heuer Skipper 15640 (below) from the mid-late 1970s.
Our history lesson doesn’t end there, because the new Skipper also draws on the look of the Carrera Dato 45, one of the first chronographs to feature a date function. This model has a single 45-minute sub-dial at 3 o’clock and a steel framed date at 9 o’clock- the opposite placement from what you’d normally expect.
So take two parts Skipper 7754, one part Carrera Dato 45…shake well and you have the 2017 Heuer Skipper.
Price and Availability- 2017 Heuer Skipper Calibre 18 CAR221B
If you want to pick up the 2017 Heuer Skipper, you’ll have to move fast- because as we told you in the introduction, there are only 125 watches being made. They go on sale from the Hodinkee Shop at 1pm New York time today- being the 21st of June.
The watch (with the three straps) is priced at US$5,900.
All Skipper Photos Courtesy Hodinkee