Last Updated on January 20, 2020 by Calibre 11
TAG Heuer has kicked off the new decade by bringing back one of its most storied watches of the past with the 2020 Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition. Based on the Heuer Carrera 2447S of the early 1960s, the newcomer is in essence a silver-dial companion watch to the black-dial Carrera Fujiwara Edition from 2018, with the pair sharing the same movement and 39mm steel case.
TAG Heuer has indicated that the Carrera line will be a key focus in 2020, meaning we can expect to see more new watches, which we understand will cover the design spectrum from the classic/ heritage to the more modern skeleton models.
The Heuer Carrera 2447S was one of the first 1963 Carrera models offered, combining an eggshell white (initially) dial with the Valjoux 72 movement. In many ways, the 2447S and the black-dial 2447N are the purest Carreras thanks to their simple, highly legible dials- no panda/ reverse panda colours, no tachy scale or decimal scale, just a minimalist single colour dial with minute markers on an inner flange and clear applied steel hour markers.
As time went on, the eggshell white was replaced by a crisper white and then eventually Silver, but the beautiful simplicity of this reference remained constant until it was replaced by the second generation Carrera series in 1969.
1996 Carrera Re-edition
The Silver dial 3-register Carrera was one of the first re-edition models launched by TAG Heuer back in 1996 as the famous Carrera name was revived. Based on the Carrera 2447D, the CS3110 Carrera features a flat silver dial, but this time with blue outer markings.
These beautiful watches have become classics in their own right, combining the original 36mm case dimension with a lovely hand-wound Lemania movement.
More recently, TAG Heuer has released several watches in what we’ll call the “Glassbox” series, on account of the domed sapphire crystal on these watches, which TAG Heuer refers to as a Glassbox.
Starting with the 2015 Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter, the series uses a 39mm case (same basic dimensions, but changed internally to accomodate different movements) with cylindrical pushers , Heuer branding and a clear caseback. That same case and movement combination was used for the 2017 Skipper, albeit a modified version of the Calibre 18.
The 2018 Fragment/ Fujiwara Carrera managed to accomodate three registers on the small dial and was the first of the series to feature TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 movement.
Carrera 160 Years Silver Design
The signature design aspect of the 160 Years Carrera is the silver dial, which has a fantastic starburst finish. While the Telemeter shade of silver had a warm almost golden hue, this time we have a traditional cold grey/ blue silver. This is combined with faceted steel hour and minute hands, while the sub-dial hands and central chronograph hand are black. The rest of the dial is kept to a minimum- no “Heuer 02” markings, just the “Swiss” text, the same as the original.
You can see from the comparison below how much simpler the new dial is compared to the Fragment Carrera (a watch that we love). TAG Heuer has made the sub-dials slightly smaller, allowing space for hour indexes to be fitted. The result is spot-on, not looking cramped, yet with all the details of the original present.
The only aspect of the dial that isn’t perfect in our book is the use of the “aged”/ beige lume on the hour plots and hands. This is a design flourish employed by many Swiss brands at the moment, to mimic the change in colour that 1960s lume used to go through as the dial aged- from crisp white to beige. This “fake ageing” isn’t needed and detracts from the honesty of the design. Hopefully this is one design trend that won’t last.
The caseback features a sapphire crystal which shows off the newly designed rotor that we assume will be used to denote the 2020 collection. Just as with the 50th Anniversary Monaco series, the watches are marked as “One of 1860” rather than being an individually numbered limited edition- like most collectors, we’d rather an individual number, even if its more work and cost.
Overall, the design of the new Carrera is pretty much perfect- and how could it not be when it is a faithful re-edition of the original design, which itself is flawless. Even taking into account our comment on the lume colour, this is perhaps the most note-perfect reproduction of a historic Heuer model since the Silverstone Calibre 11 Re-edition back in 2010.
Price and Availability- TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition Ref. CBK221B
The 2020 TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Heuer 02 is a limited edition of 1,860 watches, which will be available broadly from TAG Heuer boutiques and Authorised Dealers. While still a limited edition, it’s great to see a relatively large number of pieces available, at least compared to the 100 edition runs of the 2019 50th Anniversary Monaco series.
Prices reflect the limited edition status and in-house movement and are as follows:
- Switzerland- CHF 6,300
- Europe- €5,850
- UK- £5,250
- US- $6,450
To put that price into context, the 2018 Fujiwara was priced at US$8,100, so from that perspective it’s good value. The Skeleton Carrera Heuer 02 GMT is a very different style, and priced at US$6,150 on a steel bracelet. So again, the price stacks up from that perspective too.
We understand that the watches will be available in June 2020 and look forward to getting our hands on one of the production watches for a full review.