Fans of the Carrera seeking a special model for the watch’s 55th anniversary have had many of their wishes fulfilled, with the launch today of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment edition, designed by the godfather of Japanese streetwear, Hiroshi Fujiwara.
The watch brings back the classic look of the 1963 Heuer Carrera 2447 NT, the second time that TAG Heuer has revisited this iconic design following the original Carrera re-edition of 1996.
What makes this Carrera special is that not only has TAG Heuer listened to the feedback for its heritage watches to be more, well heritage in their sizing (the new watch is 39mm), but we also have the flagship Heuer 02 Calibre powering the latest creation.
The case is based on the 39mm steel case of the Calibre 18 Telemeter, meaning it has a raised “glassbox” crystal and is rated to 100m water resistance.
Dial Up Close
The dial is a classic, highly legible 3-register layout, with three sunken sub-dials with a circular azurage pattern. It’s a tight squeeze to fit the 31mm Heuer 02 movement inside a 39mm steel case, which means that there isn’t enough room for traditional applied steel hour-markers, and instead we have beige lume plots.
The beige/ aged lume is also found on the hour and minute hands, completing the vintage look.
A white inner flange provides a nice visual contrast, with the classic tachymeter scale found on the outer-edge of the dial itself rather than the inner flange as offered on some heritage Carreras.
There are two Fragment/ Fujiwara elements on the dial- a small “Fragment” text at 4.30 on the dial and the twin lighting bolt Fragment logo at the 12 o’clock position.
Movement and Caseback
Inside the Fragment Carrera is TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 movement, featuring the Heuer logo on the mainplate and yellow text on the rotor. Note that unlike other Heuer 02 movements, the column wheel is a plain black rather than red.
The screw-down sapphire case back features the Fragment lightning bolt logo as well as a small “Fragment” text on the outer edge.
Who is Fragment?
Fragment Design is a Japanese street-wear company created by Hiroshi Fujiwara, a worldwide influencer in streetwear fashion culture.
Fujiwara has created limited edition designs for several brands, including Original Fake, Beats by Dre, Clarks and Nike. Speaking of Nike, fans of the US show Entourage may remember an early episode where Turtle sought a pair of limited edition Nike sneakers designer by the fictional artist “Fukijama”, which many believe was based on Hiroshi Fujiwara.
Fragment launched a limited edition Zenith El Primero earlier this year (below right), a collaboration with both Zenith and Bamford.
Re-Edition of a Re-edition?
One of our favourite modern TAG Heuers is the very first of the re-edition watches- the 1996 Heuer Carrera “1964 Re-edition” and you can see similarities in the two watches, which is not surprising given they are both based on the same Heuer 1960s design (we’ll come to that watch shortly).
Putting aside the strap, the key differences are:
- 36mm (1996) vs. 39mm (2018)
- Hand-wound vs. Automatic movement
- “Heuer” dial vs. “Heuer Carrera” dial
- Decimal scale vs. tachymeter scale
- Steel applied markers vs. square lume plots
- Plexiglass vs. Sapphire crystal
There was a later 39mm TAG Heuer Carrera with a Calibre 17 ETA-based movement, but the original Lemania CS3111 is a better comparison to the new model.
One point that might surprise you: when the first Carrera Re-edition came out, it paid homage to what was then a 33-year-old design. But that re-edition itself is now 22 years old, showing how the lines begin to blur between what we consider to be a “vintage” watch and what we still deem to be a modern watch. Can a re-edition ever be Vintage?
1963 Heuer Carrera 2447 NT
And speaking of that original design, here it is: the amazing 1963 Heuer Carrera 2447 NT, a 36mm steel chronograph with near-perfect legibility and style. Inside the Carrera is the legendary 3-register Valjoux 72 movement, with a two-register Valjoux 92 model also available (see below)
The similarities are obvious between the Fragment Carrera and the original, from the 3-register layout to the tachymeter scale on the dial. Indeed, other than the lack of applied hour-markers it’s hard to pick too many differences.
Price and Availability- Carrera Ref. CBK221A
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment is priced at:
- Switzerland: CHF 7,900
- United States: US$8,100
- United Kingdom: £ 6,600
The watch comes with two straps- the black alligator cuff-style strap and a black and grey NATO.
The price is one that will cause discussion- it’s a big step up from the similar Calibre 18 telemeter, which at its 2014 launch was priced at US$6100, albeit for a Sellita-based rather than in-house movement. That was a standard production model, rather than a limited edition, with the Fragment Carrera limited to 500 watches only available from TAG Heuer boutiques and from tagheuer.com
Given the sales success of limited run models and the involvement of Fujiwara (whose endorsement for some buyers will matter more than the watch’s famed Heuer heritage), we expect that all 500 will quickly sell out, but it does represent a new benchmark in TAG Heuer’s pricing strategy.