The new Carrera Heuer-01 Rose Gold Chronograph (reference CAR2A5A) is the watch that fully demonstrates the thinking behind the next-generation Carrera design. Rather than being a traditional case made of only a couple of parts, the Carrera Heuer-01 is a modular design with 12 components, making it easy to launch new models by changing only a few components. The new Rose Gold Chronograph shares its titanium centre case with the standard model, but adds Rose Gold horns, crown and detailing on the dial to create a fresh model with a distinct look and feel.
We’re now starting to see the Carrera Heuer-01 develop from a single watch to a range of watches offering a broad variety of materials, including ceramic, titanium, steel and gold. In addition, we now have a smaller, more conventional 43mm model. This is the future of the Carrera, and for the time being, TAG Heuer’s Calibre Heuer-01/ Calibre 1887 movement is reserved exclusively for the new range.The new Carrera Heuer-01 we liked the most at Baselworld 2016 was Rose Gold and Titanium Carrera Heuer-01 you see here. TAG Heuer has long offered its high-end models in a combination of Black and Gold- think the Mikrograph Avant Garde, the MikroTourbillonS and the Monaco V4, which makes sense given the sporty nature of the brand. While Gold is traditionally a metal better suited to a dress watch, combining Gold with a more “modern” material such as titanium keeps the watch in the sports watch market while offering a more luxurious and high-end feel. And it looks great too.
Passing judgement on watches that you see at Baselworld is always dangerous. Typically, there is a slot of less than 30 minutes to take photos of 30 watches, meaning you don’t really get the chance for more than a cursory glance and gut feel. So, we’ve grabbed the chance to get our hands on the Rose Gold Carrera for a little quality time to see whether the glow of that initial Basel reaction is still as strong.
The Carrera Heuer-01 from Every Angle
The newest Carrera uses the same titanium 45mm centre case and double anti-reflective sapphire crystal as the original Heuer-01 but with the following changes:
- 18K 5N Rose Gold lugs
- Titanium-carbide coated pushers
- 18K 5N Rose Gold Crown
- Rose Gold plated hands and hour-markers
- Rose Gold plated TAG Heuer logo
- Black register rings
The only strap option available is the black rubber strap offered as standard across the Carrera Heuer-01 range. While this strap has the same appearance as that offered on the Connected smartwatch, it uses a softer, more luxurious rubber and feels fantastic.
The changes give the watch an up-market look- we love how the selective uses of red detailing (tips of the central second hand, 12 and 6 o’clock sub-dial hands and the word “Automatic” on the dial gives the watch a sporty look without going overboard.
The Dial Up Close
The signature design element of the 45mm Carrera Heuer-01 is its Skeleton dial- and as we’ve said before, you’re either a fan of these dials or you aren’t. While we fall into the later camp, the black-rather than silver- dial furniture does look great, with the Rose Gold highlights working really well against a black background. We felt the same way about the Rose Gold V4 as compared to the platinum V4- somehow the skeleton dials look better in Black and Gold.Keeping with the darker colour scheme, the hour-markers and hands use a dark grey lume rather than the traditional white. One feature that doesn’t stand out as well as we’d like is the date window at 3.30. TAG Heuer redesigned the original prototype to add a white background to the date wheel, but still we find that it gets lost at times on the complex dial.
Case Back and Movement- Calibre Heuer-01
Powering the Rose Gold Carrera is the Calibre Heuer-01, the new name for the TAG Heuer-manufactured Calibre 1887. The movement and in fact the entire titanium central case is the same as the original Heuer-01 Carrera. That means a movement with a balance frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and a 50-hour power reserve- or 40 hours of chronograph use.
On the Wrist
In theory the Rose Gold Carrera is heavier than the standard model with its steel lugs, but we didn’t notice any difference on the wrist. The benefit of the titanium end-pieces is that the rubber bracelet has a snug fit to the wrist and prevents the watch from moving around. It is a large watch at 45mm and while we didn’t try it out with a dress-shirt, it’s likely to be a challenge to fit this one nicely under a cuff-linked shirt sleeve.
Price and Availability- Carrera Heuer-01 Rose Gold & Titanium CAR2A5A
The 2016 TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Rose Gold is priced at USD9,500 in the US and €8,550 in Europe. That’s a very sharp price for a Rose Gold watch, explained by the fact that the centre case is made from titanium rather than Gold. By comparison, the Titanium and Steel model is USD5,200.
The watch is already on sale now from TAG Heuer’s online store and also available at authorised dealers. Note that the same watch is also available with a Rose Gold bezel (reference CAR2A5B) priced at USD12,700- yes, the addition of a solid gold bezel adds $3,200 to the price.
Spending more time with the Rose Gold & Titanium Carrera Heuer-01 showed why the newcomer is our favourite of the 45mm Heuer-01 range. The Black and Gold combination lifts the watch above look of the usual steel case brigade and means that the watch feels and looks special. If this watch cost 50% more than its sub-$10k price point, it would still stand out in the market as offering a lot of watch for a competitive price. But at $9,500, nothing can touch it.
The Carrera Heuer-01 is not a watch you choose because you don’t want your watch to be noticed- it’s a bold, modern design and if that’s the direction you want to go, then we say go all the way and choose the Gold & Titanium combination.
- The Skeleton dial seems works better with this colour combination than the standard model
- High-end sport looks with a touch of luxury- this is not your father’s Carrera.
- The price premium over the titanium/ steel combo is just over $4000, which is pretty good in our view
- We’d reserve the flashes of Red for the Chronograph hand and “Automatic” text only- meaning we’d drop the Red from 12 and 6 o’clock sub-dial hands and the top chronograph pusher
- The date window gets a little lost on the dial- we’d delete it altogether
- Yes, it would add to the cost, but we’d choose a solid Gold rotor on the Heuer-01 movement ahead of a solid gold bezel