When reviewing the new Carrera Sports Chronograph family recently, we noted that the newcomer was not the first Carrera model to feature the shorter lug/ slimmer middle case design upgrades- that honour goes to the twin ceramic bezel Carreras- references CBM2110/ CBM2112.
The case of the heritage-style Carrera family is now so iconic that any design changes are typically measured in increments rather than large scale re-invention. Yes, there is the skeleton Heuer 02 branch of the family tree which pushes the boundaries further, but the case design of the heritage Carrera family is largely locked in.
So when we reference the Carrera Calibre 16 as featuring a “new” case design, it’s “new” within the context of a “new” Porsche 911- a millimetre less here, a surface re-profiling there. It’s not just the case that reflects a new approach, but also the dial. Yes, the dial is also instantly familiar, but there are a few changes that show the work of the new TAG Heuer product team- simpler, cleaner dials with fewer distraction.
There are two models in the Carrera Calibre 16 range- black or blue dial- both of which can be ordered with a stainless steel bracelet or a leather strap. We’ve got three of the four possible combinations here for this review, missing only the black leather strap (Ref. FC6454) option for the black dial.
As we pointed out in the introduction, this is another “all-new” Carrera built on evolution rather than revolution- just like the Carrera Sports Chronograph. These small changes do make a difference, and if nothing else is an acknowledgment from TAG Heuer that customers preferences for ever-increasing case dimensions does have its limits.
While the watch keeps the traditional Carrera silhouette, the dimensions of the case have changed. Compared to the similar Calibre 16 Carrera CBK2110, the newest 41mm model is 16.23mm thick as against 15.94mm thick, yet somehow appears slimmer.
This is because the construction of the case is different, with a slimmer middle section. This is most obvious when looking side-on at the case pushers is that the case back of the CBM Carrera is thicker, meaning the mid-section of the case has a slight cut-out section to accommodate the pushers.
The other change are the lugs, which are shorter than on traditional Carrera cases. If you removed the strap from a CBK Carrera and placed the watch down on a desk, the lugs will almost meet the desk- that’s not the case with the CBM, which sit a millimeter or two higher.
The other difference is that the fixed bezel now sits like a cap on top of the case, rather than being a ceramic insert that sits inside a steel fixed bezel.
TAG Heuer has always done wonderful blue dials, and this watch is no different, with a lovely deep blue in a sunray finish. We would have preferred to see red used as a contrasting colour rather than orange- Heuer’s traditional blue, white and red colour scheme is a classic, and somehow the orange doesn’t seem to work as well.
There are so such issues with the black dial model, which does use red highlights to good effect. While the dial appears to have a flat finish in many of these photos, it actually does have a sunray finish, albeit one that is not as noticeable as with the blue dial.
Another pleasing change to the dial is the removal of text printed on the dial- go back a few years ago and TAG Heuer couldn’t help themselves adding text noting water resistance, the Calibre reference and in some cases that the watch was a chronograph. Now we are back to simplicity- the TAG Heuer shield, the Carrera name and the fact that the watch is an automatic. Perfect.
CAM2110 Black Dial/ Black Bezel
The black dial watch, reference CAM2110, offers the same black and red colour scheme that has been a familiar part of the Carrera range for close to 20 years. This is our favourite of the range, offering sporty looks that will work well in the office, out of the office, or will even brighten your day if you are at home in COVID lockdown.
On the Wrist
And this is the spec that we’d choose for the black Carrera- the H-link steel bracelet. It’s not a new design (now 12 years old), but it is comfortable on the wrist and looks good, so there is no reason for TAG Heuer to replace the design.
CAM2111 Blue Dial/ Blue Bezel
The second model offers a blue dial, step away from previous years where TAG Heuer typically offered black, silver or anthracite dial options. Blue is the right choice for a sports-orientated series such as this one, but as we covered earlier, the orange highlights with blue is not our favorite combination.
On the Wrist
Here is the blue-dial Carrera on both the tan leather strap and the stainless steel H-Link bracelet.
Bracelet and Straps
Strap Ref. FC6455- Brown Calf Skin
Our comment on the Orange colour scheme on the blue dial watch extends to the bracelet- somehow brown and orange don’t work we as we wanted- a deep blue rubber lining inside the strap would work better. Alternatively, a blue leather strap with orange stitching and orange rubber lining.
The strap itself is a comfortable and good-looking calf-skin leather, with a sporty, perforated finish.
As previously noted, the black dial model also has the choice of a black leather calf strap with red stitching and a matching red rubber lining.
Bracelet Ref. BA0651
Of course, if the leather strap is not to your taste, you always have the option of TAG Heuer’s H-Link bracelet. This bracelet design goes back to 2008 when it was launched with the then-new Grand Carrera. It’s a classic design and a comfortable bracelet, so for many people will be the default choice.
Movement and Caseback
Since around 2010 TAG Heuer moved away from sapphire casebacks on most Calibre 16 Carrera models, instead offering this simple design with the TAG Heuer logo. The first iteration of this design featured an image of Juan Manuel Fangio, but today it simply features the TAG Heuer shield.
The Calibre 16 movement is supplied by Sellita as the SW500 and is a clone movement of the ubiquitous ETA/ Valjoux 7750.
Price and Availability
The Carrera Calibre 16 Ceramic bezel watches start at US$4,450 for the leather strap models, while adding the H-link bracelet adds $150, taking the price to US$4,600. The ceramic duo offer a more modest case case (41mm vs. 44mm) than the Heuer 02 Carrera Sports Chronograph, as well as a lower price (~$1000). If you’re in the market for a new Carrera, both models are highly worth of consideration and represent the next chapters in the story of TAG Heuer’s most important model.
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Ceramic Bezel Specifications (Ref. CBM2110, CBM2112)
|Model Name||TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Chronograph Ceramic Bezel|
|Year of Launch||2019|
|Production Type||Standard Production|
|Watch Reference Number||CBM2110- Black Dial; CMB2112- Blue Dial|
|Strap Reference Code||BA0651 (Bracelet)|
FC6455 (Brown Calf Skin)
FC6454 (Black Calf Skin)
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Movement||Calibre 16 (Sellita SW-500)|