First Look: TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Gold

Continuing with the 2012 Basel TAG Heuer watches are a brace of Gold Carrera 1887 41mm Chronographs- two in 18k Rose Gold and one in Steel and Yellow Gold. The watches continue both the expansion of the Carrera 1887 range, and the tradition of the Carrera in Gold.

The increase in the number of Calibre 1887 Carreras reflects not only the popularity of the initial 1887 series, but also the increased availability of the 1887 movement as TAG Heuer ramps up production.

History of the TAG Heuer Gold Carrera

Regular readers will recall Mark Moss’ articles on the history of Heuer and TAG Heuer precious metal watches. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Carrera 1158CH (above) from the 1970s. When I interviewed Jack Heuer at Basel a couple of years ago, I asked him about his memories of this watch and its links with Ferrari and Formula 1:

“Yes, this of course is the one that I gave all of the Formula 1 drivers and it was engraved with the name on the back and the blood type- not sure if they all have the blood group, but some had.

One of the reasons that we put the name in the back was so that they wouldn’t re-sell it, because these drivers would change team- they didn’t stay very long with their team- let’s say they were two years with Ferrari and then he [Enzo Ferrari] threw them out and then another guy came, so over the nine years that we were with Ferrari we had 15 different Ferrari drivers and they all had the chronograph and interestingly enough it worked. Niki Lauda remembers his watch- it was stolen from somewhere in his garden, in his house.

When we relaunched the Carrera in 1996, some of the Formula 1 drivers came and they would all come with their gold chronographs to show me, so there is a lot of emotion to that.

One thing that I’ll never forget is that 5-6 years ago it was the Grand Prix of Monaco and Gilles Villeneuve’s son, Jacques, he had this big boat and he had his mother on the boat, and so he gave a little reception on the boat and we had to go up these stairs to get to the top deck where we had the reception and at the top of the stairs was his mother who received guests. When I was introduced to her, she said “You know that I still have the watch that you gave to my husband” and so you nearly cry, it’s so emotional to think that she cherishes this gold watch, so these are some of the memories…this is one of my favourite watches.”

While the watch with the “Champagne” dial (hence the “CH” suffix”) is the  best known version, the one that I prefer is the Carrera 1158S, which uses the same case, but with a white dial- just like the 2012 releases. The magnificent example above belongs to Heuer collector Gianvittorio Molteni, who has a blog dedicated to the Heuers of the 1970s.

There have been several other Carrera models in solid Gold over the last 20 years, including the elegant TAG Heuer Carrera re-edition from 1997

and this Carrera Chronometer from the mid-2000s.

Stainless Steel & Yellow Gold

The first of the new watches is the Stainless Steel and Gold Carrera (Ref. CAR2150), which- as the name implies- uses a combination of materials:

  • Base Case: Stainless Steel
  • Bezel: Solid Gold 18k
  • Push Buttons and Crown: Gold Plated
  • Hands & Hour markers: Gold Plated

The bi-metal combination has never been my favourite, but they are a popular style across several brands.

Rose Gold- White Dial

The Rose Gold Carrera 1887 is available with a choice of two dial colours. The pick of these is the White-dial version above (CAR2140), which has the same style as the Carrera 1158S of the 1970s. The case looks magnificent when combined with the white dial- sophisticated and timeless.

TAG Heuer now have a range of Rose Gold watches, from the Mikrograph, to the Monaco V4 and now the Carrera. I’ve always preferred Rose Gold to Yellow Gold and nothing changes here. It’s a great looking watch and my favourite of the Carrera 1887 range to date.

Rose Gold & Anthracite

As outlined in our Basel coverage, Anthracite is the TAG Heuer colour of 2012. The Gold and Anthracite Carrera 1887 (CAR2141) combines a Rose Gold case with an anthracite dial and leather strap to give a very different feel to the white-dial version.

Prices and Availability

The premium pricing of these watches won’t surprise anyone who has followed metal price over the last few years. CAR2150 will cost around CHF5800 in Switzerland when it arrives in the next few weeks, while CAR2140 and CAR2141 will arrive mid-year with a price of CHF15,000.

Live Photos

Many thanks to Abel Court for these live photos straight from Basel.

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Photos

Live photos: Abel Court

Lemania Carrera Re-edition: Enrico de Paoli