In October 2016 TAG Heuer launched a special edition Carrera in New York as a tribute to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. The Ali edition draws its inspiration from the 1957 Heuer Ring Master, a stopwatch that featured seven interchangeable rings to allow different sports to be timed. Twelve months later, in October 2017, a second Ali Edition was launched (WAR2A13), this time with a blue dial.
There are two models of the original 2016 Ali Carrera- a stainless steel edition of 750 pieces and a solid gold model. If you fancy the gold edition you’re too late- there was only one made and that watch was auctioned earlier tonight, with proceeds going to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Centre.
The easiest way to think of the new model is that it combines the timing functionality of the Ring Master with the design of the popular Carrera Driver Timer Calibre 5 that was launched at Baselworld 2014. And as we’ll show you shortly, the rotating inner-bezel of the Driver Timer plays an important part in offering flexibility in timing your next bout.
TAG Heuer Boxing Timer History
The Heuer Ring Master was a stop-watch released in 1957 with a series of interchangeable coloured rings. The idea was that each ring is designed for a specific sport, such as athletics and boxing, and therefore showing different increments of time.
Here’s the Ring Master in the 1959/ 60 Heuer Catalogue where it’s described as a “Multipurpose Timer”
The last time that we saw a boxing-focused watch from TAG Heuer was in 1985, when a special edition of the 510 Lemania series was launched- Reference 510.547. This is an incredibly rare version of the Lemania 5100 watches, with only a handful of examples known to exist.
A nice touch on the dial is the circular base of the seconds hand- the same design at the 1957 Ring Master.
The watch has two crowns- at 3 o’clock the usual crown for setting the time and at 10 o’clock a crown that rotates an internal bezel.
The caseback is engraved with an image of Muhammad Ali and his signature.
How it works
So what’s with the patterned colours on the dial? Heavyweight boxing bouts used to be 15 rounds of 3 minutes, with a one-minute break at the end of every round. This gives us 15 X 4 = 60 minutes on the dial. While bouts are now 12 rounds, TAG Heuer has kept the dial with the traditional layout.
The Calibre 5 Drive Timer (which this watch is based on) works by using the crown at 10 o’clock. You move the internal bezel until the red triangle is lined up with the minute hand. This tells you the time that you depart and so to work out how long your journey took, just read the time indicated by the internal bezel that lines up to the minute hand.
But on the new Ali Edition we have two sets of markings- one set in cream and a second in red..why?
The reason is because some amateur boxing and women’s boxing has two minute rounds instead of three- so this watch can do both. The markings in cream/ yellow have 2 minute segments with a one-minute break in black, while the red markings denote three minute rounds with a one-minute break also in black.
Carrera Ring Master Ali WAR2A13
2016 Carrera Ring Master Ali- Gold Edition 1/1 WAR2A40
To mark the launch of the new watch and in respect of the partnership and Ali’s legacy to fight Parkinson’s disease, TAG Heuer commissioned a single solid gold example (WAR2A40), which was auctioned in a exclusive 30 kg case, accompanied by a pair of gloves signed by Muhammad Ali along with a certificate of authenticity.
Here are some more photos of the watch and case that was auctioned today.
The Gold Carrera comes on a leather strap with gold-thread stitching and is a design that we’ve seen TAG Heuer use before on special edition watches- remember this one?
Price and Availability- 2016 Carrera WAR2A11
While the Gold Ali Carrera is already gone, you’ll be able to buy the stainless steel Carrera Ring Master Muhammad Ali Edition in the coming days (its already arrived in some countries) at a price of US$3,000 (or A$3,850 if you’re in Australia). We understand that the Carrera Muhammad Ali edition is limited to 750 pieces.
Since our initial post, we’ve had conflicting information on the status of the watch and whether it’s a numbered limited edition. While the information on the 750 pieces came from TAG Heuer, we’ve also heard that the watch has “ADIS” status, which means that it’s not a numbered limited edition, but it’s limited in that only those watches ordered by dealers will be made- and after that, no more. We’ll update this post as we learn more.