TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre CH80- First look

TAG Heuer has this morning released a pair of great retro-style Carreras that hark back to the 2447 Carrera of the 1960s- the 2014 TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre CH80.

CH80? Yes, that is the new name for TAG Heuer’s Calibre 1969. Given that the 1969 was launched only last November, you might wonder why the name of the Calibre has changed…and we’ll answer that question for you shortly.

But before we do, let’s take a closer look at the new “Panda” Carrera- starting with the watch that inspired the new duo- the Heuer Carrera 2447.

The Inspiration

My favourite of the 1960s Heuer Carrera is definitely the 3-register models, powered by the manual-wind Valjoux 72 movement. Yes, the case is small by today’s standards (36mm), but the 3-register 2447 Carrera is perhaps the cleanest and simplest expression of the Carrera design.

One variant of the 2447 Carrera were two models with contrasting sub-dials- known as the “Panda” dial (white dial with black registers) and “reverse Panda” (black dial with white registers). The examples below come from Abel Court, a specialist Heuer watchmaker well-known to regular Calibre 11 readers.

Heuer Carrera 2447 NST

The reverse Panda model shown above has the reference 2447 NST- the T marking out this model which has a tachymeter scale.

This example has beautifully aged lume on the hands and well-preserved lume dots sitting behind the metal hour-markers

Despite how pretty the Panda/ reverse Panda combo are, TAG Heuer has never done a re-edition of the colour-scheme, although we got close in the early 2000s with this Black Carrera that featured contrasting White “Daytona” rings.

Heuer Carrera 2447 SN

The second model flips around the colour scheme, with the reference number 2447SN- no tachy scale on this example

You can read more about these beautiful 1960s Carreras at our dedicated Carrera mini-site.

Design

  • Automatic movement (vs. manual-wind for the original)
  • 41mm steel case (36mm)
  • Red central chronograph hand (Black/ White)
  • Date-wheel at 4 o’clock (no date)
  • Red detailing on the crown (none)
  • Red-tip sub-dial hands (Black/ White)
  • Red pulsations scale (none)

The design works very well, although we’ll stick to the usual Calibre 11 comments about the tendency of TAG Heuer to add one extra flourish too many- in this case, there are one-two flashes of Red that could have been left on the cutting room floor- for example, a standard steel crown and no pulsation scale.

Calibre CH80

The news that TAG Heuer has dropped the name “Calibre 1969” is a surprise. Officially, TAG Heuer claim that “Calibre 1969” was a codename used for the development of the movement…although we know that the original codename was actually “Calibre 1888”.

So why the change? We hear that there are plans for other brands in the LVMH group to offer the movement, and it was felt that “Calibre 1969”- a reference to the year that Heuer introduced its Chronomatic Calibre 11 movement- was too closely linked to Heuer/ TAG Heuer, whereas “CH80” is a more universal name. “CH” stands for Chevenez, the town where the movement will be built, while “80” refers to the movement having an 80-hour power reserve.

In fact, the 80-hours represents an improvement on the Calibre 1969, which boasted a 70-hour power reserve at launch. We understand that TAG Heuer has made several changes and component upgrades to the newly named Calibre.

Ref CBA2110

The “reverse Panda” dial model is reference CBA2110 and is available on either the “H-shaped” steel bracelet offered on other Carrera models, or a Black leather Rallye- strap.

Wrist Shots

Ref CBA2111

If Panda dials are more your thing, then the White (officially Silver) dial model is Reference CBA2111

Wirst Shots

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Comparison with Carrera Calibre 17 Boutique Edition

We had a chance to put the Calibre 17 “Jack Heuer 81” Carrera alongside the new Carrera CH80. The cases are almost identical in terms of thickness- the new CH80 is below left in both photos.

And we were lucky enough to spend a few minutes with Jack Heuer to talk about the new Carrera range

Price and Availability

The good news is that the Carrera CH80 has a very competitive price. As we noted at the launch of the Carrera 1969, a price of more than EUR10,000 was a big price for a Carrera, even one with Gold and Titanium parts and a new in-house movements.

We understand that the new models will be priced at CHF5,200(Swiss Francs) in Switzerland, the same price as the Carrera Calibre 17 “Jack Heuer 81” , which feels like a great price considering the two watches offer a similar style, but the Calibre 17 features a standard ETA movement rather than the in-house Calibre CH80.

It’s important to note that there will likely be some changes from the watch that you see here before it goes on sale. We understand that the decision to show these Panda Carreras at Basel was taken quite late- the plan was to show a stainless steel version of the Carrera Calibre 1969. We’ve already seen a change in the crown design, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if there were some subtle changes to the red highlights, and perhaps to the case.

Live from Basel

Here is the first set of live photos from Basel.

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Vintage Heuer 2447 photos courtesy of Abel Court Heuer Time