Last Updated on February 23, 2021 by Calibre 11
The successful TAG Heuer Carrera “Glassbox” series continues with the launch of the watch that Heuer collectors have been wanting for years- a re-edition of the Carrera “Dato” 45. While the hallmark of the vintage Carrera is simplicity and balance, the Dato 45 turns these values on their head, instead featuring an asymmetrical dial with a single large chronograph register and, of course, a date function. While having the date on your watch is common place today, that wasn’t the case back in the 1960s, with the Carrera Dato being one of early chronographs with the feature.
Think you like the look of the Dato re-edition? It’s a limited edition of 250 pieces made in conjunction with the team from Hodinkee, two facts that mean you will have to be quick if you want one- expect this to sell out in minutes. Hopefully, the watches find their way to collectors who will wear and love them, rather than those who will look to flip the Dato at a significant premium. We can only hope.
The Inspiration- Heuer Carrera Ref. 3147N
You can see from the photo above how close the Hodinkee Dato is to the original- the 1968 Heuer Carrera Dato 45, which was powered by the Landeron 189 hand wound chronograph movement and offered a 45 minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock.
As you can see from the 1968 Catalogue above, there were two dial choices- the standard white dial (3147S) and the 3147N (Noir= Black) with a black dial, with both options featuring a white chapter ring.
Placing the date at 9 o’clock was Jack Heuer’s second attempt to perfect the layout of the date feature, as the first generation Dato 45 (below) had the date at 12 o’clock, leaving room for two chronograph registers.
TAG Heuer Carrera Dato Limited Edition
To get the inside word on the newest Carrera, we spoke with Hodinkee’s Special Projects Manager, Cara Barrett.
Calibre 11- The Dato was an inspired choice. A common comment from vintage watch buyers when they look at new re-editions is “I wish they didn’t add a date”- but you’ve picked a watch where the date function is the hero feature. What is it about date windows that get collectors so fired up?
Cara Barrett– Yes, we often hear that sentiment at Hodinkee. Oftentimes, we find ourselves in the same camp. But with this new limited edition, it is different. The date window is such an iconic element of the ‘Dato 45’. And when thinking about this modern interpretation, we could not take away something that made the watch what it is. This is actually a great example of when a date window is done well, it can be a great feature.
C11– You had two choices for the Carrera Dato and chose the second vintage execution with the date at 9 o’clock- what was it about this design that you loved?
CB– We really liked the asymmetrical dial of the second generation and how the overall composition of the dial felt. It was a unique proposition to put a calendar window in a chronograph, yet again one at the 9 o’clock position. Given that, and its place among chronograph enthusiasts, it felt like an ideal choice.
C11– The design is very faithful to the original, with the exception of choosing a black chapter ring instead of the white used on the original. What was the thinking here?
CB– The ‘Dato 45’ is a classic for a reason. When something is good, the idea is not how do we change it, but do we adjust it to make it more in-line for today’s enthusiasts. With this limited edition, we wanted to create an iteration of the classic, but with a modern sensibility. You can find those small details in the use of the black chapter ring, the 39mm stainless steel case, even the fresh new typeface used for the date window.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Carrera Dato uses the 39mm stainless steel “Glassbox” case first seen on the 2015 Carrera Telemeter. The case gets its name from the domed “Glassbox” Sapphire crystal, which gives the watch a vintage look similar to those domed plexi crystals from the 1960s.
All is present and correct with the case: yes, it’s 3mm larger than the 1960s original, but in today’s market a 39mm case is very much at the smaller end of the scale, but in our eyes perfect for a retro design.
The Crown pushers are a faithful reproduction of the original design, while the crown carries the Heuer shield.
The magic of the Dato happens at 3 and 9 o’clock, with an oversized 30 minute chronograph register at 3 o’clock and the framed date window sitting opposite at 9 o’clock. As we mentioned in our interview question to Cara, the 2021 Carrera Dato has a black chapter ring rather than white, and is likely to be the sole element of the design that is debated by collectors. We’d have preferred white, but nothing is lost by choosing black instead.
If you think that the dial looks familiar, that’s because it’s almost a mirror image of the Heuer Skipper launched back in 2017 by Hodinkee. While that watch uses the Calibre 18 movement, it has the same pushers, applied hour markers, date window and hour/ minute hands.
Movement and Caseback
The watch uses a modified version of TAG Heuer’s Heuer 02 in-house Calibre, featuring an 80 power reserve. The watch also carries the 160th Anniversary rotor that TAG Heuer fitted to several of the 2020 limited edition Carreras, likely an indicator that this watch was originally planned for a 2020 release, but most likely knocked into 2021 by the COVID-19 related changes to TAG Heuer’s launch schedule.
Pleasingly, the watches will be individually numbered on the caseback, which features subtle “Hodinkee” and “Limited Edition” inscriptions.
There’s only one strap choice for the Dato, a 19mm alligator strap that is the same strap fitted to the Silver 160th Carrera from last year. The strap has a deployant folding clasp with the Heuer logo.
Price and Availability
The 2021 TAG Heuer Carrera Dato Hodinkee Edition is a limited edition of 250 watches, of which 125 are available from Hodinkee’s website and 125 from TAG Heuer authorised dealers in the US and Japan. Price? US$7,250, which is $500 more than the 2020 Silver and Montreal editions with the same case and movement.
The watch goes on sale from 8am New York time on the 23rd, in other words, about an hour after this article was first published.
We love the Carrera Glassbox series, and the new Dato is no exception, thanks to its near-perfect reproduction of the original design and the use of TAG Heuer’s flagship movement. It’s a watch that will please both Heuer and TAG Heuer collectors, as well as those new to the brand who are looking for classic 1960s style.