Last Updated on November 21, 2020 by Calibre 11
Happy Birthday, Mr. Heuer. The Jack Heuer edition TAG Heuers are among the most collectible modern TAG Heuers, as they recognise the man who created much of what we understand today as TAG Heuer’s heritage. Jack Heuer was not the founder of Heuer- far from it, he is the great-grandson of founder Edouard Heuer- but he is responsible for the creation for the iconic models that we think about today as “vintage Heuers”.
If Jack had created just one of the Carrera, Autavia, Monaco, Silverstone or Camaro series, he would have been considered hugely influential to modern TAG Heuer. But Jack was the father of all of these watches, plus a lot more during a brilliant creative period that stretched from 1962 through to the difficult days of 1982. There can be no higher branding for a TAG Heuer watch than to be a “Jack Heuer Edition”.
And so, to mark Jack Heuer’s 88th birthday, we have the 2020 Jack Heuer Birthday Gold edition, a rose gold Carrera inspired by one of Jack’s favourite Heuers, the Gold Carrera 1158 (below left).
History of the Jack Heuer Edition Watches
The concept of a Jack Heuer- branded watch is very much a modern one- understandably, there were no Jack Heuer- edition Heuer watches, no doubt because then CEO Jack Heuer rationalised that his name was already on the dial.
The opportunity for Jack Heuer editions only arose when Jack returned to TAG Heuer in the early 2000s at the invitation of Jean-Christophe Babin, which coincided with TAG Heuer’s increased interest in the company’s heritage. The first mainstream Jack Heuer edition came in 2004, and still today it is one of the most collectible modern TAG Heuers.
2004 Carrera 40th Anniversary Jack Heuer Edition- Ref CV2117
Putting aside the technicality that the 40th Anniversary Carrera was actually launched during the 41st anniversary year (the Carrera having been launched in 1963, not 1964), the 2004 limited edition of 1964 watches is a modern classic. Powered by the Calibre 17 movement, the watch uses the 39mm Carrera case with a unique anthracite/ silver dial with a contrasting red central chronograph hand.
2012 Carrera Jack Heuer 80th Birthday Edition- Ref. CV2119
Speaking of modern classics, here is a second: The Jack Heuer 80th Birthday edition from 2012. Again using the Calibre 17 movement, the new design uses a 41mm stainless steel case. Jack Heuer’s signature in red is featured next to the Heuer family crest on the case back.
This design was so popular that it launched a series of similar designs in other colours, each of which is highly sought today.
2013 Carrera 1887 Jack Heuer Edition- Ref. CAR2C11
The Jack Heuer edition went radical in 2013, with TAG Heuer introducing a 45mm bullhead chronograph case, with the Calibre 1887 movement tilted on its side.
Again here we see the anthracite and red colour scheme, albeit in a very different case design.
2017 Autavia Jack Heuer Autavia 85th Birthday Edition- Ref. CBE2111
The most recent Jack Heuer watch is this 42mm Heuer Autavia 85th birthday edition– again with the Heuer shield and Jack Heuer signature on the caseback, but this time with a subdued starburst silver dial with black registers- no red this time.
Other Jack Heuer Editions
In addition to these mainstream releases, we have a few underground Jack Heuers- starting with this unique 1/ 1 Red Heuer Silverstone made in 2010, which featured Jack Heuer’s signature on the dial.
There is also this unusual LE of 350 from the early 2000s, reference CV2114. We say unusual, because this is almost the same watch as the standard production CV2113, with the exception being the tachy scale and the limited edition numbering and Jack Heuer signature on the caseback.
Another stealth Jack Heuer edition is this 39mm 18K Gold Carrera (WV5141), which also has an identical brother (WV5140), bar the Jack Heuer signature on the case back.
What’s New for 2020?
The 2020 edition is based on the recently released Carrera Elegant series, with the Heuer 02 inhouse movement. The case is Rose Gold (18K 5N) and instantly recognisable by the double Infinity loops above the 6 o’clock register- a feature that we’ll get to shortly.
The dial is a silver opaline, with applied rose gold-plated markers, logo and hands. Providing the contrast are two black/ anthracite sunray registers as 9 and 3 o’clock- and as with the other Carrera Elegant models, the 6 o’clock register with running seconds is the same colour as the dial and sits “on top” of the dial rather than “inside” a sub-dial.
To commemorate Jack Heuer’s 88th birthday, there is also an “88” on the dial (which will be very exciting for Chinese buyers, given the importance of “88 in Chinese culture), but cleverly the 88 is turned on its side as stylised infinity loops in the centre of the dial, symbolising Jack’s birthday and “recalling his infinitely precious legacy to the brand”.
As we’ve stated before, we’d rather the Carrera Elegant was a pure 2-register watch than 2-main-registers-with-a-subtle-third for simplicity, but we also understand that today’s watch buyers expect to see at least one watch hand moving, and so to remove the sweeping seconds hand would be a bold call, albeit one that TAG Heuer has done before.
Given the watch shares the case with Carrera Elegant series, it means the Jack Heuer 88 case comes in at 42mm, and with the newly profiled case which is slimmer than previous Calibre 16 and Calibre 1887 Carreras of the same diameter.
Some people will tell you that real sports watches don’t come in Gold, but we’ve long been a fan of the Gold Monaco and Monza from the early 2000s, as well as the Rose Gold Mikro-platform watches of the mid 2010s- especially with the white dial.
While the sapphire caseback is the same as other Carrera Elegant model- just in Gold rather than steel- the unique aspect when you flip the watch over is the rotor, which is engraved with Jack Heuer’s motto “Time never stops, why should we?” which is a nice link to the infinity loops on the dial.
Strap- Ref. FC8306
There’s only one tethering option for the Jack Heuer 88- a black alligator leather strap with black lining and an 18K 5N rose gold pin buckle. What makes this strap special is the gold Jack Heuer signature on the underside of the strap.
Price and Availability
The 2020 TAG Heuer Carrera Jack Heuer Birthday 88 Gold Limited Edition is available to pre-order from today (19 November), with delivery expected by the end of February 2021. There are only 188 watches being made, making this a very limited production run. Pleasingly, each watch is individually numbered, rather than a generic “1 of 188“.
Pricing is set at CHF 18,000, and while that price will give the usual TAG Heuer collectors sticker shock, it’s worth remembering that Rose Gold Carreras are always priced at a premium. The last comparable Carrera- 2012’s 41mm Carrera 1887 in Rose Gold– was priced at CHF 15,000 eight years ago, so in that light the price makes sense.
This is an ultra-premium Carrera with an equivalently small number of watches being made. Maybe not everyone likes Rose Gold sports watches, but there will no doubt be 187 lucky people who will love theirs- we assume that Jack already has 001/ 188 on his wrist. Happy Birthday, Mr. Heuer.