A few weeks back an especially rare TAG Heuer Carrera arrived at Calibre 11 HQ, almost 10 years after we first wrote about the watch: the Carrera Ennstal Classic Limited Edition from 2005.
The Ennstal Carrera features a classically sized 39mm steel case, black dial, custom leather strap, an automatic chronograph movement and was extremely hard to come by, with only 50 watches being made. And this is the same formula TAG Heuer used 13 years later on the Carrera Fragment Edition, the first heritage-style Carrera to use TAG Heuer’s latest in-house movement.
To see how different these two limited edition 39mm Carreras really are, we got them both together for a photo shoot and to test how much had changed in more than a decade when it comes to limited edition versions of TAG Heuer’s flagship series.
2005 TAG Carrera Ennstal Classic- Ref CV2118
Beginning in 2003, the Ennstal Classic is a 900 mile jaunt through the Austrian villages and countryside in classic cars that has attracted all the big names in world motorsport- Lauda, Fittipaldi, Berger and Stirling Moss.
TAG Heuer sponsored the event for three years, from 2003-2006, during which time Jack Heuer attended the event as he recounted in his autobiography:
Another unique event that year was the Ennstal Classic race in Austria. After a long and difficult two-day rally through the Austrian alps, this classic car event ended in a small village called Grobming in the Ennstal region of central Austria. The highlight of the last day was for all the cars to participate in a race around the village. TAG Heuer was the official sponsor and as Honorary Chairman I was invited to sit in one of those classic cars as a passenger. For safety reasons they decided to let me sit next to Gerhard Berger, at the time a Formula One racing driver.
Gerhard himself had driven on his motorcycle from Innsbruck to Ennstal and for the race I was placed in a lovely old Ferrari that had once won the Mille Miglia. Gerhard was driving at full speed on the long straight when we suddenly came across a chicane made of straw bales that had been erected in the middle of the road. Gerhard did not brake or take his foot off the accelerator, but with quick movements of the steering wheel simply manoeuvred the car past the obstacles while I closed my eyes.
This race was loved by owners of classic racing cars as they were allowed to go full pelt around the course. After the race there was a large reception at which all these enthusiasts could meet, talk shop and swap stories with their fellow racing car buffs. Marc Deckenbrock, the press officer of our German subsidiary, had arranged for me to meet Mario Andretti, the former Italian-American world champion racing driver
who had been invited by the organisers as guest of honour and had flown in from the US.
Mario and I arranged to recreate the photo shoot of 1975 when I presented him with the Heuer chronograph that we used to give all Ferrari’s official Formula One drivers.
The Times of my Life – JACK HEUER
Today, the Ennstal Classic is sponsored by Chopard watches, meaning an end to the TAG Heuer association.
The 2005 Ennstal Classic Carrera uses the same 39mm steel case as offered across the standard Carrera range of the time and the same case used on the 40th Anniversary Edition from 2004. Being from 2005 means that the watch uses the TAG Heuer logo, despite using the heritage design style.
Having launched the re-edition collections of the late 1990s as “Heuer” logo watches, the new LVMH management of the early 2000s scrapped this approach and used “TAG Heuer” logos across all heritage models, including the first Autavia re-edition, the Monaco range, the Targa Florio and of course the Carrera heritage-style watches.
The unique aspects of this watch are the two-register layout (the standard black-dial 39mm Carrera, Ref. CV2113, has three registers), the red segments on the 30-minute chronograph register and the red-stitching on the black leather strap. And because the watch only has two registers, the date window sits at 6 o’clock, rather than 4.30 as on the three register watches.
Those are not a huge number of changes over the standard model, but it all adds up to a distinctive Carrera model and one that looks fantastic to our eyes.
Putting the watch on is a reminder of the benefit of the smaller Carrera case. As much as we love the Carrera Re-editions, 36m is just too small for a modern watch- and at the other end, 43mm is too big. Cases between 39-41mm are just right, and our preference is definitely for the smaller case size for these heritage watches, with 41mm better suiting more contemporary designs.
The steel caseback has the Ennstal Classic logo, and an engraved Limited Edition number- in the case of the watch above, #44/ 50.
Meet the Family
2005 Carrera Calibre 17- CV2113 and CV2110
The base watch for the Ennstal Carrera was the Carrera CV2113 (above left). These are something of a hidden gem in the heritage Carrera range, with most focus falling on the 36mm Re-edition models. TAG Heuer updated this design for the 2005 year, increasing the case size to 39mm, adding the automatic ETA-supplied Calibre 17 movement and the TAG Heuer logo.
The family consisted of two models- the black dial watch with the Daytona-rings and the silver dial watch with matching silver registers.
2004 Ennstal Classic Monaco- Ref. CW2116
The 2005 Carrera is the second limited edition watch made for the Ennstal Classic, the first being the 2004 Monaco Calibre 17 (all photos above by www.chronollection.com). This Monaco is based on the “McQueen” CW2113, but with a black dial in place of the usual blue. Again at the back is the Ennstal Classic logo.
2006 Ennstal Classic Carrera- Ref. CV2018
The final limited edition Carrera made for the Ennstal Classic was this 2006 41mm model, featuring the Calibre 16 movement (photos by www.kaplans.se).
This watch is based on the CV2014 Carrera, but with a silver bezel rather than the standard black. And at the back of the watch- the first Carrera series to feature a crystal caseback- you’ll also find the red Ennstal Classic logo.
2018 TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Edition (REF. CBK221A)
The Fragment Carrera was a joint project with Japanese streetwear legend Hiroshi Fujiwara. Putting aside the Fragment logo and text on the dial, the watch is essentially a re-edition of the Carrera 2447N from the 1960s. Note that while the watch came standard on a high-gloss leather cuff, the watch is these photos uses the more conventional leather strap from the Carrera Telemeter.
2018 was the year of the collaboration at TAG Heuer, with limited edition watches produced with Bamford (Monaco), Hodinkee (Autavia), Watches of Switzerland Australia (Autavia), Calibre 11 (Autavia), Seddiqi UAE (Autavia), Harrods (Autavia) and this watch- the Fragment Carrera, a limited edition of 500 watches.
The watch uses the same case as the Calibre 18 Telemeter, meaning what TAG Heuer calls the “Glassbox” design, with a domed sapphire crystal.
This is the first time that the Calibre Heuer 02 has been used in a 39mm case, and you can see that it’s a tight squeeze- no room here for a date window, nor for the usual applied hour-markers. Instead, there are “aged” lume plots (small squares), with the same beige lume also used on the hands.
We love the Fragment Carrera. It was a limited edition of 500 watches, which seemed a little slow to move, almost certainly because of the price: US$8,100.
Meet the Family
Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter (Ref. CAR221A)
The Carrera Telemeter from 2015 was the first watch to offer the 39mm glassbox case, teaming the case with a Dubois Depraz-derived Calibre 18 two-register movement. The dial is a beautiful silver colour, with a slight “pie-pan” effect at the edge of the dial.
Skipper Calibre 18- (Ref. CAR221B)
The same 39mm glassbox case and movement combination was the basis for the 2017 Skipper limited edition from Hodinkee. The date window for the Skipper moved from the 6 o’clock position to 3 o’clock.
The Skipper is one of the better Carrera editions of the last few years, with a brilliant blue dial and unusual asymmetric dial.
Comparing the Carreras
Despite being separated by 13 years, the two watches are remarkably similar. The biggest difference between the look of the two watches is the thin steel external bezel that sits on top of the base case. On the Ennstal Carrera, this bezel about double the width (admittedly, that’s only a millimetre or two) of the thinner bezel on the Fragment Carrera. But this does make a large difference, as the bezel essentially disappears on the Fragment Carrera, yet remains prominent on the Ennstal watch. The two cases are similar- but they’re not the same.
The glassbox crystal has a more domed profile than the conventional crystal on the Ennstal Carrera, giving the watch a more vintage feel. The register designs are also quite different, with the Ennstal sub-dials being about half the size of the larger registers on Fujiwara’s Carrera.
In fact, if you go through the major differences between the watches- external bezel, crystal, sub-dials and movement, we’d score all three of these to the more modern Fragment watch. Whether you like the red highlights on the Ennstal watch is a personal choice, but both watches have their own character.
But there are a couple of things in favour of the 2005 Edition. Firstly, the Ennstal Carrera is 10-times rarer than the 500 LE Fragment Carrera and secondly, the Ennstal Carrera shown in these photos was purchased this year for less than US$2,000, less than a quarter of the price of the Fragment Carrera. OK, it uses an off-the-shelf ETA movement rather than the modern in-house Heuer 02, but that’s a big difference for two watches with a lot of things in common.
While the newer Carrera Fragment is a truly special watch, it is a reminder of just how good the mid-2000s series Calibre 17 Carreras are. Perhaps the combination of a modern TAG Heuer logo with a heritage style 39mm Carrera is what puts off some collectors, but when you realise that both the silver and black dial watches can be bought for less than US$2000 each, they do represent outstanding value.