TAG Heuer has given us a parting gift from Baselworld 2018 with the launch of two China-only limited edition watches- a Carrera Heuer-01 and an Aquaracer- to mark the partnership with CLEP, which is the China Lunar Exploration Program. TAG Heuer first announced its support for CLEP back in 2016, but these are the first LE watches born from that partnership.
The Carrera Heuer 01 reminds us of the 2017 AIR-K5 Carrera from Japan and reinforces our view that the best looking Heuer 02 and 01 models look their best when they have a traditional dial rather than a skeletonized dial. Like the Carrera, the Aquaracer CLEP Edition is also 43mm with a black dial and matching black strap.
China’s Lunar Exploration Program
The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program began in 2004, focusing on developing a program that orbit, land and return to earth. In 2007, China’s first lunar probe Chang’e-1 was successfully launched and was first lunar probe to transmit back to earth a detailed 3-D map of the lunar surface. The next phase commenced in 2008 when the Chang’e-2 and Chang’e-3 lunar probes were successfully launched.
The current phase of the project began in 2014, with the objective of being achieved by 2019. In this phase, CLEP aims to launch the Chang’e-5 mission in 2019, with the objective of landing on the Moon’s surface and collect samples before returning safely to earth.
The CLEP objectives are ambitious and would mean the first automatic collection of samples, the first take-off from lunar surface, the first unmanned space docking from the orbit of moon and the first return of lunar soils in the speed of second cosmic velocity.
Carrera Heuer-01 43mm CLEP Edition CAR201J
The first of the CLEP watches is this 43mm steel Carrera Heuer 01, which draws its inspiration from the dark side of the moon, explaining the “all black” styling. All the metal surfaces on the dial are black gold-plated to confirm the stealthy look. In fact, the only flashes of colour are the red touches on the hands, dial and upper chronograph pusher and the yellow ring on the bottom pusher, denoting the red and yellow colours of China.
The dial is something quite special, with a dark anthracite sand-blasted dial that has a meteorite-style finish.
At the back of the watch is a sapphire case-back with a decorated crystal featuring the TAG Heuer logo and the CLEP logo. Also featured is each watch’s limited edition number.
Aquaracer Calibre 5 43mm CLEP Edition WAY201J
The second watch is a 43mm steel Aquaracer with the Calibre 5 Automatic movement. The watch features a black opaline dial with an image of the Moon at 9 o’clock, a design also carried on the crown.
The Aquaracer has a black ceramic bezel and black lume on the hands and hour-markers.
The steel caseback also carries the CLEP design in the place of the regular divers helmet that is the signature of the Aquaracer range.
Price and Availability
The Carrera Heuer-01 CLEP is a limited edition of 100 watches, while we understand that the Aquaracer will be available in larger numbers and comes without an LE number. The two watches are only available in China from the JD TAG Heuer online flagship store. The watches go on sale today.