TAG Heuer has has chosen to celebrate the 160th anniversary of its creation in 1860 with the launch of a recreation of one of their most coveted watches: the 1964 Carrera ref. 2447S. A legend of the racetrack, the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition promises to provide modern technology in a thoroughly classical package.
If TAG Heuer is known for anything, it’s racing watches. From the early 20th century, their focus fell on timing equipment with the 1916 Mikrograph offering a 1/100 second chronograph and the 1911 Time of Trip presenting a dashboard clock. Later, Heuer pushed for success elsewhere with the chronometry for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and the launch of the now-iconic Autavia for road and air. In truth, even TAG, the company which took over Heuer in 1985 had previously worked on the TAG-Heuer engine used my McLaren’s Formula One cars.
The Original Heuer Carrera 2447S
However, the watch which Heuer has selected as a celebration of its undoubtedly illustrious history is one from the Carrera family — Heuer’s purest of racing chronographs. After considering the name of the iconic and regularly-lethal Carrera Panamericana, Jack Heuer released the Carrera in 1964 as a sports-racing chronograph.
Originally offered with both black and silver dials, the model recreated is the silver ref. 2447S — perhaps a wise choice considering the number of black-dialled chronographs available. The movement fitted within the original was the venerable Valjoux 72: the same manually wound chronograph with column wheel and lateral clutch as in the contemporary Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the original watch, looking past the beautiful lugs, is the dial. For this launch of the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years, Heuer have shown an original with a set of decimal markings on the dial in addition to the usual functions. This was only one of several complications available including a tachymetre and pulsometer whilst a more simple model showed simply the seconds. This is the model reborn in a modern form.
The TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver
The modern watch appears, at a glance, to be identical to the original. However, one first notices the difference from its size as a 39mm watch to the 36mm boasted by the original. Considering the 100 metre water resistance now offered and the larger, more complex movement, this is a very sensible size. The increase in size also enables the sub-dials to remain perfectly positioned on the dial: a choice which is extremely pleasing to the eye. Punctuating the cold sunburst silver of the dial itself, the Super Luminova on the hands and markers is aged but doesn’t appear in any way obtrusive.
With sharply bevelled markers and hands, this appears to a be a dial to rival the very best in the sector. The only major change made to the original was the placement of the running seconds at 6 o’clock in lieu of the hour counter on the original. However, Heuer have retained the placement of Arabic numerals on these to reduce the visual impact.
Inside the TAG Heuer Carrera Limited Edition
Standing proud, where used to be an acrylic crystal, is a box domed sapphire crystal yet the modernity ends not here. Where the design of the Carrera, with the exception of the logos, recreates the glory days of this brand, the internals are TAG Heuer of the future. Powering this automatic watch is the in-house TAG Heuer Calibre 02. Seen previously in the Autavia, this 33 jewel movement provides an 80-hour power reserve without sacrificing its 28,800 vph beat rate. Perhaps of greatest interest to collectors and enthusiasts alike, the Calibre 02 features both a column wheel and vertical clutch. These provide smoother pusher operation and a smoother chronograph engagement.
As a package, therefore, I think that TAG Heuer have shown seriously judicious consideration with the Carrera 160 Years. It is both a beautiful homage to the motorsports with which Heuer is inextricably linked and a depiction of the future of the brand. They have also recognised that their clientele contains a large portion of people interested in enjoying this momentous anniversary but for whom a 36mm watch would be too small. Of course, the price of CHF 6,300 (roughly £5,000) is steep yet, for a run of 1,860 pieces, it is far from unreasonable when compared to similar watches from Omega or IWC.
For the collector or the lover of vintage Heuer, this offering may well be a superb option due to its scarcity, mechanical quality and the wonderful story behind its creation.
Availability: 1,860 piece priced at CHF 6,300
- Dimensions: 39mm in diameter
- Material: Polished Stainless Steel
- Crystal: Box-domed Sapphire Crystal
- Dial: Sunburst silver base / Raised silver chapter ring / Sunken silver sub-dials with a concentric pattern / Brushed and polished faceted indices / Faceted and polished hands / Tan Super Luminova markers
- Water Resistance: 10 ATM / 100m
- Movement: TAG Heuer Automatic Calibre Heuer 02: 31mm x 6.95mm / 33 jewels / Automatic & manual winding / 80-hour power reserve / 4Hz, 8 ticks-per-second, 28,800 vph / Chronograph with column wheel & vertical clutch / Bespoke automatic winding rotor with 160th anniversary engraving