Affordable Alternatives to the TAG Heuer Carrera
 

Affordable Alternatives to the TAG Heuer Carrera

4 min read
Charlotte Harris

Brands

TAG Heuer

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Charlotte Harris

Brands

TAG Heuer

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Over the past sixty years, the TAG Heuer Carrera has cemented itself as one of the best known Swiss made racing watches. It was first introduced in 1963 by the great grandson of the company’s founder, Jack Heuer, named after the legendary Carrera Panamericana car race in Mexico.  

As its name suggests, the Carrera has a strong connection to the world of motorsport and is highly regarded for its elegant yet sporty aesthetic that focuses largely on functionality and legibility. The sleek, minimalistic dials are commonly equipped with chronograph function, a complication allowing for the precise timekeeping of sporting events. In turn, these watches have been spotted on the wrists of many famous racing drivers over the years including legends like Mario Andretti and Max Verstappen. 

TAG Heuer CarreraTAG Heuer Carrera - Credit TAG Heuer

Today’s TAG Heuer Carrera collection has no shortage of fantastic designs, offering cases from 29mm to 44mm, dials with time-only or chronograph displays and several colour configurations to choose from. But even the most affordable examples sit around £3,000, and sadly not all of us have funds like this to spend on our next watch. 

So instead, we’ve compiled a list of 5 affordable alternatives to the TAG Heuer Carrera. We picked these watches because they share a similar purity in design, great build quality and of course, plenty of motorsport-inspired details. Hopefully at least one will quench your love of the racing chronograph without you needing to spend over budget… 

Certina DS-7 Chronograph 

Certina DS-7 ChronographCertina DS-7 Chronograph - Credit Certina

Certina doesn’t get enough attention in my opinion, but the Swatch Group-owned watchmaker has a really impressive collection of accessible timepieces including many dress watches, diver’s watches and lo and behold, racing chronographs. The Certina DS-7 Chronograph is a great alternative to the TAG Heuer Carrera. It boasts a very similar streamlined case and bracelet, a tachometric scale on the slim, fixed bezel and sporty chronograph complication on a range of dial colours. They offer high levels of precision thanks to Certina’s PrecidriveTM quartz movement housed inside the 41mm case, and retail from just £575. 

Geckota Chronotimer

Geckota ChronotimerGeckota Chronotimer - Credit WatchGecko

 
Regular price
£399.00
Regular price
Sale price
£399.00
Geckota Chronotimer Chronograph Watch Classic Panda
Regular price
£399.00
Regular price
Sale price
£399.00
Geckota Chronotimer Chronograph Watch Brown Fumé Dial
Regular price
£399.00
Regular price
Sale price
£399.00
Geckota Chronotimer Chronograph Watch Classic Reverse Panda

Some of the most highly sought after TAG Heuer Carrera’s are those from the 1960’s with highly domed sapphire crystal glass and retro dial layouts. If it’s retro you’re looking for, then we recommend a look at the Geckota Chronotimer. This line-up of racing chronographs delivers double domed sapphire crystal, brushed and polished 316L steel cases and reliable Miyota 6S21 quartz movements for just £399. The Chronotimer Panda is a personal favourite, electing a bright white dial and contrasting black counters for the chronograph complication. 

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph 

Seiko Prospex SpeedtimerSeiko Prospex Speedtimer - Credit Seiko

Another affordable chronograph with its own sporting heritage is the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer, and this one retails from just £590. Like the Carrera, the collection is inspired by a range of designs from the 1960’s that Seiko created as the official partner to several sporting events. They are undeniably sporty with sandblasted dials, 39mm wide stainless steel cases and tachymeter bezels. Inside is the Calibre V192, a solar-powered movement with a 24-hour indicator, time of day seconds hand, a 60 minute chronograph and power reserve function. That’s a lot of tech for under £600… 

Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Chrono 

Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto ChronoHamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Chrono - Credit Hamilton

If you’re dead set on a Swiss made racing chronograph with an automatic movement, then you’ll need to be prepared to spend a little more than those mentioned above, but for just over £2,000 you can enjoy the retro beauty that is the Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Chrono. This is one of the best Swiss made mechanical chronographs on the market in my opinion and shares a lot of similar attributes to the Carrera. Again, it’s a modern take on a 1960’s sports watch, boasting a 40mm wide steel case with prominent piston-shaped chronograph pushers, an internal tachymeter scale and chronograph dial. It’s also powered by the impressive H-31 automatic movement featuring a 60 hour power reserve. 

Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph 

Rado HyperChrome Automatic ChronographRado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph - Credit Rado

Finally, another Swiss alternative to the TAG Heuer Carrera is the Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph. Sleek and sporty, looking good as both a racing watch and a dress chronograph, this model arrives with a large 44mm wide stainless steel case, a high-tech ceramic tachymeter bezel, sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective treatment and a beautiful matte dial set with silvered hardware for the time, date and chronograph. This watch is the priciest in today’s list, retailing from £2,450 but keep in mind it does come with scratch resistant ceramic case elements and an automatic movement with a 62-hour power reserve.  

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Charlotte Harris

About the Author: Charlotte Harris

Writing and watches are two of my biggest passions in life so being able to unite them on a daily basis is a wonderful thing. I hope through my writing that I can bring a fresh, feminine perspective on the watch space and encourage more men and women to get excited about all that’s happening.

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