TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

Black Magic - The New Carrera Chronograph

Anthony Peacock

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TAG Heuer has launched another new version of its famed Carrera Chronograph, showcasing the iconic black and gold colours made famous by the Lotus Formula 1 team in the 1970s, which went on to become emblematic of motorsport as a whole.

Measuring in at 42mm, the Carrera Chronograph features a new 18K yellow gold case and is water resistant up to 100 metres, just in case you happen to fall into Monaco harbour while wearing it.

TAG HEUER CARRERA CHRONOGRAPH

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph - Image credit TAG Heuer.

We see very few new releases that are as redolent of motorsport and the 1970s as this one, lending yet another dimension to the already-versatile Carrera. Having been associated with racing for more than 50 years, the Carrera name is inextricably linked with both watchmaking and cars, so this new release is a proper event.

It's also a reminder of how far the Carrera has come, compared to the original model (named after the fearsome Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico) that was launched by Jack Heuer back in 1963, which had a relatively puny 36mm case. Very few things unite the two watches now, although like the original, you won’t find a tachymeter scale on the bezel of the newest Carrera: something that sets it apart from most chronographs of this ilk.

The latest Carrera is powered by TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph movement (first seen back in 2017) and has an 80-hour power reserve. At the heart of the watch is that incredible dial, which still manages to be instantly legible.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph - Image credit TAG Heuer.

Gold-plated subdials at three o’clock and nine o’clock are the notable features, not to mention the gold hour markers and traditional chronograph pushers – also in gold. Despite all that bling, it still hangs together nicely as more than just the sum of its parts. To borrow a phrase that’s used far too often in the automotive world, it already looks like a ‘modern classic’.

We’ve not been lucky enough to handle one in the metal yet. But at first glance from the photos, there’s something about this watch that is almost viscerally appealing. It’s certainly not subtle, but that doesn’t stop you from wanting one quite badly.

Maybe it’s the romance of the racing tradition that it embodies. The black and gold colours recall a time in motor racing history in which Lotus reigned supreme, winning the 1972 Formula 1 world championship in the hands of Brazil’s Emerson Fittipaldi, before adding a second crown in 1978 thanks to American Mario Andretti.

In the 1980s, future world champions Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna achieved podiums and victories aboard the JPS-liveried Lotus cars. And it’s Senna who this watch really pays tribute to, as he was a long-time TAG Heuer ambassador – taking his very first Grand Prix win at the wheel of a black and gold Lotus in 1986, in the torrential rain of Portugal. It was one of those moments that went on to define motorsport history.

So it’s no surprise that the latest TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph has adopted the very same instantly-recognisable colours. What’s perhaps a bit harder to stomach is the price tag. You’ll need the thick end of £18,000 to own one – which puts it firmly into racing driver territory, financially speaking. But here’s the thing: this is essentially more of a dress watch than a racing chronograph. So for the money, you’re basically getting two watches for the price of one. And that makes it an absolute bargain – or are we just talking man-logic now?

Anthony Peacock

About the Author: Anthony Peacock

About the Author: Anthony Peacock

I’m passionate about a lot of things but especially cars, food, wine, film – and watches. As a writer and PR consultant, I’m lucky enough to travel the world and find inspiration from all sorts of amazing places. Sometimes I’m on my own and sometimes with others, but my timepiece is my constant companion.

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