We’re not even into December yet and Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer is already getting into the holiday season with the launch of two new year-inspired models.
A duo of TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 42mm watches have arrived in celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year. For 2024, it will be the Year of the Dragon, and in the spirit of this legendary creature, the chronographs are detailed with dragon-adorned case backs and bold shades of red associated with Chinese traditions.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is one of the most important traditional Chinese holidays. It marks the beginning of the lunar new year and is celebrated across East Asia and in various other communities around the world. The year 2024 marks the Year of the Dragon which is the Chinese zodiac associated with strength, power, and good fortune.
It’s not unusual for luxury watch brands to join in the festivities of the Chinese New Year. For 2023, which has been the Year of the Water Rabbit, we’ve seen watchmakers like Swatch, Ulysse Nardin, Chopard, Vacheron Constantin and of course TAG Heuer launch their own rabbit-inspired timepieces. For TAG however, they’re not typically in the business of creating métiers d'art dials to honour the zodiac sign. Instead, they typically place the animal on the case back and that appears be the case again with the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon Limited Editions.
The exhibition case back of both novelties provides an obstructed view of the automatic winding movement inside, partially blocked by the body of a dragon. The dragon is wonderfully detailed with a black body and gold scales and cleverly curls itself in the same direction as the oscillating rotor. There are also some other design features included on the Carrera Chronograph to mark the Chinese festivities. For starters, a calligraphic dragon character is added just above the small seconds counter on the dial and a gorgeous shade of deep red is used on the chronograph counters and alligator leather strap as a nod to traditional Chinese festival colours.
For the rest of the specs, the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon Limited Editions follow suit to the Carrera Chronographs launched as part of the brand’s 160th anniversary. These designs bring back some of the traditionalism of the original 1960’s Carreras, such as the negation of a tachymeter scale on the bezel, but combine them with plenty of modern materials and technologies.
The new limited editions come in stainless steel or 18ct rose gold and measure to 42mm wide and 14.3mm tall. At 2 and 4 o’clock, matching metal piston-style chronograph pushers are utilised for manipulating the chronograph and flank a large, knurled crown. The cases have polished finishing, bevelled sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective treatment and a 100 metre water resistant rating.
The dials of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon watches match their case. The steel model nominates a sunray-brushed silver dial while the rose gold reference has a sunray-brushed 18ct rose gold-plated display. Both deliver the reverse-panda look with contrasting red snailed counters for the 30 minutes and 12 hours while the small seconds is displayed using two simple horizontal lines and a silvered hand at 6 o’clock. The date window is cleverly integrated at below the seconds and the hours, minutes and markers are adorned in Superluminova. Flecks of deep red are also included on the chronograph seconds hand and lacquered onto the applied hour indexes.
Fuelling the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon Limited Edition watches is the familiar Heuer 02 automatic winding column-wheel and vertical clutch chronograph movement. It has as power reserve of 80 hours and beats at a frequency of 28,800vph. Completing the novelties is a red alligator leather strap with a folding buckle in their respective case material.
Each TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon watch is limited to 50 pieces and arrives in a special red gift box. The steel model retails at £5,500 while the 18ct rose gold model comes in at £19,650.
- Brand: TAG Heuer
- Model: Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon
- Price: £5,500 (Steel), £19,650 (Gold)
- Limited: 50 pieces each
- Material: Stainless steel or 18ct rose gold
- Movement: Calibre Heuer 02 automatic winding, column-wheel and vertical clutch chronograph
- Complications: Hours, minutes, chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counters, small seconds, date
- Dial: Silver sunray-brushed or 18ct rose gold-plated sunray-brushed
- Size: 42mm wide, 14.33mm thick
- Glass: Bevelled sapphire crystal
- Water Resistance: 100 metres
- Strap: Red alligator leather
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