What difference does 2mm make? That’s the question fans of TAG Heuer’s recognisable Carrera Heuer-01 Skeleton Manufacture Chronograph had earlier this year when the brand unveiled its latest iterations.
First launched at Baselworld in 2015, the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 replica watch piqued the interest of watch fans not just for its sturdy 45mm case and skeletonised dial, but for the fact that it was new boss Jean-Claude Biver’s first chance to show off his ‘vision’ for the brand. All the design hallmarks pointed to sport-infused, masculine timepieces – and a clear move towards the kind of butch, industrial, openworked designs that have done so well at Hublot, but here they come with an emphasis on affordability. To this end the watch was priced under 5,000 CHF and, at the time, was widely proclaimed as the world’s only 100 per cent manufacture chronograph with this type of value-for-money.
According to TAG, the watch “opened the doors to a new market,” so it is hardly surprising that the offer has been expanded just two short years later. The shift to a slightly smaller 43mm case size almost screams market research, especially as the price points and technical specifications are almost entirely the same. The introduction of six new colour combinations – centred on cognac brown, black and navy blue – could suggest that TAG is pushing its affordable chronograph towards a younger customer that wants to spend his first meaningful pay cheque in the right way.
All of this speculation shouldn’t draw attention away from the fact that the 43mm Carrera Heuer-01 is growing into a rather attractive looking watch. The polished ceramic tachymeter bezel looks particularly suave in ‘cognac’ brown with a matching brown leather strap, but the black version with a black rubber strap is equally tempting. The case is available in brushed steel or matte ceramic with a domed sapphire crystal, and a crown in rubber and steel or black PVD.
A sapphire crystal case back reveals the movement, including the red column wheel, the skeleton chronograph bridge and circular black PVD weight. From the dial side, the chronograph operating levers and the date disc are open-worked, with added splashes of red in a nod to the world of motor racing. The three sub-dials make use of red-lacquered hands, rhodium-plated rings and ceramic to create the signature Carrera-feel, while rhodium-plated hour and minute hands and indices in white SuperLuminova complete the overall look.
The 43mm Carrera Heuer-01 has a 50 hour power reserve and is water resistant to 100 metres. Prices remain comfortably under the £5,000 mark, with prices starting from £4,250 for the brown and blue colour options with leather straps, and the black variant with a stainless steel bracelet. When QP spoke to Mr Biver earlier this year, he said his plan for TAG Heuer was “60 per cent complete” so expect more iterations of the Heuer-01 in the near future as well.
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