TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Review

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

When you imagine the speed, glamour, and danger of motorsports, the TAG Heuer brand isn’t far behind. From its beginnings as a tiny Swiss watch manufacturer, TAG Heuer has become one of the biggest, possibly even the biggest, names in motorsports watches.

With the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 44mm, TAG Heuer has revived its iconic line. The best of its motorsports heritage meets a sporty modern look in a crowd-pleasing watch. It’s hard to find fault with this one, so let’s dig in and see what makes it special.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

Overview

Over the decades TAG Heuer has made many timepieces inspired by the world of motorsports. The Carrera line is one of the popular and most enduring of their racetrack-inspired watches.

2018 saw the Carrera’s 55th anniversary. TAG Heuer celebrated by reintroducing the Carrera as the Carrera Calibre 16. This range hearks back to their beloved vintage driving watches, while adding a modern twist to make them perfect for today’s gentleman.

With its unique, masculine, bezel and dial, and the striking red touches of colour, the TAG Heuer Carrera 44mm is an unforgettable watch. It’s got a striking look, and under the hood you’ll find a powerful automatic Calibre 16 movement. Add the many little details that make it special, and this is a watch that serves modern functionality with a delightful vintage twist. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

History

TAG Heuer (then known as Heuer Watchmaking Inc) got its beginnings back in 1860 when Edouard Heuer, who was only 20 years old at the time, opened his first workshop in Saint Imier, Switzerland. Innovation started early, with Heuer inventing the oscillating pinion in 1887. 

Heuer patented the world’s first dashboard chronograph developed especially for automobiles, and the brand’s love affair with all things driving began. The Time of Trip let drivers see both the actual time, and the duration of their trip (for up to 12 hours.) 

By 1914, Heuer brought his first wrist chronograph to market. With its crown in the 12 o’clock position, this first model clearly showed its lineage of pocket and dashboard chronographs.

The story of the Carrera line begins in 1950 with the Carrera panamericana car race. This open road race in Mexico covered more than 3500 km, and was highly dangerous. The race was shut down after just five years.

But the high-octane speed and daring of the event appealed to Jack Heuer, who’d been head of the brand since 1962. He launched the Heuer Carrera ref. 2447 in 1963. Designed for drivers, the Carrera featured an uncluttered face with sub-dials, designed to be both readable and functional. The influence of motor car dials is obvious in the Carrera models even to this day, while the modern Carrera watches feature that same tachymeter strip that made the original model so useful to drivers in 1963. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

Appearance

We love the daring appearance of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 44mm. With its black ceramic bezel and stainless steel case, the TAG Heuer Carrera 44mm has a contemporary look. Yet it still calls to mind the vintage lines of a classic TAG Heuer. The stopwatch-style chronograph pushers and tachymeter scale on the bezel are a clear shoutout to Carrera models of bygone times.

The black dial lends this model gravitas, while the red accents keep it from getting too serious. You’ll notice vibrant splashes of red on the face, smaller hands, and pushers. The result puts us in mind of a high class sports car: Sleek, confident, and capable. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

This updated version of the Carrera features numerals rather than batons, and text written in an eye-catching new font.  The bezel tachymeter has clear, precise engraving. The case has angular detailing that adds a modern, manly, look to the heritage details.

Despite featuring three chronograph dials and a date window that includes both date and day, the dial is easily legible. The features are well balanced so although the dial is busy, it feels business-like rather than cluttered.

And all of this sits neatly on a perforated rubber strap. This little detail adds an extra sporty vibe, while also ensuring the watch is a flexible, comfortable wear.

The transparent back is a nice touch, letting you see that Calibre 16 movement at work.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

Features and Specs

The TAG Heuer Carrera 44mm is packed with features and specs that make it the ideal watch for almost any lifestyle.  Let’s take a look:

  • Powered by the TAG Heuer Calibre 16, which is a precision chronograph movement.
  • Water resistant to 100m so you can wear it on the beach, in the pool, or in the ocean.
  • 42 hour power reserve so even if you take it off for a day, it will still be running perfectly when you pick it up again.
  • Three chronograph dials including ¼ second, 12 hour counter, and 30 minute counter.
  • Date window that displays both the date and the day so it’s easy to read at a glance.
  • Sporty red highlights on the face, hands and pushers.
  • Luminous hands for ease of reading in water or under low light conditions
  • Tachymeter on the fixed bezel.
  • Black ceramic bezel paired with brushed and polished steel case with angular detailing and skeletal back.
  • Sporty perforated rubber strap for a comfortable wear. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

Wearability

This is a very wearable watch that’s surprisingly versatile for such a sporty line. It’s casual enough to look great by the pool, on the squash court, or during a relaxing weekend. Yet the deep black dial and motorsports-inspired chronograph features make it look formal enough to dress up a little too. The TAG Heuer Carrera 44m wouldn’t look out of place with business wear, or on a night out.

The overall look and feel of this watch is, simply, quality. The 44mm width means it’s got enough heft to feel like the solid, well-tooled, precision machine it is. The dial is complex enough to be interesting without compromising on readability.

As well as comfort and style, the TAG Heuer Carrera 44mm is built for convenience. The crown has deep fluting detail that makes it easy to grip. The luminous hands, clear numerals, and high contrast on the dial make the TAG Heuer 44mm easy to read in different light levels, so it’s ideal for night or day. And with waterproofness down to 100m, it’s versatile enough to take with you on vacation or to the pool.

If you already know you’re a fan of 44mm sized watches, this one is a good bet. If you tend to wear 42mm or 43mm, you might want to give this a go. It’s got weight and heft, but the shorter lugs lend it added comfort, and though it looks 44mm, it feels a little lighter.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

Cost

The TAG Heuer Carrera 44mm retails for £3,950 

Summary

This is a watch with a look that says heritage, while its precision features say modern, reliable chronograph.

The detailing on this watch is superb. Every element from the chronograph dials to the angular case details and the crisp numerals, speaks of quality. You can feel the influence of the brand’s long history of creating luxury timepieces.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 44mm makes us think of the squeal of tires and the thrill of leaving your rivals in the dust. It’s sporty, glamorous, and extremely practical with it. This is a watch of champions, whether your chosen sport is racing, business, or enjoying your leisure time.

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