There are not that many watches out there that have such a rich history as the Tag Heuer Carrera does. This iconic design has just turned 50 years and throughout time it has suffered numerous aesthetic and functional changes. But one thing has stayed the same- the fame and the exquisite design that define this much sought after timepiece.
The first Tag Heuer Carrera was introduced in 1963 before the public was interested in buying sports watches. At that time, in the United States there weren’t that many watch buyers interested in owning such a model. The Carrera was actually designed to serve as a stopwatch for race car drivers, but due to its very modern design and impressive functionality it has become one of the most popular and desired timepieces in the world of horology.
The Tag Heuer Carrera was constructed to be a highly legible and durable time keeping device. Its most important assets were waterproofness, shock resistance and anti-magnetic capabilities. The dial is very easy to read due to the easy on the eye layout, elegant markers that are well-distanced to help you read the chronograph accurately even when you are on the race track. At the beginning, the watch didn’t have the tachymeter scale, but some of the first versions featured the seconds and 1/5th seconds scale.
Watch collectors are very intrigued about the fascinating movement of the Tag Heuer Carrera which is a complex Tag Heuer Calibre 1887 in-house mechanism. This is actually the company’s basic in-house chronograph movement. It comes with a 50 hours power reserve, a 4 Hz balance and a full sized rotor. The Calibre 1887 supports a 30 minutes sub-dial, a seconds small dial, a 12 hours chronograph register and a small date window. Connoisseurs will love this- the watch uses a column wheel instead of a lesser clutch.
The latest and most innovating version is the Tag Heuer Carrera 1887 41 mm. Actually, the Carrera took the 1887 name addition in 2009 when the brand decided to use the Calibre 1887 in-house movement for powering this very popular design. Getting back to the 41 mm Carrera 1887, this is without a doubt the most similar to the classic Carreras. It is a nice attempt to bring us closer to the vintage look we love so much while positioning the watch in the entry-level price point of the Carrera line. Plus, the 41 mm case diameter looks beautifully on the wrist not just because of its more tempered size, but also because of its sleek profile, faceted lugs and thin bezel.
One of the most refined and stylish design touch of this model is represented by the highly polished case and silver dial markers. The overall look of the watch is more classy and sophisticated, making it the ideal choice for a casual, but smart office attire. Furthermore, the over-shiny markers improve the dials’ legibility.
The trademark dial color for the Tag Heuer Carrera 1887 is black. I find it to be the most versatile, handsome and stylish choice possible. Still, its real beauty lays in the style of the dial. The flat finish surface is beautifully complemented by the circular graining of the small dials and by the polished silver flange. Other details that accentuate the readability are the large metallic indexes, the seconds markers and the ¼ seconds hash marks between them. In concordance with the 4Hz movement balance, the watch has ¼th seconds markers instead of 1/5th seconds. There is also a tachymeter scale that lines the large dial flange, covered in matte black coating just as the rest of the dial.
On the dial there are the following complications- at 12 o’clock there is the 30-minutes sub-dial, at 6 o’clock there is the 12 hours chronograph and at 9 o’clock there is the seconds small dial. On the seconds chronograph there is also a discrete mark with the “Cal. 1887“. The date window is cleverly located into the hours sub-dial. The variations available for the Tag Heuer Carrera 41 mm are a white dial, a 18 k full rose gold case, and several strap and bracelet choices.
The Tag Heuer Carrera 41 mm is a pretty comfortable and modern watch. Even the lugs manage to look super stylish due to their angular appearance and curved details. The refined crocodile strap features an easy to use deployment clasp that helps the watch fit perfectly on the wrist.
The Tag Heuer Carrera 1887 is a very modern reinterpretation of a classic timepiece that has set the watchmaking standards pretty high over the years. It is everything you love at a contemporary sports watch. It is bold, sturdy and comfortable while offering impressive functionality and readability.