What a pleasure to feel TAG Heuer coming back to its roots: technically simple but highly cool watches with a clear racing-car orientation (see the new Nismo Limited Edition for Le Mans). The brand is sponsoring many events, pilots or races. This year, during the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, we had the chance to get our hands on special pieces dedicated to a racing legend, one of the previous ambassadors of the brand that makes his comeback (in fact, he was the first ambassador of the brand in 1988 and until 1993): Ayrton Senna. Here are the two editions of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Senna.
Don’t be confused by the shape of the case and the bracelet. This watch is really a Carrera. This Calibre 16 Senna Special Edition (available in two editions, one in stainless steel and one PVD Coated) uses a 44mm case with a more rounded shape that differs from the usual angular case of the Carrera – as you can see here, with the TAG Heuer Carrera NISMO Calibre 16 or even with the Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter). Here, no more straight and bevelled lugs but short and integrated ones instead. In fact, this Carrera uses the case of another watch from the actual collection, the Grand Carrera, meaning the modern and sport oriented range of watches. This could potentially means that the Grand Carrera collection could be merged with the normal Carrera collection in the future.
The same ‘deja-vu‘ feeling also comes when looking at the bracelet. In fact, as a tribute to Senna that used to wear the very first edition of the TAG Heuer Link, this special edition brings back the rounded bracelet with metallic links shaped in S. From my own experience, this is certainly one of the most comfortable bracelet ever – and a solid one too. Design-wise, it give a bit of retro coolness to this Senna Edition, even if some will found here a too obvious 1990s inspiration. The first edition of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Senna comes in satined stainless steel – combined with the bracelet (no other choice possible for the strap, due to the shaped and integrated end-links) – and with a grey and black dial. Several red accents enliven the dial, including red tips on the hands, on the indexes, on the crown and the red S signature (for Ayrton Senna) at 3.
The second edition comes in a full black theme. The same 44m case but in titanium (however without the integrated end-links) is here fully coated with titanium-carbide – including also the bezel, the crown, the pushers and the caseback. The dial is also fully dark but keeps the same red accents on the hands, indexes and Senna logos. This black edition of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Senna will be delivered on a black rubber strap with a tyre-like texture (no metallic bracelet available here).
This Senna Special Edition of the Carrera is based on the calibre 16, a well-known automatic integrated chronograph – as basically a Valjoux 7750 or one of its clones. This movement provides useful indications: a 30-minute counter at 12, a 12-hour counter at 6, a small second at 9 and a date at 3. It boasts 42 hours of power reserve and, considering its robust origin, it will do the job for ages and precisely.
These two-editions are nice tributes to the racing legend Senna and, just like the Nismo Limited Edition, confirms the new orientation wanted by the brand: cool, mechanically simple watches with affordable prices (the normal collection, excluding the rare limited editions that could be more complicated, will be price between 1.000 Euros and 5.000 Euros). The stainless steel edition on bracelet will be priced at 4.150 USD and the black-titanium edition will be priced at 4.600 USD. More details on: www.tagheuer.com.