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Nicholas Biebuyck, Heritage Director at TAG Heuer, On The Novelties for the LVMH Watch Week 2023

From the anniversary of an icon to a bold, modern take on a classic, we discuss the new models of the brand for early 2023.

| By Xavier Markl | 7 min read |
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition Panda Dial

With a personal passion for watches (especially sports chronographs from the 1960s and 1970s), cars, motorcycles and everything mechanical since a young age, Nicholas Biebuyck has been collecting watches the whole of his adult life. He worked in the auction industry for Christie’s and Bonhams before joining TAG Heuer as Heritage Director in 2021. On the occasion of the LVMH Watch Week 2023, we sat down with this regarded watch specialist to discover the latest TAG Heuer novelties, including the 60th Anniversary Carrera and the bold new take on the Monza.

Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – What are the main stories for TAG Heuer at the LVMH Watch Week?

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Nicholas Biebuyck, Heritage director at TAG Heuer – The thing to think about for the LVMH Watch Week this year is of course the Carrera’s 60th anniversary but there will be many chapters to this story along 2023. 

The LVMH Watch Week will be the kick-off point for this anniversary but also a platform to uplift a wider part of the collections and showcase TAG Heuer’s enduring avant-garde spirit. We are going to present new products for the Aquaracer collection, the Connected watch collection and the new Monza, which is kind of an ancillary collection for us, outside of the main pillars. It is really more of a comprehensive introduction to show how our focuses are going forward for the future.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition Panda Dial

So you are presenting this anniversary piece to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Carrera. What was the inspiration for the model?

Obviously, we had to reflect on the history of the model range. It would be very easy to look back at 1963 and the inception of the original Carrera. We have already paid homage to that piece with the 160th anniversary Carrera. So instead, we looked at what is considered to be among the most desirable references from the early Carrera history, the 2447SN – S for Silver and N for Noir, a kind of weird mix of English and French but this was Jack Heuer through and through. Today it is one of the most coveted vintage Carreras. And of course, it has this iconic high-contrast dial that makes it so distinctive. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition Panda Dial
Vintage vs. 60th anniversary

Personally, I have a great affection for these Panda dials. Many watches used this style; it was due to the fact that Singer, our neighbour in La Chaux-de-Fonds was doing the design and dial creation for many brands. Of course, we have retained the iconic Carrera lugs, the pusher and crown design, and the strap you can see is very much in the racing design of the 1960s and 1970s. Unusual for a modern production piece, it comes on a pin buckle which is much more authentic. The taper of the strap is different as well. Normally it would be 19mm and 18mm, here we have done 19mm and 16mm which is much closer to the original sensation when you wear it on the wrist. 

The main change is the case diameter, 39mm instead of 36mm. And inside, rather than the manual-wind Valjoux 72, we find the Heuer 02, our in-house automatic calibre. It is a nice blend of the modern and of the historic, paying our respects to the original Carrera while still making a thoroughly modern watch.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition Panda Dial

And as I said, this is just the beginning, we have major stories to come at Watches and Wonders that will be very much Carrera-focused and more exciting things for later in the year.

The approach is quite different with the new Monza. Can you explain your strategy with this model?

The contemporary Monza was launched about 20 years ago with the Zenith El Primero inside, and it became part of the classics collection, which had first arrived with the Carrera reissue in 1996 powered by the Lemania 1861 and then continued with the Monaco reissue in 1997. The Monza was launched to complete the tryptic. The interesting part is that it looks nothing like the original Monza. Back then they knew of the name. But of course, when the agency that was working on the design of this new watch went to research it, they had no access to the internet in its full form with pictures and everything. They found a picture of a cushion-shaped Heuer chronograph from the 1930s in a book. They thought it was interesting, using it without reflecting on the kind of Genta-esque C-shaped case of the original Monza. 

2023 TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer Carbon

With that in mind, when we talk about Monza, the name is that of the watch introduced in 1976 to commemorate Lauda’s championship win but its overall architecture is fundamentally different. There are two sides to it. There is one side that is not loyal to the original Monza, but on the other side, it gives us more creative freedom. And for that, it allows us to push this watch into a very different direction with a forged carbon case, this sapphire dial, this transparency towards the movement, the flyback chronometer-certified calibre, the textile strap, and the use of the colour codes. It is a contemporary watch; it takes the Monza in a new direction. And, of course, to a new price point. It is really interesting on your wrist. 

2023 TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer Carbon

This is the watch we have given to Christian Horner for Red Bull Racing’s 2022 Championship win. It really shows our connection to motorsport. Christian’s first watch was actually a Monza. So, it’s a nice continuation.

Continuing with Motorsport, you are presenting a new Porsche edition?

With the introduction of the relationship with Porsche in 2021, we created a very strong foundation for the collection. The first piece was presented with a 44-mm steel case, a tachymeter bezel with the Porsche name, and the asphalt finish to the dial. We continued it with a second chapter with a black and yellow production of 1,500 pieces. Based on the success of these models, we have moved on to this orange accent design. The case and dial finish are different from the previous generation. Here, it is more glossy, and more iridescent. We have the orange stitching on the strap, and the orange backing. It is a good continuation and reiteration of our relationship with Porsche.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing

The collection was revamped last year and you are also coming with new Aquaracers this year?

It is important to remember that the Aquaracer is the longest-continuously produced product family that we have today; it lives alongside the TAG Heuer Formula 1, the Carrera, the Monaco and then the Connected. 

The Aquaracer was introduced in 1978 with the reference 844 with its 6 rules of design and it has been around the longest. For me, the Solargraph blends a lot of the things that are key to the TAG Heuer identity today: this idea of a highly durable and dependable watch that would just keep on going. Through our partnership with La Joux-Perret, and of course, the innovation that they have from their parent company Citizen, what has been created in this TH50-00 movement is incredible: 6 months of battery life when it is locked in a drawer, you can pull the crown and get years of battery life in a power save mode, it restarts in seconds, it is a fascinating thing. I have been lucky enough to have been wearing one of these for more than 6 months now, it is really something you can live with all day every day and not be concerned about. It is just a spectacularly durable watch. And thinking that you can get all this for about 3,000 Swiss Francs represents these two core facets of the brand: innovation and a kind of egalitarian spirit. The fact that we can create products that are fantastically dependable at a price point achievable for a wide market. It is really a great watch to wear.

When you compare it to the watch we presented last year, it was in stainless steel black coated with SLN integrated into the carbon fibre bezel, on a rubber strap. This year, we have integrated more codes from the Aquaracer Professional 200 collection with this bezel in the same finish as the case. It comes in full titanium, on a titanium bracelet, it is very light and very easy to wear. These are two different watches, clearly sharing the same identity, I think addressing different parts of the market.

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3 responses

  1. Congratulations where they are due. TAG have done very well here – starting to awake and challenge preconceptions: The Carrera is an absolute beauty, simply one of the great watch designs, cleverly and sympathetically recreated. In an opposite aesthetic direction, the Monza is revitalised: again clever and innovative. I look forward to the gradual broadening of the production ranges to incorporate such design quality.

  2. The monza ? That is not a sexy watch, it could have been, but no. You can buy it at discount soon enough if you really want .

  3. I believe tag It’s a very good watch classic rugged elegant Accurate good for everyday or dressy I personally own 2 of them The formula one and the Indianapolis 500 which I love HD Neal AKA the Kronk

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