Earlier this year, we mentioned that 2020 will be the year of the Carrera for TAG Heuer, along with the celebration of the brand’s 160th anniversary. Kickstarting the Carrera line-up was the very attractive, vintage-inspired and minimalistic Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition, a winning combination of old-school look and modern mechanics. Following this edition, the brand is now releasing a second model, with the same base but multiple dial evolutions, some poached from another Heuer icon, the Montreal. Here’s the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition, which we were able to shoot right before its official launch.
The Carrera Silver Edition was a faithful reissue of the earliest of the Carrera watches, the 1963 Ref. 2447 and its simple, almost utilitarian look that was all about legibility of the chronograph indications. Jack Heuer was a fan of modern, clean design and this showed in the early Carrera watches. But we can’t reduce Heuer’s history to this unique watch. In fact, the brand has one of the most important collections of chronograph watches, including the Monaco, the Autavia, the Silverstone, the Monza, the Camaro… and the Montreal.
The Montreal is typical of Heuer’s production in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Featuring a large, bulky and radial-brushed cushion-shaped case, it had a far more colourful dial than those of the early 1960s watches. Bolder, more contrasted, it was equipped with the brand’s iconic Calibre 11 movement, the early automatic chronograph with a crown at 9 o’clock. To be even more precise, the watch you’re about to see takes inspiration from the Heuer Montreal reference 110503W, which launched in 1972 – and is photographed above – with its combination of a white dial with red, yellow and blue accents, as well as the use of coloured luminescent material.
The TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal
No surprises when seeing this new version of the Carrera. The base is well-known and has a clear retro, vintage-inspired feel. This is clearly visible in the dimensions of the watch, which remain very compact for a modern-day TAG Heuer – and we’re not complaining about that. However, even though the main difference with the Silver edition is the dial, this new ‘Montreal’ edition has a rather different feel on the wrist. While the Silver model was all about discretion and 1960s minimalism, this one is clearly a tribute to the funky 1970s.
To be clear, this model is not a re-edition. It isn’t a faithful recreation of an existing model. Instead, it combines elements of some of the most acclaimed vintage Heuer models in a single modernized piece. And although it is not entirely authentic, it is nevertheless quite a cool edition, to say the least.
With its 39mm diameter, the case is a smaller modern version of the Carrera case. No frills, no superfluous elements, the case is clean, well shaped and echoes that of the early Carrera watches, with its straight flanks, faceted lugs and a fixed, polished bezel framing a highly domed ‘box’ sapphire crystal. Same goes for the pushers and the crown, which are simple in design. But simple doesn’t mean attractive and desirable. In fact, this is one of the best modern TAG for this exact reason. Clean, yet recognizable.
On the wrist, the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal wears a bit larger than its specifications would suggest, mostly due to the sharp, elongated lugs. Don’t worry though, the watch remains compact and balanced, and smaller than most automatic Carreras currently in production – and than most modern automatic chronographs on the market too. The watch is secured to the wrist with a blue alligator strap with a steel folding clasp. I can easily picture it with an old-school, perforated Corfam strap…
The dial of this TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal is the main attraction here, swapping the monochromatic look for a colourful, bold attire with 1970s vibes. The base is matte white opaline and accentuated by an external blue track and blue sub-counters with azurage. Just like the 1972 Montreal above, it also incorporates touches of yellow – the coloured Super-LumiNova on the main hands, time sectors on the 30-minute recorder and luminous dots next to the applied, faceted hour markers. The red seconds hand consolidates the 1970s look.
Something rare enough to be mentioned here is that the dial is almost free of inscriptions, with the exception of the vintage Heuer logo and the Carrera mention at 12 o’clock, and a discreet ‘Swiss’ at 6 o’clock. There are no inscriptions regarding automatic, calibre name, depth rate or even a date window… The dial is pure and perfectly balanced with its 3-6-9 layout. And the colour combination… This certainly is a matter of taste, but subjectively, it really works in the metal.
If the design plays on the vintage trend, what’s inside the case is 21st century all the way. Just like the Silver edition, this Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition is powered by the in-house Calibre Heuer 02, a modern and powerful automatic integrated chronograph, with column wheel and vertical clutch architecture. This movement, which beats at 4Hz, can store up to 80 hours of power reserve. It is decorated with a special blackened rotor, with the ‘160 Years’ logo printed in white.
Price and availability
Just like the previous Silver edition, TAG Heuer has pulled off a very handsome vintage-inspired watch with this Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition (Ref. CBK221C.FC6488). The combination of Carrera and Montreal elements is well balanced and the look, even if it’s bold, is very attractive.
This edition will be limited to 1,000 pieces and presented in a special box. Deliveries are expected in July 2020. It will be priced at EUR 6,400, USD 6,750, CHF 6,600 or GBP 5,500. More details at www.tagheuer.com.