Earlier this year we told you about the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Full Black Matt Ceramic, which made its debut at the 2017 edition of the Geneva Watch Fair. Now that the madness of the first half of the year is starting to subside, we thought this a perfect time to come back and give this watch a proper hands-on review.
The first thing you notice when you strap the sizable case of the Carrera Heuer-01 Full Black Matt Ceramic to your wrist is just how light it feels. The second thing you notice is just how dark it looks. The reason why is the same for both; the 45mm matte black ceramic case. Arguably one of the most stealth looking watches produced by TAG Heuer, the matt black case absorbs all the light around it, which ironically makes the watch really pop on the wrist – even though there is effectively almost no contrasting color on the dial.
It’s not just the case that’s ceramic though. Just about every visible component is made from ceramic, with only the inner box section and the caseback being made from steel to maintain the integrity of the water resistance rating (100m). The push pieces for the chronograph meanwhile, as well as the crown, are made from black titanium carbide.
The result is a very dark-looking, skeletonized dial, with grey accents that contrast ever so slightly against the matte black background. In fact, the only thing that really stands out is the date window just below 3 o’clock, which has a white background. I’m not sure if it would have looked better with a black background and white numerals but maybe that wouldn’t have been legible enough?
Speaking of legibility, it’s not terrible on the Carrera Heuer-01 Full Black Matt Ceramic but then again, it’s not great either. The lack of contrast, combined with the skeletonized dial can make it difficult to read all the indications clearly and quickly, depending on the light, reflections, etc. That said, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s any less legible than other black-out watches with a similar design. Plus, it does look very distinctive on the wrist, if a bit bulky, depending on your physical stature. And while the modular case construction is somewhat reminiscent of a certain other Swiss watchmaker in the LVMH stable, the design and execution is still very much TAG Heuer.
As you would expect, the lay-out of the dial is consistent with the other Heuer-01 models, meaning central indication of time and small seconds on a sub-dial at 9 o’clock. There is a central seconds hand for the chronograph, and 12-hour and 30-min elapsed time counters at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock respectively, and of course the date just below 3 o’clock. All the hands, including those for the chronograph, are matte grey in color, offering some degree of contrast against the blackness of the dial. While this may not ideal in terms of legibility, I think aesthetically it works better than introducing something with stronger contrast (i.e. red) as this would have thrown off the whole look of the watch.
Inside is the in-house TAG caliber 01, a self-winding chronograph movement running at 28,800 vph for max power reserve of 50-hours. As well as being partially visible through the dial, the details of the movement can also be seen through the sapphire caseback. As you would expect it has a blacked-out rotor, although here we find a splash of color, with the words ‘Cal. Heuer 01 – Swiss Made’ written in contrasting red.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Full Black Matt Ceramic is offered on a matching ceramic bracelet, which completes the black-out look nicely and feels good on the wrist too. Price is set at 5,650 Euros (see the specs for price in other currencies), quite reasonable compared to the standard steel/rubber version, which is 4,750 Euros, especially given that you’re getting a hi-tech material in the ceramic.
Technical specifications of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Full Black Matt Ceramic
- Case: 45mm diameter – Modular ceramic (black and micro-blasted) case – sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the front and back – 100m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre Heuer-01, in house – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 50 hour power reserve – hours, minutes, small second, chronograph
- Bracelet: H-shaped ceramic bracelet. Folding buckle in steel, coated with black titanium carbide
- Reference: CAR2A91.BH0742
- Price: EUR 5,650 / GBP 5,000 / USD 6,300 / CHF 5,900