The Carrera, a pillar of TAG Heuer’s identity, turns 55 this year and is feted with a rush of Carrera models, including this racy 45mm Carrera Chronograph GMT fitted with the souped-up in-house Heuer 02 movement. Displaying the 3-6-9 chronograph configuration of the original Carrera, TAG Heuer steams ahead and embraces a contemporary skeletonised look to ensure the Carrera stays in the fast lane.
Globetrotters and GMTs
GMT watches are perennial favourites and turned up in all sorts of guises at Baselworld 2018, including Tudor and Rolex’ bold move to corner all price segments of the market with their respective Pepsi-bezel GMT models. Doing what the Carrera does best, TAG Heuer proposed a combo of its in-house chronograph movement topped with a GMT complication, marking a first for the brand. Brimming with brazen energy, fans of the original Carrera will be happy to note that the 45mm stainless steel case still boasts some identity traits of its ancestor with flat, faceted lugs and the original 3-6-9 chronograph layout on the dial.
A 24-hour GMT scale
By far one of the most useful functions for today’s globetrotters, a GMT or second time zone complication allows you to consult two time zones simultaneously. TAG Heuer’s new Carrera Heuer 02 GMT Chronograph comes with a cool two-tone ceramic bezel in blue and black engraved with a 24-hour scale. It’s impossible to avoid the comparison, so let’s get it out of the way and state the obvious: yes, the black and blue bezel will remind many of you of the Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Batman’ watch.
Given the complexity of the skeletonised dial, the red lacquered, arrow-tipped GMT hand is a welcome and highly visible presence allowing you to consult home time at a glance. Dipped in luminous material, the red hand is mounted between the hour and minute hands allowing it to skim over the indices and indicate the 24-hour track on the black and blue ceramic bezel. The polished steel and rubber crown, flanked on either side by the chronograph pushers, is used to set the GMT function and the solid case ensures water-resistance to depths of 100 metres.
A very detailed skeletonised dial
Although it took me a few minutes to digest, once I had got my bearings with all the information on the dial and understood what everything represented, I was able to appreciate why the revamped Carrera has become one of TAG’s best sellers. As you will remember, the skeletonised dial of the Carrera family made its debut back in 2015 following a major overhaul marked by Hublotian touches like the modular construction and naked dial. The overall effect is dynamic, contemporary and the use of colour is spot on.
Suspended on a black skeletonised bridge, the two silver (rhodium-plated and snailed) chronograph counters for the minutes and hours and the snailed blue (to match the bezel) small seconds counter conform to the classic Carrera 3-6-9 layout. What I did find intriguing was the incorporation of a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock coupled with the fact that if you look closely into the depths of the dial, you can see the ghostly date track lurking in the background. To read the watch in poor light conditions, the hands and rectangular hour markers are all treated with white SuperLumiNova.
A finely-tuned engine
As part of its 55th-anniversary gifts, the Carrera has been fitted with an upgraded engine. Entirely manufactured in-house, the Heuer 02 movement is an integrated automatic chronograph based on the original Calibre 1969/CH80 and featured on the TAG Heuer Heritage Autavia models. Composed of 168 parts, the chronograph is activated by a column wheel and a vertical clutch ensuring smoother and more accurate timings, and the movement displays a more classic and balanced 3-6-9 configuration for the counters. The open case back exposes the machine-finished movement with its black tungsten openwork rotor.