The link between TAG Heuer (and previously Heuer) and motor racing doesn’t need to be demonstrated anymore… From the creation of dashboard instruments to the Carrera chronograph, followed by an array of F1 or sports car-inspired watches (most named after famous race tracks), to end up with the brand’s current sponsorship of the Red Bull F1 team, motor racing made the brand what it is today. And for the latest edition of the legendary Carrera, things are not about to change. Meet the new TAG Heuer Carrera Indy 500 Special Edition.
The Indy 500
TAG Heuer has been the Official Timekeeper of the Indianapolis 500 since 2004. The annual race is one of the oldest in the world with the inaugural event held in 1911. Approximately 300,000 spectators watch the race live, which is considered the largest gathering for a sporting event. Nicknamed the Brickyard since the original track was built with over three million bricks (following an earlier gravel-and-tar surface that notoriously broke up and caused fatal accidents), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a 2.5-mile oval circuit now paved with modern asphalt.
Cars race for 500 miles, completing 200 laps counter-clockwise with speeds exceeding 200mph. The Indy 500 is part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, comprised of three of the most prestigious races in the world – Indy 500, Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. British racer Graham Hill is the only driver to ever win the Triple Crown (all three races). The debut of the new watch comes about a month before the 103rd Indy 500 race on May 26, 2019, and this year’s edition will be available worldwide (unlike previous years).
The brand has just released an automatic special edition chronograph to pay homage to this legendary race, so let’s take a closer look at the TAG Heuer Carrera Indy 500 Special Edition and its nod to racing history.
This latest commemorative piece is an aesthetically modified 41mm Carrera Calibre 16 Day-Date automatic chronograph with Indy 500 design cues. The 41mm 316L polished stainless steel case features a black ceramic fixed bezel tachymeter with INDY 500 printed in red at 1 o’clock (replacing a white TACHYMETRE on the standard model). A sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coatings covers the dial and the steel caseback has a custom Indy 500 engraving with brick background, and May 26, 2019 (race date) and 103rd (latest race number) are engraved as well. The crown and pushers are unchanged from the standard model and the watch is water-resistant to 100 meters.
The black opaline dial has white chronograph sub-dials, date and rhodium-plated luminescent indices, contrasting well for superb legibility (especially in direct sunlight during a race). The special edition has the Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo centred in the 6 o’clock sub-dial. The framed date window at 3 o’clock is unchanged with CARRERA printed above and CALIBRE 16 below in white, and TAG Heuer’s logo to the left.
The movement is the Calibre 16 automatic, based on the ETA 7750. It has 25 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 42-hour power reserve. TAG Heuer’s custom rotor features Geneva stripes, but the movement is hidden behind the solid steel caseback. Many other Carrera pieces use the Calibre 16 as well.
The strap is unchanged from the standard model, being a race-inspired perforated black calfskin leather with red stitching. It complements the dial well and really completes the racing vibe. The strap features a polished stainless steel folding clasp.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Indy 500 Special Edition retails for EUR 4,350 (slightly more than the standard model at EUR 4,200) and will be available worldwide. A second watch, the Formula 1 Indy 500 Special Edition, is launching beside the automatic and features a larger 43mm case and quartz movement (EUR 1,500). Both watches will be packaged in limited edition boxes. More information can be found at TAG Heuer’s website.