A Year In Review: TAG Heuer

by Matt Clymo

Continuing on our Year in Review of some of the brands that caught our attention, the next on the list is TAG Heuer. With some cracking releases, engaging collector and community activations plus several new Boutiques opening, TAG Heuer looks like a brand going from strength to strength!

2023 was the year of the Carrera. Celebrating its 60’s Birthday, TAG Heuer wasn’t caught napping on the starting line, choosing to launch several pieces at LVMH Watch Week in Singapore back in January. While most brands use Watches & Wonders as their launch platform, LVMH and TAG Heuer hit the accelerator from the get-go.

First up was the 600-piece limited edition TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition. A faithful recreation of the Carrera Chronograph from 1963 and powered by the Calibre Heuer 02, TAG Heuer’s latest generation of the in-house chronograph movement. It was this piece that signaled the theme for 2023 and what was to be a year where TAG Heuer brought out some of their best pieces in a long while.

The 60th Anniversary Edition TAG Heuer

LVMH Watch Week continued and TAG Heuer brought out several other pieces of note. The Aquaracer Professional Solargraph in Titanium was a continuation of their Solargraph release in 2022 and they also produced a new Monza model, complete with a flyback chronograph and in a carbon case. Another Carrera graced LVMH Watch Week in the form of the Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing. In collaboration with Porsche, the black DLC steel case with orange accents looks like it belongs on the grid, and with many nods back to the Carrera heritage and Porsche, it was one for race fans for sure.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing

Watches & Wonders rolled around in late March, and TAG Heuer had a surprise up its sleeve in the form of the new Carrera Chronograph “Glassbox”. With two versions, a blue and a reverse panda, most people thought they were an instant hit and what many watch collectors and enthusiasts had been wanting from the brand for a while. We were lucky to go hands-on with it a week prior to the launch for a review, and at the time, was what we thought was the Chronograph of the year. Read the full review here.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Glassbox in blue

Following on from this release, TAG Heuer followed this up with what is one of the best watch commercials in a long time – The Chase For Carrera! A mini action comedy staring Ryan Gosling, Saturday Night Live star Vanessa Bayer and Director, David Leitch (Bullet Train) it was a short film that even non-watch lovers loved. You can watch it below and see if you don’t smile for the whole 5 minutes and 17 seconds!

Whilst 2023 was the year of the Carrera, TAG Heuer didn’t ignore their other iconic piece, the Monaco. They had several Monaco releases across the year, starting with the Titanium Skeleton Monaco Chronographs that dropped on the Monaco F1 weekend. These were something new for the brand as they were Skeletonised Monacos for one, and made of Titanium for another. Max Verstappen received a unique Blue version with the number 1 on the back, representing his (now) three world championships, but the one that caught our eye was the Black Titanium DLC Turquoise. Pictures don’t really do it justice!

The Black and Turquoise Monaco Titanium

TAG went on to release a couple of more Monacos in 2023, the Racing Blue – another Titanium version with an ode to the French colours used by French racing teams and then possibly the coolest piece, a limited edition in Black DLC and grade 5 titanium – the Night Driver. The piece featured a fully luminescent dial that glows and is designed for maximum legibility for those who are driving, yes you guessed it, at night!

Circling back to the Year of the Carrera. Next up was the return of a vintage piece not seen for forty years. The TAG Heuer Skipper. A remake of a vintage piece that was used in Yachting, and a re-interpretation of the watch that was inspired by The 12 meter America’s Cup-winning “Intrepid” from the late 60’s. This piece was based on their new Glassbox design, but when compared to the original, you can see it pays homage to it pretty well. We were lucky enough to get hands-on with the original from 1968, now worth upwards of $100,000 AUD.

The original Heuer Skipper from 1968 next to the new 2023 version.

Towards the back end of the year, well from September onwards, the TAG Heuer Carrera’s 60th Birthday continued with the release of the Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche. Whilst we thought the Carrera Glassbox was their best release, when the Chronosprint x Porsche came out, personally I felt this was the release of the year when it came to the Carrera. The fact that it was uniquely tied into many elements of the Porsche 911, including the chronograph hand that started fast and then slowed down as it made its way around the dial to represent the original 9.1s sprint to 100km/h sold it for me. You can see it in action below.

The year of the Carrera concluded with the full gold Carrera Chronograph Glassbox. A nice way to end the year for the brand and a great addition to the steel sports lineup. Again, in person, it looked better than the press pics, and you can feel the gold weight on the wrist!

The new Yellow Gold Carrera Chronograph

TAG Heuer is known for its activation and events, and in 2023 there was no shortage of these. Between Boutique openings, (of which there were three, taking TAG Heuer’s store count to nine in Australia with more to come next year), 60th Birthday celebrations for the Carrera and enthusiast gatherings, those invited were shown a great time! Below pics from the 60 Years of Carrera Dinner in Melbourne at Dutton Garage.

We were able to catch up with TAG Heuer’s Global Heritage Director, Nicholas Biebuyck in between some of these events whilst he was visiting and spoke at length about TAG Heuer’s Past, Present and Future. It gave us valuable insight into the brand and where it’s heading over the next 5 years. Admittedly, I left feeling excited as to what is to come.

So, thus rounds out an impressive year for TAG Heuer. The brand has made strides this year with their watch designs, movements and brand momentum. As Nicholas says, they still have a long way to go and it’s going to be a journey. The direction that they are heading is exciting, and with people like Frederic Arnault at the helm, Nicholas Biebuyck guiding them and Carole Kasapi leading the movement group, we’re keen to see what 2024 and beyond will bring!

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