TAG Heuer Gives The Skipper a Well-Deserved Golden Makeover

by Mario C

A fan favourite of the company’s illustrious heritage makes another return for Watches and Wonders 2024, this time with an all-new case material.

This new release from TAG Heuer is somewhat close to my heart, as I have gone on record on many occasions to sing the praises of the original Skipper around midway last year. While this new model may be hilariously out of my price range, I still think that it deserves its kudos for being as daring as it is with its design.

TAG Heuer Rose Gold Skipper – Full view

If you’re unfamiliar with this yachting-oriented timepiece, you must be thinking: ‘I thought TAG Heuer was a motorsports racing brand!’ You’re partly right – TAG Heuer has deep roots in racing. But they’ve also been quietly sailing the seas of yacht racing history. Back in the 40s-60s, they teamed up with companies like Abercrombie and Fitch to create an assortment of ocean-faring watches – a detail that fans of Summer Girls by LFO may find interesting.

Cheesy 90s songs aside, Heuer’s original Skipper was released in 1969, celebrating the New York Yacht Club’s Intrepid victory in the previous year’s America’s Cup. After that, news of the Skipper became radio silent, as it was never formally advertised: No TV commercials, newspaper junkets, nothing. It never even appeared in the official catalogue! So imagine every Heuer enthusiast’s surprise when it finally arose from its slumber in 2023.

 This new release from TAG Heuer possesses all the same details that fans have come to know and love, from both the original and the 2023 reference. Keeping with the 1968 ‘Skipperera’, the Sunray brushed blue dial and the Intrepid Teal/Lagoon Green/Orange sub-dials and accents remain. With classic TAG Heuer flair, the 2023 Carrera Skipper’s design adds a modern spin, with the domed glass box crystal, curved dial flange, and small seconds accompanied by a date window at 6 o’clock.

TAG Heuer Rose Gold Skipper – Case profile

This year, the Carrera Skipper, previously in stainless steel, is now outfitted with 18-karat rose gold. Some may question the necessity of such a lavish update, but if you ask me I’m just glad that, after nearly 55 years, the Skipper is finally getting the flowers it deserves. My only gripe is that it took so long!

TAG Heuer Rose Gold Skipper – Blue leathered sail canvas strap

All this golden goodness is supplied on the signature leathered sail canvas strap, only this time with a rose gold pin buckle in place of the old clasp system. Having worn Skippers in the past, it’s a very comfortable piece on the wrist, but the only major pain point is that 20.5mm lug width. Finding 21mm lug-width straps was hard, but finding 20.5mm ones is practically impossible. Understandably, it may be to preserve the iconic look of the watch, but I think TAG Heuer should allow us to get a little more adventurous with strap choices. They’re already available in the Autavia collection, so why not implement quick-change straps on more models?

TAG Heuer Rose Gold Skipper – Open case back showing TH20-06 movement

Having debuted during the TH20 era of TAG Heuer, the 2024 Carrera Skipper has also been equipped with the mechanically sound TH20-06 movement. This automatic chronograph movement comes with 80 hours of power reserve – the most in its category – and a slight modification more suited to the yachting world. Instead of a 30-minute timer as is standard on most chronos, the TH20-06 has been changed to a 15-minute timer, with the sub-dial marked in  5-minute intervals of Intrepid Teal, Lagoon Green, and Orange. The indicator ticks over every 30 seconds and is used for the beginning of a yacht race, letting the crew know exactly what stage of preparation they’re supposed to be in before casting off.

Put simply, a yacht race doesn’t start immediately – each crew is given a 15-minute prep time before they are allowed to set sail. Every five minutes, a gun sounds. So if your Skipper’s minute timer is still in green but you hear the third and final gun, you know that you’re in trouble! The beauty of this movement is all visible through the display case back, complete with a rotor that lovingly resembles the original Heuer shield.

Final Thoughts

The Watches and Wonders 2024 Carrera Skipper reference has marked yet another chapter into its and the brand’s ever-growing legacy. Reruns and remasters are hard to do (Ask whoever made Star Wars episodes VII-IX), so to see the efforts that the TAG Heuer team have put in to apply a modern spin to an original icon is worth applauding. I love the borderline goofy colouration of the Skipper, as well as the mechanical prowess so clearly demonstrated through the TH20-06. And while the rose gold and the lug width of the glass box collection are bound to raise a few eyebrows, it doesn’t detract from the overall level of excellence we’ve come to expect from the La Chaux-De-Fonds brand.

At the end of the day, it’s an iconic watch that has been given its long-deserved adulation, and boosting the icons of horology is always worth celebrating. TAG Heuer has been on a tear since last year, and whether it be a tribute to the open roads or the high seas, I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us!

References: Carrera Skipper Rose Gold CBS2241.FN8023

Specifications

  • Case Material: 18k 5N rose gold
  • Dimensions 39mm diameter, 13.9mm thickness, 46mm lug-to-lug
  • Dial: Sunray brushed blue with orange & green accents, green shaded subdials, rose gold hands & indexes
  • Movement: In-house automatic TH20-06 chronograph (12h, 15min regatta timers)
  • Beat Rate: 4Hz/28,800bph
  • Power Reserve: 80h
  • Water Resistance: 100m (10bar)
  • Crystal: Sapphire ‘glass box’ crystal on dial, sapphire case back
  • Strap: Blue leathered sail canvas with 18k 5N rose gold signed pin buckle

Australian Recommended Retail Pricing: $31,150 AUD

Availability: Purchase through TAG Heuer boutiques and authorised dealers, or enquire online through Tagheuer.com.au

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