TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Hands-on Review

by Chamath Gamage
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As part of Tag Heuer’s 160th-anniversary celebration Tag Heuer recently released four new flagship models. These new models will join the brands existing Evergreen collection. The four new models are different variants of the Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02. This new model is based on the brand’s iconic 1963 racing chronograph “the Carrera” and has been updated with modern styling and performance. 

The original 1963 Carrera model was presented as a “race-car dashboard for the wrist”. This watch at the time reflected Jack Heuer’s passion for racing and what was required for drivers to achieve better lap times during racing events. Jack Heuer’s interest in motorsport rose when he heard the story of the iconic Carrera Panamericana race. The Carrera Panamericana race was like no other.

It was a 2096-mile-long border-to-border race across Mexico. Drivers would have to face harsh conditions and treacherous desert landscape, all the while travelling at 100mph (+). The race has arguably one of the highest mortality rates per race in the history of motorsport racing, leaving 27 drivers dead. The race lasted only five years and stopped in 1954. 

Jack Heuer designed the very first Tag Heuer Carrera as he took inspiration from the Carrera Panamericana race and its legendary status along with the courage and bravery showed by the drivers to tackle the unforgiving conditions. The original Carrera model was designed with dial elements that would serve to improve the watch’s legibility to the driver, while also being waterproof, shockproof, anti-magnetic and having the reliability to withstand extreme racing conditions. 

Fast forward to now and the TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic still stays true to Jack’s original idea of what the Carrera should be. 

Design:

TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic comes in four dial variants. There is a black brushed dial with matching black bezel, blue brushed dial with matching blue bezel and for something a little different, a muted olive green dial with a stainless-steel bezel. Watch advice had the opportunity to go hands on with the fourth variant; the 18K 5N rose gold edition.

Before we get into the specifics of the rose gold, it should be noted that the main changes between the other three variations are dial and bezel colour. All three variations include Rhodium-plated central hand, Rhodium plated TAG HEUER applied logo, Rhodium plated hour indexes and also the hour and minute hands with white superluminova. 

The TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic in 18K 5N rose gold features a 44mm steel fine-brushed/polished case with a black ceramic bezel. The crown and chronograph pushers on the case are made from 18K 5N solid pink gold. The case also has a water resistance of 100m.

A 44mm case size is ideal for this new Carrera model, as any smaller and the features shown on the dial can start to get a little overcrowded. I think personally the 18k 5N rose gold is the pick of the four different variations. The different colour variations on the watch come together nicely to make it aesthetically pleasing and very easy on the eye. 18k 5N rose gold accents are shown aplenty on the dial. 

The hour, minute, chronograph seconds hands, as well as the chronograph counter hands, all use the material. The Tag Heuer logo at 12 o’clock along with the applied hour indexes all use 18K 5N rose gold as well. This is rounded off nicely with the tachymeter scale on the bezel being done in the same material. The white Superluminova on the hands and hour indexes add the extra colour and makes the legibility of the dial easier thanks to the direct contrast against the black dial. 

The TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic features a simple tri-counter layout. Firstly we have a 30 minute counter at 3 o’clock position, a constant second counter at 6 o’clock and 12 hour counter at 9 o’clock position. A simple date window is also added just above the 6 o’clock hour marker. 

Movement:

The movement used inside the TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic is as the name suggests the brands performance-driven Heuer 02 movement. The Heuer 02 movement was initially released in 2017 as an upgrade from the predecessor movement Heuer 01, which was released in 2009. The Heuer 02 movement was designed to be a thinner movement than the Heuer 01 movement.

It was also made to have a more significant power reserve whilst retaining the same precision as the predecessor. The new movement also has a frequency of 4Hz (28, 800 Vph) and the power reserve has increased 30 hours from the Heuer 01 movement to a total of approximately 80 hours for the Heuer 02 movement. To showcase this, Tag Heuer made a bold choice to add ‘Heuer 02 80 hours’ on the dial at 6 ‘clock.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic does come with an open case back in which the Heuer 02 movement can be seen. The rotor has been skeletonised which also allows more of the movement (albeit most of it is still covered) to be seen. 

How it wears:

This particular 18k 5N rose gold model comes in a black alligator strap with steel fold clasp, perfectly complimenting the watch. The alligator strap does make the watch very suitable with formal/dressy attire as the watch will undoubtedly bring a level of class with it. The rose gold accents throughout the watch stand out from some distance, making the timepiece quite noticeable in appearance. Being 44mm in case size, it can be quite big for some wrist sizes, but we found it to sit quite well on a 6.5-inch wrist. This is possible thanks to the shorter lugs this new model has, which stops the watch from overextending on the wrist. 

When worn, you will certainly notice the presence of this watch. The hour indexes give a beautiful shine when rotated at different angles under light. Not only that but the legibility of the dial is easy too as we mentioned earlier, all thanks to Tag Heuer’s new O2 movement allowing the spacing of the chronograph counters to be wider. This presents a less cluttered dial and more of the individual elements to shine through.

With 2020 being the 160th anniversary year for Tag Heuer, it’s certainly looking to be a good year for new Carrera releases. The four new variants of the TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic is sure to be a hit among Carrera enthusiasts and watch fans alike, with the brand offering different colours to suit personal tastes. It doesn’t stop there though for new Carrera releases this year, as Tag Heuer has announced that they will be releasing four additional core Carrera pieces in September, followed by two special editions later in the year. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Sport Chronograph Specification:

Model Reference: CBN2A5A.FC6481
Case Diameter: 44mm
Dial: Black
Case: Steel, Gold & Ceramic Fine-Brushed/Polished
Functions:  Hour, Minutes, Seconds, Date and Chronograph
Movement: Calibre Heuer 02
Power Reserve: Min. 80 hours
Water Resistance: 10 ATM / 100 meters

Australian Retail Pricing: $9,500.00

Availability: Available now

Local Authorised dealers :

  • Brisbane – Wallace Bishop
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