5 of the best TAG Heuer Carrera limited editionsFergus Nash
Even if someone has never paid any attention to watches or motorsport, there’s a high chance that they would recognise the Carrera name. Such is the strength of the bond between those two industries, one that is largely thanks to Jack Heuer’s innovation in 1963. Moving away from the militaristic looks of chronographs in the ’40s and the doctor’s-office svelteness of the ’50s, the Heuer Carrera forged a new identity of steel sports watches that could be utilitarian and sleek at the same time. Now that the brand has evolved significantly over the last 60 years, let’s take a look at some of the best TAG Heuer Carrera limited editions.
Don’t miss TAG Heuer’s celebration of the Carrera’s 60th anniversary by releasing the amazing “>Carrera Glassbox Chronograph.
TAG Heuer Carrera X Porsche RS 2.7
Aside from Jack Heuer’s general passion for motorsport, the link between the Carrera and the racetrack stems from the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico in the ’50s. Ten years after the Heuer Carrera was released, the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 was produced in 1973 to homologate their cars for Group 4 Special GT races. As the first Porsche model to feature front and rear spoilers for aerodynamics, it was truly a sign of a new era in automotive design and became an instant icon. In order to celebrate that model which first shared the Carrera name, the TAG Heuer Carrera X Porsche RS 2.7 evokes its classic minimalistic livery with a white dial and high-contrast blasts of red or blue. The Carrera signage is also embedded into the fabric strap, deepening the connection and heightening the sportiness.
TAG Heuer Carrera Indy 500 Special Edition 2019
TAG Heuer has been the Official Time Keeper of the Indianapolis 500 since 2004, although their history together does go deeper into some long-sought vintage references. Since the official partnership, Heuer have released no fewer than 17 different watches that tie together with the legendary race, and only four of them have bared the Carrera name. The reference from 2019 is particularly slick, with the Calibre 16 movement based on a Valjoux 7750 that brings the logo and date display off to the right-hand side, just like many vintage chronographs from the 1970s. Red is the accent colour to evoke the old Brickyard, as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway used to be entirely paved with bricks. Only a small strip of bricks still remain at the start/finish line of the track, but the Indy 500 is one of very few entities that has been able to get its logo printed on a TAG Heuer dial.
TAG Heuer Carrera Polychrome
Taking things very much away from a vintage lens is the TAG Heuer Carrera Polychrome, transforming the sophisticated Carrera concept into an adrenaline-pumping display of high-tech badassery. The forged carbon case offers swirls of black and grey, completing a lightweight package with a rubber and alligator leather hybrid strap. The dial is treated with PVD coatings in a blaze of yellow, orange, red, blue, and purple hues, making it look like the burnt ends of titanium exhaust tips. The Calibre HEUER02T is also impressive from both sides, giving you not only a tourbillon that you can stare at but also one that won’t necessarily break the bank. At AU$34,850, it’s definitely one of the most affordable tourbillon watches from a luxury Swiss brand available.
TAG Heuer Carrera 60th Anniversary
We’re definitely giving a lot of love to the TAG Heuer Carrera for it’s 60th birthday, and the brand themselves have done the same with the TAG Heuer Carrera 60th Anniversary Limited Edition. Although the very first reference of the watch was already reissued for its 55th birthday, the all-silver dial quickly developed into panda and reverse-panda styles that resonate strongly with racing fans. This edition features a sunburst silver dial with black guilloché subdials, an all-polished steel case, and you’ll also notice the lack of any TAG branding in the logo. Powering this 39mm Carrera is the in-house Heuer 02, beating at 4Hz and lasting for 80 hours while winding automatically.
TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma
The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma announced at last year’s Watches & Wonders was one of the main reasons I argued that they were the brand who won 2022, and my mind hasn’t changed. The speckled dial is actually a single plate of diamond clusters that are lab-grown, creating one of the most dazzling light displays you can get out of a watch. Aside from the diamonds that are also used as hour markers, the black-anodised aluminium case is set with huge diamonds seemingly set at random for a chaotic and electric look. It well and truly earns the Plasma name, and the sense of luxury could only be heightened as you stare at the rotating tourbillon and adjust the time with a solid diamond crown.