The story in a second: The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 blue dial is a familiar face, which has been sleekly refined.
If you know TAG Heuer, you’ll know the Carrera chronograph, a wristwatch that has been trackside at motorsport events for decades, offering those behind the wheel a functional timing tool. While some of the design detail has been adjusted over the years to suit the evolving tastes of the gentleman driver, the DNA of the watch has remained the same since its birth in the 1960s. Last year, we were presented with an interpretation of the Carrera Calibre 16 that while maintaining an under the radar presence on the wrist, popped with colour under closer inspection and stole not only our attention but also the industry at large for its boldness. This year we have the same blue dial, the same layout of date with three sub-dials, and the same options for both steel bracelet or perforated rally-style leather strap. But while last year it was a party of colour and celebration, this year we are offered a more subtle approach that speaks to the more serious collector as well as the automotive enthusiast.
The dial of the most recent expression of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 is a study of complexity expressed with clarity. We don’t lose a single element of racetrack requirement, but it is distilled in a way that says everything it needs to, without anything it doesn’t. The sunburst finish on the dial brings out the spectrum of navy to royal blue, with different light telling a different story. Still placed at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, the two chronograph counters are emphasised with a contrasting white minute track, which complements the white day disc that is also prominent. Keeping a lower profile is the running seconds at 9 o’clock, which is the same blue tone as the rest of the dial.
The 41mm steel case is a good size, and one that will comfortably fit the majority of wrists out there. The long faceted lugs extend beyond the case with sharp angles articulating each surface, which have been well finished in continuity with the rest of the case. The case-back is solid, giving a sense of robustness, and is stamped with the TAG Heuer logo amidst a hobnail pattern.
The bezel is produced in a glossy ceramic, which is both resistant to the scratches accumulated in daily wear, and ensures the tachymeter scale that runs the circumference of the dial is ultra-crisp and legible.
The Calibre 16 is a classic 7750-based chronograph movement, complete with automatic winding and date. It is a workhorse of the TAG Heuer stable, having served reliably for years.
The calf leather is high quality, and is soft and pliable under touch, strapping it to your wrist without any of the annoying-new-leather-stiffness. The folding clasp also adds comfort, and extends the life of the leather strap too.
On the wrist
The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 approaches the upper limits of comfortable diameters that I would wear, but thanks to the slightly downward angled lugs, hugs the wrist nicely. The solid steel case offers a reassuring weight that doesn’t allow you to forget you are wearing it on your wrist, without being too bulky or cumbersome to slip into your morning routine.
The less-is-more approach has paid off, with a comfortable case, and a dial that communicates what it needs to, and nothing else.
Who’s it for?
Fans of motorsport, chronographs, or anyone who is looking for a solid daily wear.
What would we change?
With the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 blue dial, function is paramount, which goes a long way to explaining the inclusion of the day-to-day practicality that the date provides. In saying that, one can’t help but wonder about the balance of the dial if the date window was removed, and we were left with a pure speed-calculating tool.
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 price and availability
The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16, on a calf leather strap, has an Australian RRP of $5950, and is currently available at boutiques.
Made in partnership with TAG Heuer. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.