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Watches and Wonders 2023: TAG Heuer

The TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph Tourbillon.

The Carrera enjoys a major evolution on its 60th birthday. 

At its keynote presentation on the first day of Watches and Wonders 2023, TAG Heuer made it clear: the Carrera is the watch that defines the brand’s essence. It’s sporty, innovative, bold, and diverse. The Carrera has spawned over 500 different references in the 60 years of its existence, but there are other interesting developments from the brand this year as well. Let’s break it down.  

The Carrera Glassbox Chronograph in stainless steel with blue dial.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph in stainless steel with blue dial.

The Carrera Glassbox 

Inspired by the domed hesalite crystals used on watches in the 1970s, TAG Heuer’s designers envisioned a new style for the 21st century. It’s not a throwback to the past, as many are fond of doing at anniversary events, but a peek at what the Carrera will continue to look like tomorrow. The Carrera Glassbox plays on curves.  

The sapphire crystal flows seamlessly over the tachymeter scale that runs around the dial edge and into the case. The flanges and indexes are all curved similarly. Whether you think of mountains and valleys or the curves of a Porsche 911 or a vintage Pininfarina Ferrari, it has to be said that the Carrera Glassbox is sexy.  

The TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph in black dial with date window at 12 o'clock.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph with black dial and date window at 12 o'clock.

The pump pushers have also been redesigned, angled and curved similarly but with slightly sharper edges than the case. The angles make the chronograph easier to operate. Two versions of the watch exist: a blue dial with a date window at 6 o’clock and a black dial with the date above the brand’s logo at 12. If the placement of the latter is odd to you, it is, in fact, based off an old Carrera: the Ref. 3147 Dato 12, which was the very first Carrera chronograph with a date display.  

The design of the TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph is an evolution of Jack Heuer's original design.
The design of the TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph is an evolution of Jack Heuer's original design.

Both watches have snailed counters for the chronograph totalisers, but the blue dial model has a discreet small seconds display with just 12 little markers and a hand that show its presence. Both models are powered by the self-winding Calibre TH20-00, formerly the Calibre Heuer 02. It features vertical coupling with column-wheel control and has a power reserve of 80 hours. While the Carrera Glassbox is not a limited edition, it is limited in production at the moment. As it scales up, the design should carry forth into new future models.  

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon will also be presented in the same Glassbox case design, with an aperture for the tourbillon and cage at 6 o’clock. Both the Glassbox Chronograph and the Chronograph Tourbillon feature slight changes to the case with stronger angles which are especially prominent along the lugs. The angling reminds one of a modern art installation, giving it a 21st-century identity. 

The Calibre TH20-09 movement powering the TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph Tourbillon.
The Calibre TH20-09 movement powering the TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Chronograph Tourbillon.

The Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon is powered by the brand’s TH20-09 in-house chronograph tourbillon calibre. Formerly the Heuer 02T, it’s COSC-certified and self-winding, with a 65-hour power reserve. The design of the crystal also gives the tourbillon even more prominence, allowing one to enjoy the view of the rotating escapement from amplified angles.  

The TAG Heuer Carrera Date 36Mm in stainless steel with blue dial and gold-plated indexes.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Date 36mm in stainless steel with blue dial and gold-plated indexes.

The Carrera Date 

The very first Carrera was sized at 36mm, then an oversized model for the industry but now considered to be compact. It had a slim bezel that magnified the view of the dial, and TAG Heuer has now introduced a time-and-date Carrera model that adheres to the same design principles as Jack Heuer intended for the original back in 1963.  

A profile shot of the TAG Heuer Carrera Date 36MM in silver dial.
The profile of the TAG Heuer Carrera Date 36mm with silver dial reveals the slim design of the watch case.

On the Carrera Date, an angled minute track unites the dial with the case. The dial features strong angled applied indexes, similar to the case’s design, paired with a three-link bracelet with polished middle links. The case has also been slimmed down, making it a very comfortable timepiece to wear.

The sage green dial of the TAG Heuer Carrera Date 36MM.
The sage green dial of the TAG Heuer Carrera Date 36mm.

The dials come in four colours, starting with a classic silver dial with gold-plated indexes and hands, as well as a deep TAG Heuer blue with gold-plated indexes and hands. Two other funky-coloured models feature sage green and hot pink dials.  

The watches are powered by TAG Heuer’s Calibre 7 Automatic movement, which has a power reserve of 56 hours. They offer a 50m water resistance.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d'Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44MM.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d'Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm.

 The Carrera Plasma  

TAG Heuer introduced the use of lab-grown diamonds into its Carrera collection with the Plasma, a special method of depositing polycrystalline diamonds on a watch via a chemical vapour deposition process. Now it’s taking the craft further, integrating lab-grown diamonds of various sizes and shapes on the case, dial, and bracelet in unusual ways.  

The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm is housed in a matte black anodised aluminium case with a bicompax display. The tourbillon can be observed in an aperture at 6 o’clock, and the entire watch case is sandblasted and set with diamonds of various sizes. There are 4.3 carats of lab-grown diamonds on the case, and the bezel and bracelet each has 1.9 carats, bringing the total number of diamonds to 108.  

A closer look at the diamonds set into the case, bezel and bracelet of the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d'Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44MM.
A closer look at the diamonds set into the case, bezel, and bracelet of the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d'Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm.

The crown is crafted from a single 2.5-carat lab-grown diamond and carefully machined to precise measurements. The chronograph pushers are in steel with a black DLC coating. On the dial is an incredible display of brilliance, made using three polycrystalline plates. This is achieved by growing multiple diamonds as one, creating an irregular display that reflects light from all angles. White gold indexes set on the dial are also set with diamonds.  

The polycrystalline diamond dial of the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d'Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44MM.
The polycrystalline diamond dial of the TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d'Avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon 44mm.

The two chronograph registers are black and also set with diamonds that add contrast to the dial without taking away from its shine. Powering the watch is the COSC-certified Calibre Heuer 02T Nanograph, with its carbon composite hairspring that ensures high precision at all times. This watch will be available from September 2023 onwards.  

The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d'Avant-Garde 36MM.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Diamant d'Avant-Garde 36mm.

In addition, there is also the Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde 36mm, a less blinged-out time-and-date model with a polycrystalline dial that offers a new advancement in lab-grown diamonds: coloured diamonds. The watch features two pink diamonds on the crown and TAG Heuer’s shield logo. The logo is a single 1.3-carat pink diamond, and the crown is 0.6 carats, for a total of 4.8 carats. The dial has 2.9 carats worth of diamonds, including the diamond indexes on the watch.  

The introduction of coloured diamonds is exciting, as it offers TAG Heuer the opportunity to create stones in other colours, such as yellow, blue, and green, in the near future. The future is indeed bright at TAG Heuer.  

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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