TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 is a brand so steeped in tradition that we’d need more than a few articles to cover how we got from Heuer’s founding by Edouard Heuer in 1860 in St-Imier, Switzerland, to the present day. A brand so intrinsically linked to timekeeping perfection and the motorsports world that it has sponsored Formula 1 and other racing series for decades.
Since 2020 marks the 160th anniversary of TAG Heuer, the brand has been on a roll introducing various timepieces (read HERE, HERE) that pay tribute to the brand’s past, while uniquely positioning its design and technicity with a keen eye towards the future.
For much of the past decade, the aesthetic of TAG Heuer’s line up has been divided by the concept of modernity, paying favor to both the resolutely classic and the decidedly modern. As such, the “Heuer Heritage” family stands in stark contrast with watches like the Connected Modular, the colorful Formula 1, or the bold and complex Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02. As a brand forced to balance the weight of its own legacy with its continued existence as a producer of products for an ever-changing market, TAG Heuer has to find new ways of communicating the message, even when speaking to buyers that know nothing of the brand’s history. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a very modern evolution of the Heuer form, the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02.
Fans of the Monaco racing watch – introduced in 1969 as one of the world’s first automatic chronographs – love its blue sunburst dial and contrasting silver counters, red hands, and square shape with its expansive sapphire crystal and faceted edges. The newest version, the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre Heuer 02, our test watch, offers these same visual features, all of which TAG Heuer has continued to refine based on the earlier Monaco Calibre 12 model. The once-flat registers are now slightly recessed, giving the design more depth and interest.
Here’s another update: the symmetrical arrangement now shows elapsed minutes and hours rather than minutes and seconds. The running seconds indication is now placed at 6 o’clock — a clever solution even though every minute the seconds hand sweeps across the date window for a period of several seconds. With its use of the new movement, TAG Heuer designed a clear layout of the displays, but this also involved a compromise. Including the small seconds display at 6 required moving the “Automatic” lettering upward and placing it between the two registers.
Changes to the dial layout are based on a fundamental innovation. With TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02, TAG Heuer is now using a fully developed, in-house chronograph movement in its Monaco line. Recall that the original Caliber 11 from 1969 was a collaborative project between Heuer, Breitling, and Hamilton-Büren in addition to the module specialist Dubois Dépraz, which contributed the chronograph mechanism. The long-awaited in-house base chronograph movement first appeared in 2017 as the Caliber Heuer 02, which was introduced in the retro model Autavia Calibre Heuer 02. Previously at TAG Heuer, “only” the complex Calibre Heuer 02-T was available (with an additional tourbillon) and before that, the Calibre Heuer 01, based on a Seiko movement.
Under the leadership of CEO Frédéric Arnault (read HERE), TAG Heuer has embraced the latest technology (HERE) while simultaneously evolving its watchmaking offerings. At the center of this ‘savoir-faire’ is the brand’s renowned in-house movements – notably, its latest innovation, the Heuer 02 chronograph movement.
Ok, so while that name is a bit of a mouthful, it does help to explain what this watch is. First, the “Carrera” name is synonymous with motorsport-derived sporty chronographs and, second, the “Calibre Heuer 02” is the movement used by the watch. Originally launched in 1963, the Carrera was created by Jack Heuer as a (then) modern interpretation of automotive and motorsport style into a race-ready chronograph. As for the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 movement, it is an entirely in-house follow up to 2015’s Heuer 01. Officially launched in 2018, the Heuer 02 is an automatic chronograph movement that offers an 80-hour power reserve, a compax layout (with subdials at 3, 6, and 9), a date at 4:30, and a maximum measure of 12 hours.