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Tag Heuer Carrera

Carrera watch

The Contemporary Sports Watch
Inspired By Motor Racing

While TAG Heuer have made a number of fantastic watches over the 153 year history of the brand, the model that captures the spirit of the brand best is the Carrera- the classic motor-racing inspired Chronograph first launched in 1963.

Carrera Panamericana

Taking its name from the Spanish word for “Race”, the watch has been linked with Motorsports from the very beginning. The Carrera Panamericana was a race held between 1950-1954 on the newly Panamericana highways in Mexico. Run over 6 days, the event was born in the same spirit as the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia races in Italy.

The design of the original 1963 Carrera was inspired by the instrument panel of a racing car, where the key was legibility and clarity. Being designed for motor racing meant that the watch had to be a Chronograph (that is, include a stopwatch feature) and also include a tachymeter scale, allowing speed to be calculated. Jack Heuer tells the story of his inspiration:

“I first heard about the Carrera from Pedro Rodriguez at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, where I was the Official Timekeeper. He and his brother Ricardo were two of the fastest, smartest and bravest endurance drivers of all time. To hear them talk of the Carrera, which our brand’s longtime friend Juan-Manuel Fangio had won in 1953, but which had been stopped in the 1955 after a number of fatalities, made my imagination soar. Just the sound of the name itself – elegant, dynamic, easily pronounced in all languages and charged with emotion. I knew then that my new chronograph was the perfect tribute to this legend.”

The second generation Carrera was launched in 1969 and heralded the arrival of the world’s first automatic Chronograph movement- the Chronomatic. This second generation Carrera continued through the 1970s, but as that decade came to an end, so to did the ascent of the Carrera.

As the world turned to quartz-powered watches, the Carrera had lost its relevance and was gradually phased out. By the time that Heuer became TAG Heuer, the Carrera was gone altogether.

carrera It was more than a decade later that the Carrera was re-launched by TAG Heuer, initially as a one-off limited edition designed to highlight the heritage of the brand. The success of that re-edition and the heritage-themed watches that followed led to the launch in 2004 of a new, contemporary Carrera- the first new design in almost 20 years. No longer simply looking backwards, the Carrera was now a key part of TAG Heuer’s future.

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Carrera and to mark this milestone Calibre 11 is proud to present this dedicated site. We’ve identified ten generations of Carrera over the last 50 years, not a classification that is official or complete, but to illustrate the key model changes over the 50 years.

Carrera watch Carrera Panamericana

Best from the 1960s

2447 SN

Carrera 1960
Probably the prettiest Carrera design, the Carrera 2447 SN is a manual-wind Carrera 12 with a distinctive white dial/ tachy ring and contrasting black sub-dials. Known as the “Panda” Carrera, the 2447SN is incredibly rare today.
It’s the combination of the contrasting colours and fine steel hands that gives this Carrera a classic look.

Best from the 1970s

1158

Carrera 1970
A beautiful solid Yellow Gold case, this Calibre 12 Carrera which was the watch worn by Ferrari Formula 1 drivers. Available either with a “Champagne” or Silver dial, the 1158 Carrera is among the most coveted today and commands premium prices.

Best from the 1980s

510.511

Carrera 1980
The military grade Black PVD Carrera has a large cushion-style case and a beautifully arranged dial, featuring a 24-hour counter. The arrow-tipped central hand is a trademark of the Lemania 5100 whether its a Heuer, Omega or other brands which used this movement in the early 1980s.

Best from the 1990s

CS3111

Carrera 1990
The black dial re-edition is beautiful in its simplicity. A faithful reproduction of the 1964 original, not even the small 36mm size could stop the watch being a sales success. Later models grew to 39mm and added “TAG Heuer” to the dial, but the manual-wind original is the one to get.

Best from the 2000s

Calibre 360

Carrera 2000
The spectacular Calibre 360 was TAG Heuer’s first foray back into the world of designing and building innovative moments. The White Gold version shown above has a beautiful white dial with electric blue highlights and skeleton hands. The world’s first mechanical chronograph with 1/ 100th second precision.
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