Turning the clock back

There are few names larger than Carrera in the watch world, and TAG Heuer is celebrating 160 years with a retro-inspired edition

Heuer Carrera watch
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In the world of watch brands, any number divisible by 10 is cause for celebration. And since 2020 marks 160 years since Heuer was founded by Edouard Heuer, we can expect several months of pomp, circumstance and special editions – with the first being this delectable version of the famous Carrera.

The Spanish world ‘carrera’ translates as ‘race’ – and one of the most successful driving chronographs ever can be traced back to 1963 when Jack Heuer, the great- grandson of Edouard, was attending the 12 Hours of Sebring, at which the legendary Rodríguez brothers, Ricardo and Pedro, were driving for Ferrari.

They were Mexico’s most famous racers, and present on the day were their parents, with whom Heuer struck up a conversation in the pits. Soon, talk turned to Mexico’s 3500km Carrera PanAmericana road race and Heuer became enthralled by the event (which had been scrapped eight years earlier) and by the evocative ‘Carrera’ name.

He determined to use it for his next chronograph and registered exclusive rights to it for watch use – at almost the same time, incidentally, that Porsche acquired the right to use it on its sports cars.

The new Carrera driver’s chronograph was launched in December 1963. It featured a 36mm steel case, a Valjoux 72 manual-wind movement and the reference number 2447D. Known as the ‘Carrera-12’ due to its 12-hour totaliser at six o’clock, it became the choice of both professional and amateur drivers.

The Carrera name has since appeared on many different Heuer designs, ranging from simple time-only models to automatic chronographs with dual time zone and date functions. It has remained a rugged tool watch, aimed specifically at drivers.

Over two decades, Carreras were seen on the wrists of the world’s leading racers, such as Bruce McLaren, Jo Siffert, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni.

The line was dropped in the early 1980s, but strong demand resulted in its revival in 1998 with a Classics series based on the 1960s originals. The Carrera Silver Limited Edition combines the plain silver dial and vintage Heuer logo of the original with a slightly larger 39mm case and the brand’s latest Heuer 02 movement that is slim, rugged, accurate and has an 80-hour power reserve.

The Carrera Silver Limited Edition goes on sale in June in a limited edition of 1860 pieces. £5250.

 

Zenith watch

It’s now more than three years since Land Rover and Zenith joined forces, during which time we’ve seen  special watches honouring the Range Rover SV Autobiography, the Velar and the Evoque. And now it’s time for the one many Landy fans have been waiting for, a chronograph designed to complement the long-awaited new Defender. It combines a micro-blasted titanium case with a grey dial. It is driven by the self-winding El Primero movement, and limited to 250 pieces.

Zenith Defy 21 Land Rover Edition. £11,400 zenith-watches.com

 

Chronoswiss

Chronoswiss was founded in 1983 by former TAG Heuer watch maker Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, a lifelong car enthusiast and Jaguar fanatic. ‘Onion crown’ Chronoswiss watches became cult among rallyists and the firm continues to produce them, such as the 41mm Regulator Classic Carbon Racer. Separate hands with dedicated counters mark it out as a Regulator, while the carbon dial, speedo markings and wheel-based seconds counter add motoring cues.

Chronoswiss Regulator Classic Carbon Racer Euros 4650 chronoswiss.com 

 

Precision is written by renowned luxury goods specialist Simon de Burton