Black & gold livery on the F1 racetrack was the epitome of cool in the 1970s and 1980s and, judging by the number of watches decked out in this sleek, glamorous colour scheme, is still as appealing as it was in its heyday. So, when you take a legendary racetrack watch like the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph and deck it out in John Player Special black & gold, the result is a double classic. Today, TAG Heuer unveils the latest edition of its 42mm Carrera in elegant black & yellow gold. A nod to former brand ambassador and world champion Ayrton Senna and his mythical 98T Lotus, the Carrera Chronograph sends a clear message about the collection’s deep connection to motorsport.
Jack Heuer’s 1963 Carrera is synonymous with the racetrack. Not only did he name his chronograph after the famous Carrera Panamericana race, but he would become an avid sponsor of Formula 1 events. Prizing legibility and functionality, the first generation of hand-wound Carreras (ref. 2447 produced from 1963-1970) came in 36mm case diameters with sharp lines, straight lugs and clean, uncluttered dials and, importantly, the absence of a tachymetre scale on the bezel. With the advent of the first automatic chronograph movements in 1969, which included Heuer’s calibre 11 with micro-rotor, the Carrera chronograph was given a trendy barrel-shaped case and bolder colour schemes. Following the hecatomb produced by the arrival of quartz on the Swiss mechanical watch market and the sale of the company to become TAG Heuer in 1985, the Carrera raced back in 1996 in a retro-styled model influenced by the first ref. 2447.
Coinciding with the brand’s 160th anniversary in 2020, the Carrera appeared in a 42mm case size. Although it was larger, it steered clear of the avant-garde spirit embodied by the 44mm Carrera Sport models and captured the more refined spirit of its 1963 ancestor with its polished surfaces, piston pushers and angled flange for the minutes.
JPS Black & Gold
The latest Carrera borrows the iconic black & gold John Player Special livery of Team Lotus F1 cars during the 1970s and 1980s when legendary drivers like Emerson Fittipaldi and Ayrton Senna tore up the racetrack. Senna, who was also a Heuer ambassador, sported the famous JPS livery on his 98T Lotus F1.
Crafted in solid 18k yellow gold, the 42mm case, with its gold pushers and crown, displays contrasting polished and brushed finishings. Like Jack Heuer’s 1963 chronograph, there is no tachymetre scale on the bezel, and the lugs retain their angular profile.
The sleek, sunray-brushed black dial hosts applied yellow gold-plated and polished indices for the hours and yellow gold-plated hour and minute hands with white Super-LumiNova. Although there is a spot of lume on the tips of the hour indices, the watch is not over-lumed to uphold its more elegant, refined nature.
Following Jack Heuer’s guiding principles of legibility and functionality, the two chronograph counters are displayed horizontally and stand out against the black scenery with their snailed gold-plated interiors and black lacquered hands.
Instead of housing the small seconds in a third sub-dial, this indicator, with just three markings at 12, 3 and 9 and a gold-plated hand, is expressed with extreme subtlety and allows you to focus on the chronograph counters. The date window at 6 o’clock is framed in gold and has a black background to match the dial.
Calibre Heuer 02
TAG Heuer’s in-house chronograph movement – calibre Heuer 02 – appeared in 2017. Boasting a thinner movement and an increased power reserve over the Heuer 01 movement of 2009, the Heuer 02 has a modern integrated chronograph architecture with a column wheel and a vertical clutch to ensure the smooth and accurate run of the chronograph. Beating at 4Hz, it can store up to 80 hours of power. Another advantage over the Heuer 01 is the more elegant and legible 3-6-9 layout of the counters. The movement can be seen through the sapphire glass with its black openworked rotor.
Availability & Price
Presented on a black alligator leather strap with large scales and a gold pin buckle, this sleek version of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph will be available from 17 November at TAG Heuer boutiques, on the brand’s e-commerce sites and selected retail partners for EUR19,400 / CHF 20,000 / USD 20,500. For more information, please consult www.tagheuer.com.