If you haven’t noticed, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the TAG Heuer Carrera. This week’s Watch to Watch, from WatchTime’s October 2013 issue, is one of the new Carreras launched by TAG Heuer at this year’s Baselworld to mark the milestone birthday, the Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback Racing.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback Racing is the first Carrera powered by the brand’s souped-up version of Zenith’s El Primero chronograph movement. In years past, we might have appended the adjective “high frequency” to El Primero, but these days, thanks largely to TAG Heuer’s own efforts developing super-fast chronos, the El Primero’s frequency is not considered as speedy as it once was. It remains, however, eminently practical, because the tenths of a second it measures are by far the most commonly used interval in the world of split-second timing.
In its configuration for this watch, the movement gains a flyback function, which is highly useful in the world of automobile racing, because it allows the user to time a lap, then immediately begin timing a new lap.
Outside, the watch picks up design elements from TAG Heuer’s Mikrograph, including most prominently the seconds track with oversize digits and an especially large “60” at the top of the dial. The wide seconds track aids legibility and helps fill the space between the subdials and the bezel, which is needed given that the movement’s architecture was developed when watches were smaller. The 43-mm case is a traditional Carrera design, rendered in grade 2 titanium. The case finish is created by sandblasting the exterior before treating it with a black titanium carbide coating.
The anthracite dial is decorated with a sunray effect. The chronograph minutes and continuous seconds subdials are snailed with fine-brushed appliqués and polished facets. The caseback is smoked sapphire. The strap, inspired by motor-racing leathers, is black leather with a black perforated layer and a black titanium grade 2 folding clasp. Price: $8,900.