After years of sticking mostly to more traditional materials for its timepieces, TAG Heuer has embraced high-tech carbon as a case material in a big way in 2018. This year’s Baselworld saw the debut of a carbon-cased Monaco designed in concert with watch customization specialist George Bamford, and this fall the Swiss watchmaker followed it up with three carbon-draped editions of its Aquaracer dive watch. Now TAG Heuer’s flagship collection, the motorsport-inspired Carrera, joins the party, and again the magic number is three: two versions of the classic Carrera chronograph and a new take on the brand’s groundbreaking Carrera Tourbillon.
The aptly nicknamed TAG Heuer Carbon Tourbillon Phantom sports a nocturnal-look 45-mm case constructed of black PVD-coated titanium, crowned by a fixed bezel, engraved with the classic Carrera tachymeter scale, made of robust yet lightweight carbon, which is also used for the case lugs. The watch is equipped, like its predecessors, with TAG Heuer’s Caliber Heuer 02T self-winding tourbillon chronograph movement, here enhanced with dark elements like a blackened mainplate and column wheel and a tourbillon upper bridge made of carbon, which are on display through a clear caseback to visually harmonize with the black case. Certified for its timekeeping accuracy by the Swiss chronometer testing agency COSC, Caliber Heuer 02T holds a power reserve upward of 65 hours. Under a domed, nonreflective sapphire crystal, the skeletonized opaline dial has black gold-plated chronograph subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock, a black-finished tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock, and luminous-treated hands and indices. Strapped to either black rubber or black alligator leather, with a black-PVD-titanium folding clasp, the Phantom is limited to 500 pieces and priced at $21,500.
The non-tourbillon versions of the TAG Heuer Carrera Carbon are offered with either rose-gold or blue rhodium details. Both feature black PVD-coated stainless steel cases, with carbon bezels, measuring 43 mm in diameter and housing the in-house Caliber Heuer 02, a self-winding integrated chronograph movement with a user-friendly 80-plus-hour power reserve. One model has solid rose-gold lugs and rose-gold-plated applied indices and hands, while the other has carbon-forged lugs and blue lacquered highlights on the 6 o’clock subdial and chronograph counter hands.
The movement, skeletonized like its tourbillon-equipped big brother (including an openworked date wheel on the dial side at 4:30), is visible through the caseback, with its blackened rotor, column wheel and vertical clutch attesting to its haute horlogerie bonafides. Both Carrera Carbon models are mounted on a perforated black rubber strap with a black PVD titanium folding clasp. The blue-highlighted watch is limited to 750 pieces and priced at $7,750; the rose-gold, limited to 350 pieces, is priced at $9,750. Both are available exclusively at TAG Heuer’s boutiques and via the brand’s website, www.tagheuer.com.