TAG Heuer turned heads — and generated some amount of controversy — at Baselworld 2016 with the launch of the Carrera Heuer-02 T, a COSC-certified chronograph watch equipped with a flying tourbillon that retails for a surprisingly accessible price of $15,950 (15,000 Swiss francs), tens of thousands less than most other tourbillon watches. Here’s what you need to know about it.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02 T contains an entirely new movement, based on the company’s CH-80 integrated-chronograph caliber and developed at its workshops in Chevenez in the Swiss Jura. The movement features automatic winding, a frequency of 4 hz (28,800 vph), an integrated, column-wheel-controlled chronograph function, and a power reserve of more than 65 hours stored in a single mainspring barrel. The flying tourbillon, which is hand-crafted by four watchmakers, is exceptionally lightweight, with central sections made of titanium and a top section made of carbon — much like the tourbillon created for TAG Heuer’s Monaco V4, the inspiration for this modern iteration. Sleek black finishing is applied to many of the components, including the skeletonized bridges, column wheel, chronograph bridges, and openworked rotor. All fitting, assembly, and adjustment work is performed by hand at the TAG Heuer manufacture, where the main parts are also produced. The balance spring is source from the Swiss firm Atokalpa, a partner of TAG Heuer. And each finished watch undergoes no less than 21 days of testing to ensure it meets the strict chronometer accuracy standards of the Swiss testing agency COSC.
The watch — which TAG Heuer touts as “the only COSC automatic chronograph with tourbillon produced by the Swiss watch industry for under 15,000 CHF” — is also notable for its case, made of grade-5 titanium for maximum lightness and shock resistance and whose modular construction enables a wide range of combinations in the areas of materials, colors, treatments and finishes. The case measures 45 mm in diameter and consists of 12 separate components — lugs, case middle, bezel, caseback, crown and its moulding, chrono pushers, gaskets between the case middle and bezel, and crystals, the latter of which are made of sapphire.
The dial side of the movement is also skeletonized, in keeping with the look of last year’s Carrera 01 watch, which TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver has announced will be the “backbone” of the Carrera collection going forward. The bicompax dial has subdials at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock for chronograph hours and minutes, respectively. Polished and satin finishes adorn the hands and baton-shaped indices; the hands are treated Super-LumiNova. The one-minute flying tourbillon cage occupies the 6 o’clock position.
The case of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02 T is water-resistant to 100 meters despite its multi-part construction, and comes on a strap made of matte black alligator leather sewn onto black rubber. (A sporty, perforated black rubber strap, as seen above, is also available.) Its deployant clasp is equipped with safety push-buttons. The price for the unlimited model, as stated above and depending on current exchange rates, is just shy of $16,000. TAG Heuer also offers an all-black version nicknamed “Black Phantom” (below), with black titanium carbide coating and gray Super-LumiNova highlights, which is limited to 250 pieces and priced at 19,900 CHF.
Scroll down to see some live photos taken of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 T taken at Baselworld and at an event in New York.