TAG Heuer marked the 50th anniversary of its flagship Carrera collection last week in Geneva as a number of premier watch brands presented their 2013 novelties at the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) and other events around the city.
In addition to hosting a special exhibition tracing Carrera’s evolution amid specially commissioned artworks, the brand unveiled two new Carreras both referencing the case design of last year’s super-high-frequency Carrera Mikrogirder, which took the Aiguille d’Or (watch of the year prize) at last November’s Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.
The Carrera Carbon Matrix Composite Concept Chronograph is the latest concept watch to join a lineup that includes last year’s Mikrotimer Flying 1000 Concept Chronograph and 2004’s belt-driven Monaco V4 Concept, which launched as a production model in 2007.
Though the Carbon Matrix Composite Concept Chronograph’s design pays tribute to the original 1963 Carrera envisioned by Jack Heuer, the watch’s space-age carbon composite material comes straight from Formula One racing and the aerospace industry.
TAG Heuer also employs the same manufacturing methods used in those fields to machine and finish the case, back, and bezel with fine detailing. TAG Heuer claims that both the material and the complex miniaturized manufacturing process employed to construct the watch are unprecedented in the industry. Inside the extremely light and robust case, weighing only 10.5 grams (about one-third of an ounce), beats the Calibre 1887, the brand’s first in-house movement, an integrated column-wheel chronograph that debuted in 2011.
The same 39-jewel movement can also be admired through the smoked sapphire crystal case back of the new Calibre 1887 Jack Heuer 50th Anniversary Edition ($7,800), appointed with its namesake’s coat of arms and signature.
Like the Carrera Carbon Matrix Composite Concept Chronograph, the anniversary piece references the Mikrogirder’s asymmetrical bull-head case design that is slightly thicker at the top where the crown and chronograph pushers are positioned like the classic stopwatches Jack Heuer used on pro-racing circuits around the world.
The 45mm case is constructed from hand-brushed and polished black titanium carbide and steel, while the dial, featuring a tachymeter and pulsometer, honors the uncluttered, easy-to-read layout of the original Carreras designed for professional drivers. TAG Heuer will produce a yet-to-be-determined number of pieces scheduled for delivery later this year.