TAG Heuer

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Introduction to the TAG Heuer Carrera

A steel Tag Heuer Carrera Heuer Watch.

Few watches embody the spirit of motorsports like the TAG Heuer Carrera. These luxury watches combine function and utility in a single, elegant package that looks just as at home on the track as in the boardroom.

The Carrera sends a message of power, speed, and danger. It's named after the most dangerous race in the world, the Carrera Panamericana, a 2,178-mile race that ran from El Paso, Texas to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. It's often compared to the Rolex Daytona that was produced in the same period, with dials made by the same manufacturer.

TAG Heuer
Carrera Features and Audience

When the original version of the Carrera entered the market in 1963, many watches on the market bore a military influence. Jack Heuer thought these military-focused timepieces were too cluttered and difficult to read, instead longing for a simplicity in his watches. He cleaned up the watch dial and decreased the overall size by incorporating divisions in the outer crystal ring. Doing so made the outer bezel unnecessary.

The Carrera had more space on its dial than other watches of the period and would go on to make the 1960s one of the most innovative decades in TAG Heuer’s history. Since its inception, there have been more than 10 generations of the Carrera.

Today, TAG Heuer targets a younger audience: men and women who care about style and utility but who appreciate the intrinsic value that a long history can lend to an item. The Carrera appeals to new watch buyers that want to enter the world of high-end timepieces at more affordable price points.

The original audience for the Carrera, however, can be summed up easily: fans of Steve McQueen. While that may be something of a generalization, the original 1963 release appealed to fans of motorsports and sought to release a watch with the same suave “cool” that Steve McQueen embodied.

TAG Heuer Carrera Value

A Tag Heuer Carrera Mechanical Automatic.

Mechanical Automatic Carreras

The TAG Heuer Carrera line has prices as diverse as those that participated in its namesake race. The most affordable mechanical automatic Carreras retail for $1,550, while the most expensive (and rarest) version of the watch can exceed $25,000.

A Tag Heuer Carrera Women

Carrera Watches Made for Women

With so many generations of Carrera on the market, finding exactly the make you want can be a bit difficult. Carrera watches made for women have lower price points than the equivalent watch for men. Unlike many watch brands, TAG Heuer does not have too many spinoffs of the Carrera. The difference in value lies in the design of the watch itself and whether it is one of the few special edition timepieces.

Carrera Manchester United Special Edition.

Carrera Manchester United Special Edition

For instance, the Carrera Manchester United Special Edition commands a price of $5,750—lower than many of the most expensive versions and priced competitively to non-special-edition Carreras with similar features.

A Tag Heuer Carrera Senna

Carrera Senna

Another special edition Carrera is the Carrera Senna, an automatic chronograph watch that retails for $21,200.

Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph.

Chronograph Carrera Watches

When shopping for chronograph Carrera watches, keep in mind that the more expensive models utilize a COSC-certified chronograph.

TAG Heuer Carrera Care and Maintenance

TAG Heuer recommends cleaning metal watch bands with a soft toothbrush and warm soapy water, before polishing with a soft cloth. Leather straps are more vulnerable to moisture, so the company recommends avoiding frequent contact with water and taking care with the strap. Be advised that a unique patina will form over the years. If you have a nylon or rubber strap, simply rinse off any dirt and debris. The straps are water resistant.

Watchmaker’s Perspective

The TAG Heuer Carrera is famous for its rich history and vintage racing chronograph style, but that didn't stop the brand from introducing a modern refresh of the Carrera with its Carrera Heuer 02. The Carrera Heuer 02 has a lot going for it, but the skeletonized dial really stands out.

Watchmaking has many industry specific terms, such as saying wheels instead of gears, or dials instead of faces. A skeletonized watch is a term used when a watch has had superfluous parts cut away to reveal the mechanism. Most of the time, skeletonization in mechanical watchmaking refers to a process done to the movement. Large parts of bridges and cocks may be cut away to make the interior parts more visible. This is usually only visible by looking at the back of the watch through a caseback crystal.

In the Carrera Heuer 02, the skeletonization has been done to the dial itself, so that the movement is easily visible without taking the watch off of your wrist. The effect from this process gives the watch an incredibly modern look, effectively bringing the Carrera Heuer 02 out of the vintage category and into the future.

Tag Heuer Carrera 02