When Jack Heuer took over Heuer in 1962, the first watch that he launched was the Carrera. The Carrera was created partly to revitalize Heuer’s range of chronograph watches but also because Jack became enamored with motor racing after attending the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race and learning about the notorious La Carrera Panamericana race. That’s where the Carrera name came from – not the Porsche 911 Carrera as some might think. More importantly, the Carrera soon became a cornerstone for Heuer and in celebration of its 55th anniversary, TAG Heuer has introduced a new Carrera model called the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph GMT. Let’s take a closer look at it now.
All images by Ariel Adams
With its 45mm wide stainless steel case, there’s no getting around that the Carrera Chronograph GMT is a big watch. TAG Heuer does not disclose its thickness, but I reckon it is at least 15mm thick. Along with the muscular lugs, chunky chronograph pushers, and the fairly large and conspicuous black and blue bezel, the Carrera Chronograph GMT wears large and exudes a ton of wrist presence. Water resistance is a very adequate 100m, which is very fitting for a sports watch such as this.
The bezel is ceramic and comes in black and blue – blue for the daytime hours and black for the nighttime hours – not unlike the Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 116710BLNR. I can see why some people, especially Heuer purists, are upset with this color choice, but if I were to be practical, I would say that it is rather attractive. That said, I do admit that a red and blue ‘Pepsi’ style bezel would make more sense since vintage Heuer Autavia GMT watches did sport red and blue GMT bezels.
The dial is skeletonized and shows off a good deal of the Heuer 02 movement. The counters are arranged at 3-6-9, which pays homage to the original Carrera chronograph watches from the ’60s. To ensure legibility, the hour markers are rhodium-plated as are the hour, minute, and second hands. The GMT hand is in bright red. The 12-hour and 30-minute chronograph registers are positioned at 9 and 3 o’clock respectively and feature rhodium-plated hands and rhodium-plated snailed rings. The running seconds counter is at 6 o’clock and it is distinguished by its blue snailed ring. All in all, I find the dial quite easy to read and interesting to look at.
Look closely, and you will find that within the dial is a fixed 24-hour scale, along with the 24-hour bezel, this makes it easy for the owners to track up to three time zones. There’s also a pretty inconspicuous date window at 4:30, executed in the same style as the Hublot Big Bang Unico. In fact, the way the dial is executed reminds me of the Big Bang Unico – not that it is a bad thing, is it?
If you look at the earliest advertisements of this Caliber 11 watches, you find the Monaco described as having been designed by a famous “Korean Designer” I’m not sure how true that was, since Jack makes no reference of any particular designer beyond Piquerez in his biography when discussing the Monaco, but it had been apparent that between these 3 brand new automatic watches, it was the Autavia which was intended for the monitor. The Monaco wasn’t meant to be about the wrist of anyone at LeMans, which was a happy accident.So much has been made about who has worn the Monaco, we believed it was time we gave it a shot ourselves. The watch we could get for this review is indeed the prototypical McQueen watch, reference 1133 from late 1971. This one only appears to have a gray dial rather than a blue one, so its full mention is a 1133G, when compared with the McQueen 1133B. What you notice about the Monaco is how big the case is. It’s actually quite large, especially for vintage standards, and sits high on the wrist due to the modular chronograph movement and sandwiched, 30m watertight case.One can realize that the pushers and crown are really cut from the top region of the circumstance, which acts as a small shield against accidental activation or jolt. The pushers are ridged, like they are on Autavias of the time. The corners of the square instances area a bit rounded, which is really what makes this watch operate. When there were sharp angles on the case, I’m not sure it would have seen the same success because it did within the past four decades. The dial of this Monaco is very flat, though still rather interesting. Obviously it’s square shaped, with a round second track that includes lume plots at each hour mark. Additionally, there are employed metallic markers at each hour, with bigger markers at the corners (11, two ,7, and 4 o’clock).
The movement within is the in-house Heuer 02, which combines a self-winding chronograph with a GMT complication. The chronograph features a vertical clutch and column wheel. The movement is visible through the sapphire display caseback and it is adequately decorated for its price. You won’t find hand-beveled bridges here, but the Heuer 02 movement does have a skeletonized rotor and large bridges finished with Côtes de Genève. The Heuer 02 beats at 4Hz and has a generous power reserve of over three days – 75 hours to be exact.
All things considered, the new Carrera Chronograph GMT is a pretty sweet sports chronograph from TAG Heuer. Obviously, not everyone is going to be a fan of its chunky dimensions or of its somewhat messy dial, but if you like your sports watch big and complicated, the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph GMT could be right up your alley. The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph GMT is priced at $6,150 with a stainless steel bracelet and $5,950 with a rubber strap. tagheuer.com