For the 60th anniversary of the Heuer Carrera, TAG Heuer replica watches launches two new interpretations. Functionality has been improved with increased readability and bi-directional autowinding. We speak with Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Director of Movements at TAG Heuer.
Career. Launched in 1963, the iconic TAG Heuer timepiece took its name from the Carrera Panamericana, a road race first held in 1950 that crossed Mexico from north to south for more than 3,000 kilometers. The drivers reached speeds of over 150 km/h. There were numerous accidents, many fatal, and in 1955 the race was canceled for good. However, these five editions were enough to make the Carrera Panamericana a legend in the automobile world. Jack Heuer, a racing enthusiast, was quick to trademark the Heuer Carrera name. The rally was no more, but the Carrera name would live on.
Jack Heuer was determined to give the Carrera a dial that was easy to read, and this spirit guided the team led by Carole Forestier-Kasapi, TAG Heuer Director of Movements, when she was working on the 60th anniversary models. Along with improved legibility and some design changes, the biggest update is the bi-directional self-winding movement that now powers the TAG Heuer Carrera. We sat down with the woman who conceptualized this new caliber, Carole Forestier-Kasapi.
Watch: It is not uncommon for brands to re-launch a vintage model for an anniversary. TAG Heuer could have done the same for the 60th anniversary of the Heuer Carrera. Why did not you do it?
Carole Forestier-Kasapi: The TAG Heuer Carrera 60th Anniversary Edition that we launched in January is a reissue of the 1963 Carrera. This was our way of paying homage to the heritage model. The new versions shown at Watches and Wonders are, shall we say, reinterpretations of the original TAG Heuer Carrera. These evolutions are a good thing. There’s certainly an appeal to reissuing older models, but it’s important not to get stuck in the past. TAG Heuer is a brand that doesn’t stop and the choice to update this model reflects that. There are many benefits to this evolution. It is modern and brings the clock into the 21st century; it retains the spirit of the Heuer Carrera while introducing something new. It is a very different exercise to the reissue of a historical model, and also enriching.
The Heuer Carrera was originally a tool watch that emphasized functionality and legibility. Today’s customers choose it for a matter of taste rather than for professional use. How do you evolve an icon?
You have to remember that when Jack Heuer created the Heuer Carrera, he did it with racing drivers in mind. He came up with some really cutting edge ideas to make the dial easy to read. We have taken this legibility to a higher level in the models shown in Watches and Wonders, creating a 3D effect. This fits with the history of the Carrera. When you show so much respect for the raison d’être of a watch, you sure hit the mark. Jack Heuer gave each element of his design a purpose, as he explains in his autobiography. At TAG Heuer we uphold the tradition of what I call functional design, which is important because it gives meaning to things. It is one of the characteristics of our brand.
Can you explain how the readability has improved?
Whereas before the sphere was flat, now it has a concave profile. The tachymeter scale is on the outer sloping edge and, due to the glass box shape of the crystal, is visible from all angles, even when viewed from the side. This adds a particularly modern feel. The hour circle is located within the curve, which allows the wearer to read the hands more accurately than on a flat dial.
There are two versions: a blue dial and an inverted panda. Why do you think panda spheres are so popular right now?
This model is inspired by a watch that was legendary in its day: the 2447 NST from 1978. The Panda dials accentuate the chronograph function by playing on the contrast between the dial and the chronograph counters. Panda dials appear throughout the history of the brand. When the TAG Heuer Monaco debuted in the late 1960s, for example, it combined a blue dial with white square counters. It was perceived as completely outlandish: most Replica Watches Toppest were round, and here was Jack Heuer launching a square watch.
It was one of the first automatic chronographs on the market. He had a blue sphere when the spheres were beige, gray or white. These were bold choices when you look at it from the perspective of that time. Chronographs were all the rage and interest was growing among a wider public. A self-winding complication had great customer appeal. Most of the chronographs of that period were manually wound. A panda watch is iconic.
A new version, the TH20-00 bidirectional winding, has replaced the TAG Heuer caliber 02 automatic movement. Is this in response to a customer request for a faster winding, or is that what you wanted?
A two-way motion winds up faster, but that wasn’t our main incentive. The winding speed of the Heuer 02, which gave rise to the TH20-00, is already more than enough. First of all, we wanted this new caliber to offer quality and durability. We also took the opportunity to redesign the TAG Heuer shield-shaped skeletonized rotor.
How does this development improve accuracy?
The automatic winding of the movement has been improved and improved in terms of quality. It winds faster and more naturally to reach its full 80-hour power reserve more quickly.
What can you tell us about the tourbillon model?
It stands out for its characteristic TAG Heuer blue dial that we have complemented with a palette of elegant and timeless colors. The orange center hand and orange tachymeter scale are a vibrant touch. It is the perfect interpretation of the TAG Heuer tourbillon. It is powered by the TH20-09 movement, a version of the TH20-00 with the addition of a flying tourbillon complication.
All watches equipped with the TAG Heuer TH20-00 in-house movement are covered by a five-year warranty. How to increase durability?
This is the showcase of the brand experience. Previously, Perfect Fake Watches were warranted for two years, while the movement development and approval process included aging tests corresponding to five years of use. We make sure we’re well beyond that five years. Durability depends on how the various components are designed and how they are lubricated. You need the right oil in the right place in the right amount. Lubrication is extremely complex.
How did you feel when you saw this new TAG Heuer Carrera?
I think this brand is upgrading its competitiveness. It’s heading in the right direction, and that makes me proud.
Can we expect to see a TAG Heuer Carrera with other complications in the next few years, perhaps a minute repeater?
Three question form? I’m not sure, for the simple reason that TAG Heuer replica never had a watch with a bell. I don’t think it’s going to be the brand’s signature complication, but we have a base caliber that might have a complication. We have the will, and we have the means. Let us appreciate this new TAG Heuer Carrera watch and talk about the complex functions in Watches and Wonders!