Heuer Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter: Perhaps the most interesting release from TAG Heuer at Baselworld 2015 was the new Carrera Calibre 18. As a big fan of vintage Heuers, this new model from TAG really caught my eye. Maybe that was to be expected, as this watch is heavily vintage-inspired, but it’s still nice to feel enthusiastic about a new watch from TAG Heuer again. In spite of this, I can’t help but feel influenced by the lack of ‘TAG’ on the dial.
The brand drew inspiration for this new model from the very first Heuer chronographs designed specifically for racing drivers back in the 1960s. The focal point of this watch is the fantastic double register ‘panda’ dial, similar to the vintage Carreras that are highly sought-after and collected today. This modern interpretation features two anthracite counters contrasted against a silver-tone background, a great take on the original ‘panda’ dials.
As this is essentially a heritage model, it’s pleasing to see the case in a size respectful to the original Carreras – 39mm diameter. It could be argued that at the 40-41mm mark, too many of the vintage-inspired pieces from TAG Heuer in recent years have not been particularly faithful to the original Heuer pieces – the original Carrera was 36mm. But with the general size trend in recent years regressing, I would say this is probably the perfect size for the current market.
For this new release, the design team made the interesting decision to include a telemeter scale over a tachymeter, the former being something originally used by the military to work out how far artillery fire was from them. This works by starting the chronograph when you see the shell being fired and then stopping when you hear the bang. An approximate distance can then be calculated based on the known speed of sound. Considering the Carrera was conceived as a racing watch back in the 60s, a tachymeter would appear to make more sense, but the telemeter does at least differentiate the model from others in the TAG Heuer range.
This is the second watch to be fitted with the Calibre 18 movement, following the Link Chronograph from 2014, and the attractive movement can also be admired thanks to the sapphire exhibition caseback. The sapphire crystal is domed and the watch sits on a perforated black-leather racing strap, both of which are an appreciative nod to the original Carreras. TAG Heuer have placed the movement inside a ‘Glass Box’, which they claim will make the watch lighter overall, but we are yet to see exactly how much of an effect it will have on the wrist – hopefully it will add to that vintage feel. One thing that definitely will add to the vintage effect is the black perforated leather strap.
Although not strictly labeled as a ‘Limited Edition’, it’s expected that the Carrera Calibre 18 will be produced in fairly low numbers. With the ever-increasing collectability, value, and demand for vintage Heuers in recent years, some may see the Carrera Calibre 18 as attractive investment potential at a retail price of £4150. Investments aside, the Carrera Calibre 18 should prove to be popular among fans of both vintage Heuers and modern TAGs, too.
The Carrera Calibre 18 Telemeter is expected to be available around July 2015. For more information on the Carrera Calibre 18, visit the official TAG Heuer website.