The TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition Calibre Heuer 02 debuts the partnership we were waiting for
The 2021 partnership between TAG Heuer and Porsche is among the most unexpected pieces of news and proof positive that TAG Heuer has embarked on a new and exciting journey. TAG Heuer has an unparalleled racing DNA, and this long-term project is, to my eyes, equally pleasing the brand's die-hard fans and younger generations who are approaching luxury sports watchmaking with a soft spot for motorsport heritage.
The TAG Heuer Carrera, Porsche and the racing DNA
To most fans', the brand's racing pedigree is rooted in the seventies, when President Jack Heuer used to attend Formula One and endurance races across Europe and overseas. His Carrera chronographs (along with Monacos and more) were standard equipment to racing drivers, movie stars, race engineers, and race team principals (e.g., Mauro Forghieri). Jo Siffert and Steve McQueen were the top promoters of a team of ambassadors who made a Carrera or a Monaco watch the most desired chronograph outside the racing course and made Heuer the quintessential racing chronograph's manufacturer.
The TAG Heuer Carrera took its inspiration from the Carrera Panamericana, as Porsche did with the iconic 911. The relationship between these two brands has always been a close one and never stopped, even during Porsche and TAG Heuer's most challenging days. Those who were teenagers during the seventies and the early eighties, like the undersigned, can't forget, for example, when a TAG-developed F1 Porsche engine powered Alain Prost's McLaren. The story goes that TAG acquired Heuer before TAG Heuer finally joined the LVMH's watchmaking portfolio.
TAG Heuer recently signed a first official partnership within the Formula E championship. However, such a relationship was still on-going in 2010 when the Porsche Club of America (PCA) partnered with the "Swiss avant-garde since 1860" brand to produce a 55-piece limited edition Monaco crafted to please the world's biggest Porsche Club's proud members (photo: Antiquorum).
The TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition 44 mm Caliber Heuer 02 is the first outcome of a new vision.
Like two people having a long-term secret affair, Porsche and TAG Heuer have long-awaited before signing an official agreement, whose mission is a list of products rather than a one-off. Kudos to the new and young brand's CEO for signing it off and making TAG Heuer the luxury sports watchmaker it deserves, thus officially ending a cycle of disputable marketing strategies and profitability-driven timepieces, whose outcome is low brand awareness. I believe the new strategy will soon pay back and quickly strengthen TAG Heuer's prestige among the top rated chronographs' manufacturers.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition, in brief.
As soon as we received the TAG Heuer's teasers portraying a 911's silhouette, our expectations were high. I fully understand why TAG has not attended the LVMH Watch Week later in January; such a project deserved a different scenario. However, Porsche's and TAG Heuer's first outcome isn't as mind-blowing as foreseen.
Those eager to discover something revolutionary got quite a disappointment; we're in front of a standard, yet well-executed, co-branded Carrera. The product is excellent, it showcases the good built quality we're familiar with the new Carrera, but it's nevertheless a product variation on a standard 44mm large Carrera with black ceramic bezel, housing the Heuer 02 manufacture movement.
The design teams surgically customized the base formula with the red Porsche logo on the bezel, a skeletonized winding mass in the shape of a three-spoke Porsche steering wheel, and conceived a dial combining a tarmac-looking finish with large applied Arabic numerals.
I would not say I like the numerals that much since the font does not match the font on the bezel; conversely, this layout makes the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition 44 mm Caliber Heuer 02 intensely glow in the dark. The timepiece comes with the signature H-shaped link bracelet or a distinctive new leather strap with stitching and folding clasp, which is my favorite option.
The new partnership opens a new chapter and steps the Carrera up; I'm eager to find out what's next in the product pipeline. Its success will depend much on the kind of timepieces TAG Heuer will release moving forward. I hope they will be less mainstream. Let's expect other collections to carry the Porsche insignia: a Porsche-branded Monaco on the likes of the Gulf Monaco, for instance, is a not-to-be-missed chance if you ask me.
With that said, adding the official Porsche logo is quite an achievement. To sum things up, I approve TAG Heuer's vision, and I am sure that the new TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition is just the dawn of a new era. The retail price is 5,500 Euro on a leather strap, and 5.700 Euro on bracelet.
(Photo credit: courtesy of TAG Heuer)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®