TAG Heuer Carrera Cal. 18 & Vintage Heuer Carrera (Video)

By Montredo in Reviews
May 10, 2019
TAG Heuer Carrera Cal. 18 & Vintage Heuer Carrera (Video)


Our new series Time Loupe begins and each episode we’re going to have the pleasure of welcoming a high profile guest and presenting together both a vintage watch model and its modern counterpart. Starting things off is the (TAG) Heuer Carrera, a genuine classic, and at one time the first chronograph ever developed specifically for motorsports.

Vintage Heuer Carrera

Our guest, Joram Scher, Partner from Bachmann & Scher in Munich, introduces us to one of the earlier Carrera pieces, which really stands out compared to other, older Carrera models thanks to its red Tachymeter scale. Of course, its famous “T Swiss” lettering isn’t missing that, unlike most other watches, hasn’t been placed at the 6 position on the dial but rather within the chronograph registers. Even today, it is still inseparably connected with vintages Carreras. 

A Valjoux 72 ticks inside the watch: widely considered by many to be the vintage chronograph movement non plus ultra. The calibre at one time was incorporated into the creme de la creme of chronographs e.g. for many years in the Rolex Daytona and in earlier Breitling Navitimers. The Valjoux 72 movement has also been integrated into the Compax series from Universal Genève, as well as in the standard and the calendar version Valjoux 72C. 

The Heuer Carrera belongs among the absolute classics in the world of watches and over the past few years, many earlier Carrera models on the vintage market have substantially gone up in value. Today, Carrera’s belong to the most highly sought after sport’s models from the 1960s.

TAG Heuer Carrera Cal. 18

In comparison, the TAG Heuer Carrera Cal. 18 is a modern chronograph that has been recreated convincingly in the image of Vintage Carreras. For example, the Panda dial with its black contrasting sub-dials and the arrangement of the registers at the 3 and 6 position are a design reference to the legacy of the Carrera. The rounded edges of the sapphire glass convey the charm of a watch from the 1960s, without sacrificing the convenience of highly scratch resistant sapphire glass. 

An ETA 2892 with a Dubois-Dépraz chronograph module that oscillates with a frequency of 28.800 A/h and has a power reserve of 42 hours has been incorporated into the timepiece. Its telemeter scale really stands out and is an ideal compromise between the elegant optics of a fully scale free watch while still offering the sporty character of a tachymeter scale.

Bottom Line

While both of the watches we have presented are quite similar in terms of their design, there is a world of difference as far as their tech is concerned. On the one hand: a classic column wheel chronograph with three registers. On the other hand: a modular movement with slotted lever shift and two sub dials. All things considered, the Carrera Cal. 18 is an all-round successful design reference on a classic, whose price of 4.900,- EUR we consider to be ambitious, but still reasonable. However, the decision of the placement of the “Swiss Made” lettering on the lower portion of the dial, ultimately counter to a design revival of perhaps the most recognisable feature of a Vintage Carrera as well as the absence of a manufacture movement, is still a hard pill for us to swallow.

Old and New Overview

Vintage Heuer Carrera

Brand: Heuer

Case Size: 36 mm

Case Material: Stainless Steel

Case Glass: Plexiglass

Dial Scaling: Tachymeter scale

Calibre: Valjoux 72

System: Column wheel

Mechanism: Hand winding

TAG Heuer Carrera Cal. 18

Brand: TAG Heuer (branded as Heuer)

Case Size: 39 mm

Case Material: Rounded Sapphire glass

Dial Scaling: Telemeter scale

Calibre: ETA 2892 with a Dubois-Dépraz Chronograph module

System: Slotted Lever Shift

Mechanism: Automatic winding

List Price: EUR 4.900,-