Hands-On: Angus Davies gets hands-on with the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Red Bull Racing Special Edition.
This detailed review of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Red Bull Racing Special Edition includes live images, specification and pricing.
In 2015, TAG Heuer unveiled the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01. This timepiece marked a landmark in watchmaking owing to its modular construction. While other cases are composed of two or three parts, the Carrera Heuer 01 is formed of 12 different components, allowing the avant-garde watchmaker to combine an array of materials to spellbinding effect.
Since first writing about the inaugural Carrera Heuer 01 I have reviewed an array of model variants, each exuding its own distinctive character. The latest example of the Swiss brand’s creativity comes in the form of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Red Bull Racing Special Edition.
‘TAG Heuer is the Official Timekeeper, Official Watch and Team Performance Partner of Red Bull Racing and since 2016 has been the official engine naming Partner of the team.’ The Red Bull Racing Special Edition watch harnesses the team’s colours and, as a result, brims with an air of sportiness. Indeed, this so-called sportiness is augmented with the fitment of a quilted leather and rubber strap, delivered in the racing team’s eye-catching blue livery.
Recently, I had the pleasure of getting hands-on with the Carrera Heuer 01 Red Bull Racing Special Edition.
Congruent with other Carrera Heuer 01 models the dial is openworked, but in this instance features blue accents.
Rhodium-plated hour and minute hands deftly convey the prevailing time. Each hand is lined with luminescent fill, heightening the ease of read-off in restricted light. Each hour is signified with a rhodium-plated two-digit marker, granting notable levels of lucidity.
Three subdials occupy the dial. A 12-hour chronograph register at 6 o’clock, a small seconds is adjacent 9 o’clock and a 30-minute register beneath noon. Interestingly, the latter subdial is labelled, ‘drive timer’ and features red detailing.
Located at 3 o’clock is the TAG Heuer, shield-shaped logo, while at 3:30 sits the date display. The date appears more obvious than on some other Carrera Heuer 01 models and I can only attribute this to the contrast conferred with the blue dial elements.
A potential risk of an open-worked dial is that it can mar the legibility of the dial, however, in this instance the dial proves simple to read.
The case cleverly alternates between black PVD steel and plain steel. This interplay proves particularly attractive and shows the benefits of the aforementioned modular construction.For example, the push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock feature steel cylindrical pushers, while the pushpiece surrounds affixed to the case are made of black PVD steel.
Black rubber and steel combine to form a pleasingly tactile crown. The lugs are plain steel, while the case-band is black PVD steel. The contrast of materials makes for a highly agreeable aesthetic.
The blue bezel is etched with a tachymeter scale. The differing depths of the text and the bezel confer interest and deliver a permanence which is often lacking with some printed bezels. The angular lugs combine straight edges and acute angles to pleasing effect.
TAG Heuer has equipped the timepiece with an exhibition case-back, featuring a smoked pane of sapphire crystal adorned with the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team logo. While this latter personalisation indulges the whims of motorsport enthusiasts it does slightly impair the view of the superb Calibre Heuer-01 Automatic movement.
I have already mentioned the blue leather and black rubber strap, however, further discussion is justified. The texture of the strap resembles a racing car seat, courtesy of the numerous rows of stitching which create an eye-catching quilted effect. When placed upon the wrist, it feels luxurious and implores the wearer to fondle its form with an inquisitive finger.
The Calibre Heuer 01 is an automatic, Manufacture chronograph. It features a red column-wheel and performs sweetly. Pressing the push-pieces delivers an impressively smooth feel and resetting the chronograph results in the central chronograph seconds hand zeroing perfectly, free of any wobble.
Such quality in a movement is normally the preserve of far costlier watches, illustrating the excellent value for money this timepiece represents, £4600 (RRP as at 26.10.2017).
Owing to the previously mentioned smoked pane of sapphire crystal, it is difficult to ascertain the finishing of the movement, although it is clear to see that the bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève and the oscillating mass is black and open-worked.
The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 39 jewels. The power reserve is 50 hours in normal operation and 40 hours when the chronograph is running.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Red Bull Racing Special Edition is a handsome timepiece which will undoubtedly appeal to admirers of the Formula One race team.
It has an array of strengths, including a highly legible display, attractive open-worked dial and fascinating case construction. Most notably, the movement is sublime and atypical of watches within this price segment.
This is an impressive chronograph and looks superb with its blue quilted strap.
Keen pricing is a key attribute of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01. Modular construction delivers notable economies, allowing the Swiss brand to deliver incredible value for money. I can think of few other watches which feature a column-wheel Manufacture chronograph within this price segment.
With a myriad of potential case and dial options yet to be realised, I suspect I will be reviewing many more Carrera Heuer 01 models over the next few years.
• Model: TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Red Bull Racing Special Edition
• Case: Stainless steel; diameter 45mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and case-back.
• Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph.
• Movement: Calibre Heuer-01; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 39 jewels; power reserve = 50 hours.
• Strap: Blue leather and black rubber strap with racing car-seat effect supplied on steel deployant buckle
• Price: £4600 (RRP as at 26.10.2017)
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.