TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM

The TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM blends the aesthetics of a vintage watch with the convenience and practicality of a self-winding movement. Angus Davies enjoys a period of ‘hands-on’ evaluation, appreciating the distinct absence of patination.

This detailed review of the TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM includes live images, specification details and pricing.

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There have been numerous technological advances in the sphere of medicine which have enriched the lives of many. The world of commerce has significantly benefited from the advent of the computer and modern communication tools such as email. Today’s cars deliver impressive performance while sipping less fuel.

There are many reasons to celebrate innovation and change. Indeed, thanks to technological evolution, a host of new occupations have emerged, in some cases replacing jobs which were mundane or potentially injurious to health.

In the field of watches, TAG Heuer has been at the forefront of avant-garde horology. The Swiss watch company has produced some incredible, ground-breaking watches such as the CARRERA MikroPendulum, a high frequency chronograph featuring a magnetic oscillator. Another example of the brand’s creative prowess is the MONACO V4 Tourbillon, incorporating belt drives, a linear mass and ball bearings.

I adore contemporary watches. However, I do not like all aspects of modern life.

For example, I despise centralised call centres. The option of visiting a real person in an office or shop would now appear to be a convenience rendered to history. So-called progress now necessitates waiting in a virtual queue for 30+ minutes whilst being told ‘your call is important, please stay on the line’. Is this progress?

When going on the internet and viewing my phone bill, credit card statement or bank account, I am repeatedly bombarded with ‘pop-up’ messages asking if I would like ‘paperless statements’. I don’t want the faff of printing information which has always arrived through my letterbox, perfectly well, for many years. Why do I have to change?

The fact is, there are some supposed improvements, promoted by penny-pinching businesses, which really irritate me. Perhaps my reaction is a function of my age. Indeed, I have now reached a stage in life where more things annoy me and cause me to proclaim to my long suffering wife that ‘the world has gone mad’.

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It is probably this mindset which makes me look over my shoulder, figuratively speaking, and remember, with dewy-eyed sentiment, people, events and products of the past. It is probably for this reason, that I recently gravitated to a TAG Heuer watch which is blessed with a high dose of retro aesthetics.

In creating the TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM, part of the CARRERA family of watches, the maison has set aside the neoteric design language found with many of its timepieces. In so doing, it has conceived a new watch blessed with a vintage mien that I find most endearing.

The dial

The silver opaline dial exudes a wonderful retro character and assumes a supportive role for the gleaming, highly polished, yellow gold plated hands and indexes. The yellow gold shade is reminiscent of watches from the 1950s and 60s, providing an interesting alternative to the highly popular 5N red gold which has become prevalent in today’s marketplace.

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Each applied index resembles an isosceles triangle with a truncated tip. The tapering profile of each index guides the eyes to the fulcrum of the dial where the key presentation of time takes place. Each faceted edge of the indexes has its own unique conversation with light, granting much allure to the overall dial vista.

The hour and minute hands are lined with luminescent material, delivering a green emission in restricted light. The central sweep seconds hand is tastefully slender and moves with a modern gait, courtesy of the contemporary 4Hz Calibre 7 movement.

At 3 o’clock, a date display quietly resides. The black Arabic numerals are paired with a vestal white date disc, delivering a highly perspicuous indication. A printed black minuterie occupies the periphery of the dial, suitably marked with ¼ second integers, befitting the frequency of the balance wheel.

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Printed on the dial below noon is a period ‘Heuer’ logo, heightening the quotient of nostalgia wonderfully. This is a timepiece which imparts a vintage vibe with none of the disadvantages normally associated with antique watch ownership. Unlike some collectors, I don’t like patination. I find the distressed look of some vintage models aggravates my OCD condition and leaves me yearning for a blemish-free horological aspect.

The dial accords an impressive degree of readability, proving very practical, while at the same time evincing a most agreeable vintage appearance.

The case

When I held the TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM in my hands, I momentarily felt as if I had been given a cherished family heir loom owing to the shade of its sumptuous case.

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The 39mm 18-carat yellow gold case has a pale, almost barley-like tone to its surface. The gold alloy used in this instance is 3N, resulting in a particularly soft, yellow shade. The use of 1N or 2N would have led to an even lighter, paler appearance, however, the 3N looks magnificent. By selecting 3N, TAG Heuer has imbued the watch case with an appearance often only found in the auction house catalogues.

The case diameter of 39mm is comparatively small by modern standards, although it would have been considered large back in the 1960s. While my own behemoth arms would probably suit a slightly larger case, for the ‘average’ wearer the scale of this watch is perfect and befits the period character of the watch.

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There is a sense of omnipresent neatness with all aspects of the TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM. The horns gently taper and feature bevelled flanks. The crown sits close to the polished caseband, proving unobtrusive and discreet. Gracing the vertical plane of the crown is a retro ‘Heuer’ logo, augmenting, once again, the sense of nostalgia.

Unlike many timepieces of the 1960s and 70s, the TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM is equipped with an exhibition caseback, sidestepping a traditional solid caseback typically favoured in the past.

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My press loan sample came supplied on a black alligator leather strap, paired with a solid 18-carat 3N yellow gold pin buckle. The ensemble of case, strap and pin buckle delivered a sublime degree of wearer comfort.

The movement

Many wristwatches in the 1960s, sharing similar aesthetics to the TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM, would have featured a hand-wound movement, necessitating regular user-input. The self-winding Calibre 7 movement within this watch delivers a touch of modern-day practicality to the ownership proposition, making it ideal for daily wear.

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The oscillating mass is partly open-worked and adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, while the bridges below are decorated with perlage. A sole spring barrel delivers 42 – 46 hours of autonomous operation.

Closing remarks

The appeal of the TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM is that it captures the majesty of watches from a bygone age but without any apparent disadvantages. Quite simply its tarnish-free, period appearance is gorgeous.

In some areas of life, style and functionality are mutually exclusive concepts. However, in this instance, the TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox delivers peerless readability with an abundance of retro-inspired styling prowess.

The 39mm case offers excellent wearer comfort and the contemporary self-winding Calibre 7 is ‘low-maintenance’, obviating the need for frequent winding. This is a watch perfectly suited for daily wear. Moreover, the asking price of £6400.00 (RRP as at 2.8.2016) represents excellent value for a Swiss watch equipped with a solid 18-carat gold case.

This timepiece draws on the beauty of the past and blends it with contemporary know-how to splendiferous effect. Indeed, by wearing this watch, TAG Heuer has provided me with a free dose of therapy. The ‘world has not gone mad’. This timepiece shows there are many benefits of avant-garde thought and modern-day manufacturing techniques. Moreover, while there is much wisdom looking back to former designs for inspiration, there is equally much virtue in looking ahead to the future, a philosophy TAG Heuer clearly embraces with consummate skill.

Technical specification

  • Model: TAG Heuer CARRERA 100M Calibre 7 Glassbox 39MM
  • Reference: WAR2140.FC8159
  • Case: 18-carat yellow 3N gold; diameter 39mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date.
  • Movement: Calibre 7; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 21-25 jewels depending on the execution; power reserve 42-46 hours
  • Strap: Black alligator leather strap paired with a solid 18-carat yellow gold pin buckle
  • Price: £6,400 (RRP as at 2.8.2016)

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