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TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

In 1860, Edouard Heuer began making pocket watches in Saint-Imier. The new TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition has been created to celebrate this landmark in the company’s history. Unusually, the design is a synergistic blend of two models, the legendary Heuer Carrera and the White Heuer Montreal, reference 11503W of 1972.

TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

TAG Heuer is often described as ‘avant-garde’, however, the modernity of its creations is coupled with an impressive heritage. Few companies can rival its admirable 160 year history. Likewise, hardly any watch brands can match TAG Heuer’s incredible back catalogue of former models.

Image – White Heuer Montreal, reference 11503W

The Heuer Carrera needs little introduction. The first Heuer Carrera was launched in 1963 and was named after a dangerous road race across Mexico, the Carrera Panamerica. The model has remained a byword for legibility. Indeed, every Carrera model boasts a dial free of clutter and proves eminently readable. Furthermore, the chronograph enjoys legendary status and is adored by legions of admirers.

Image – White Heuer Montreal, reference 11503W

In 1972, the Electronics Division of Heuer launched the LED ‘Microsplit’ stopwatch. Accurate to 1/100th of second, this perfectly demonstrates the brand’s pioneering spirit. The second major launch of that year was the ‘Montreal’ chronograph, again ultra-modern but in this instance, equipped with a mechanical chronograph movement. This model featured two registers, date, tachymeter scale, pulsometer scale, cushion-shaped case and an integrated strap/bracelet.

Image – White Heuer Montreal, reference 11503W

Now, TAG Heuer, keen to celebrate its 160th anniversary, has chosen to fuse the DNA of the Carrera and the Montreal, creating something new but with a hint of familiar period charm. Recently, I viewed the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition at close quarters and found it to be beautifully proportioned and devilishly handsome.

The dial

Unusually, the dial of the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition encompasses several shades, including blue, red, yellow and white. When creating this new model, the Swiss avant-garde brand took inspiration from the White Heuer Montreal, reference 11503W.

TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

The rhodium-plated hour and minute hands are lined with a generous dose of yellow Super-LumiNova ®. The faceted, baton-type indexes are silver-toned and complemented with yellow luminescent dots, positioned adjacently on a blue ring.

Three snailed subdials populate the dial, pairing a rich blue tone with white markings. Interestingly, the 30-minute chronograph register, positioned at 3 o’clock, features judiciously applied smatterings of yellow. A small seconds display and 12-hour chronograph register are positioned at 6 and 9 o’clock, respectively.

TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

TAG Heuer has endowed the Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition with a punchy, red lacquered central chronograph seconds hand. The dial area is delineated with a white flange marked with a minute track. Curiously, the track features blue strokes from 0-15 minutes, while the remaining minutes are depicted in red.

Finally, the horological vista is completed with the words ‘Carrera’ and ‘Heuer’, consistent with the Carrera models of the 1960s.

The case

When examining the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition, there is a welcome sense of familiarity. The case shares the same design as the housing of the 160 Years Silver Limited Edition, released earlier this year, in January 2020.

 

Image – TAG Heuer 160 Years Silver Limited Edition

The dial is viewed via a modern-day glass box sapphire crystal, a tougher alternative to the plastic crystals used in the 1960s. Measuring 39mm in diameter, this limited edition model does not overburden the wrist with unnecessary bulk and should attract a broad range of prospective wearers.

TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

Each facet of the case is highly polished and yet the overall look remains tasteful and refined. One delightful detail which particularly appeals to me are the lug’s sloping inner sections adjacent the strap.  The chronograph pushpieces resemble capstans, a profile familiar to all sailors. The Heuer nomen graces the vertical flank of the crown, eschewing the firm’s present-day double barrel name.

TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

The Calibre Heuer 02 movement is visible via the exhibition case back.

 

An attractively grained, blue alligator leather strap heightens the sense of luxury and is paired with the brand’s tried and trusted, supremely refined, polished steel folding clasp.

The movement

Once again, TAG Heuer has chosen to equip another model with its technical tour de force, the Calibre Heuer 02. Certainly, this is a wise decision as this movement possesses several attributes. The integrated chronograph features the optimal pairing of a column wheel and vertical coupling. This winning combination delivers a velvety pushpiece feel that surpasses the more widely used, cam-actuated chronograph.

 

When the chronograph is actuated or halted, there is no discernible hesitation, unlike most other stopwatch-equipped watches. This superior responsiveness ensures the measured elapsed time is more precise.

The Calibre Heuer 02 is less susceptible to wear when contrasted with alternative types of chronograph movements. Furthermore, modular chronograph movements are often adversely affected by ‘drag’ which impairs the precision of the watch. This is because, with many chronographs, the amplitude drops when the chronograph is operational.

The TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition features an openworked oscillating weight inscribed with ‘160 years of avant-garde’ and bears the company’s present-day logo. The bridges are embellished with Côtes de Genève motif and the column wheel is presented in a stealthy shade of black.

Another key benefit of the Calibre Heuer 02 is that it has a prodigious power reserve, allowing the watch to run autonomously for up to 80 hours.

Closing remarks

I frequently review TAG Heuer models and, over the years, I have grown increasingly knowledgeable about the marque and its watches. It seems unnecessary to comment on the legibility of a particular model, as excellent readability appears to be an intrinsic characteristic common to all TAG Heuer creations. Jack Heuer was famously obsessed with clean dials and optimal readability, providing a legacy the Maison clearly respects. Rest assured, this latest model upholds Jack’s design philosophy.

TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition

The notion of fusing two, very different designs sounds fraught with potential danger. Thankfully, there is no need for the brand’s devotees to fret. This design is the synergistic result of skilfully combining the genes of two watches. The resultant appearance proves spectacular.

Another risky aspect is creating a chronograph dial suffused with several shades. The presence of counters, already makes the dial of a chronograph intrinsically busy, hence the addition of numerous tones sounds like a recipe for distracting clutter and a somewhat garish aesthetic. However, once again there is no need to fret. The numerous hues work in harmony and there is no hint of vulgar excess. Quite simply, TAG Heuer’s design team have delivered a highly attractive watch.

This brings me to my final point. TAG Heuer appears to have the Midas touch at present. In the last couple of years, the brand has repeatedly launched one stunning watch, followed by another, then another. Many have been inspired by the past, but all have been designed for the present-day and beyond. It begs me to ask, what can we expect next from the firm that consistently delivers?

Further reading

https://www.tagheuer.com/

Technical specifications

  • Model: TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition
  • Reference: CBK221C.FC6488
    Case: Stainless steel; diameter 39 mm; water resistance 10ATM (100m); sapphire crystal to the front and exhibition case back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; chronograph
  • Movement: Calibre Heuer 02 Manufactureautomatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 33 jewels; power reserve = 80 hours
  • Bracelet: Blue alligator leather strap with polished steel folding clasp with double safety push buttons
  • Price $6750 (RRP in US$ as at 25.6.2020) 
  • Limited Edition: 1000 pieces 

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