TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer

The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer is equipped with an internal rotating bezel proving ideal for measuring intervals of up to 60 minutes. However, Angus Davies urges readers to use it responsibly.

This detailed review of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer includes live images, specification details and pricing.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Whenever I hold a watch in my hands, it invariably evokes recollections of past experiences and the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer proves to be no exception. This watch, sold only in the brand’s boutiques, takes me back to a former career when I spent an inordinate amount of time behind the steering wheel of a car.

My sales role at the time necessitated driving huge distances between customer appointments. While the motorways were not as congested as they are today, there would inevitably be delays. As I sat stationary on the M6, my mind would frenetically calculate the average speed needed to arrive at my appointment on time. This was an era before satellite navigation became commonplace and arithmetic calculation was required to determine an estimated time of arrival.

Looking back at this period in my life, it now seems ridiculous that I would put myself under this pressure. Fortunately, there were no tragic consequences of my behaviour, perhaps just a few additional grey hairs.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer is equipped with an internal rotating bezel, ideally suited for measuring elapsed time. I cannot help thinking that wearing this watch during my former sales career, I would have used its specification to drive inappropriately, merely to avoid the embarrassment of arriving five minutes late.

Therefore, before proceeding further, I urge readers considering this watch to use the internal rotating bezel responsibly.

The dial

When it came to dial designs, Jack Heuer was always preoccupied with ‘clear, clean designs’, wonderfully demonstrated with the first Carrera chronograph released in 1963.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer looks unlike any other Carrera model. The hour and minute hands, presented in a brilliant unsullied white shade are unique to this watch. Large, white Arabic numerals indicate the hours and are modern in appearance. Indeed, this timepiece delivers crisp legibility with a welcome absence of ambiguity; nothing can be misinterpreted, everything is expressed with absolute clarity.

A white slender central seconds hand, tipped in red, touches the white strokes positioned between each hour marker and a date aperture is located at 3 o’clock.

The crown, located at 10 o’clock, is similar in design to the one used on some of the TAG Heuer Formula One timepieces, with a red ring dissecting the knurled grip. It is used to adjust the internal rotating bezel which is marked with a minute track and Arabic numerals every 5-minute integer. If the red triangular index at noon is positioned adjacent the minute hand, the inner bezel can be used as a 60-minute timer, proving useful for measuring elapsed times of less than one hour.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The case

While the timepiece is available in stainless steel, I am especially drawn to the black sandblasted Titanium Grade 2 finish of the watch pictured above. The matt appearance defers to the dial detail, allowing the wearer to focus on the information presented.

The sapphire crystal is slightly curved and sits above the bezel. The bevelled edge of the sapphire crystal does sometimes reveal a refracted image of the hour markers, but does not unduly detract from the aforementioned clarity.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

In addition to the crown at 10 o’clock, a conventional crown is also located at 3 o’clock for winding the watch and setting the time. Interestingly, TAG Heuer has not employed the same design for both crowns. The crown at 3 o’clock does not feature the red ring and the TAG Heuer logo is recessed, whereas the crown at 10 o’clock depicts the brand’s trademark in relief. I find this minutiae adds further interest to proceedings.

The strap is similar to the one fitted to the Carrera Calibre 17, released to celebrate Jack Heuer’s 80th birthday. The reverse of the black perforated strap reveals an alter-ego, ebullient and red, oozing passion from every pore of its surface.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

An exhibition case back allows sight of the self-winding movement within. The sapphire crystal is tinted and coalesces wonderfully with the black case.

The movement

The TAG Heuer Calibre 5 is automatic. The frequency of the balance is 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the movement has a power reserve of 38 hours.

Côtes de Genève motif appears on the oscillating mass which is also engraved with the company’s name, calibre reference and country of origin.

Closing remarks

The Carrera name is synonymous with chronographs. However, in recent times I have found much appeal in TAG Heuer’s simpler, three-hand Carrera models.

The single biggest strength of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer is its user-friendly dial. The white and black colour scheme faultlessly communicates with the wearer. The sparing use of red on the front of the watch doesn’t prove distracting and adds a sprinkle of colour, enlivening the dial. The reverse of the strap is cheerful and encourages a smile of appreciation.

The Carrera name has strong ties to motorsport and the internal rotating bezel is ideal for noting the elapsed time of a short competitive race without incurring the expense of a chronograph. However, salesman in traffic jams should take note, the internal rotating bezel should always be used responsibly and not to foolishly redress the incidental delays typical of modern day commercial travelling.

Technical specification 

  • Model: TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Drive Timer
  • Reference: WAR2A80.FC6337
  • Case: Sandblasted Titanium Grade 2; diameter 43mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100metres); sapphire crystal to front and rear
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; date; inner rotating bezel
  • Movement: Calibre 5; self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); power reserve 38 hours
  • Strap: Black perforated leather strap presented on black folding clasp
  • Price: £2795 (RRP as at 30.10.2014)

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank TAG Heuer Boutique in Manchester, for kindly providing access to this remarkable timepiece.

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