TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin is the product of a new partnership between two legendary brands. The modular case construction has allowed the Swiss watch brand to incorporate a plethora of styling elements unique to this model while still achieving economies of scale. The resultant automatic chronograph is handsome, beautifully made and keenly priced.
This detailed review of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin includes live images, specification details and pricing.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Aston Martin’s modern production facility in Gaydon. After touring the impressive site, along with other guests, I met Marek Reichman, Vice President and Chief Creative Officer – Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.
I can still vividly recall Mr Reichman walking over to a sheet-clad car and, watched by onlookers, unveil the Aston Martin Vanquish, a new model at the time. Thereafter, Reichman walked around the vehicle pointing out each detail of the car’s sinuously shaped torso. No crease, recess or contour was accidental. Everything was the product of protracted thought and careful consideration.
It became clear listening to Reichman that his design prowess was colossal. Each element of the Vanquish’s composition was refined to the nth degree. The Vanquish was unveiled a few years ago, yet its eye-appeal has not waned, vindicating Reichman’s obsession for detail.
Design is something which is of equal importance in the world of horology. The best designs embrace both functionality and style and, moreover, retain their allure despite the passage of time. The commonality between the design of timepieces and cars is something which several car marques and watch firms are only too aware of, leading to both industries often collaborating.
Earlier this year, TAG Heuer announced that it had been chosen as ‘the Official Partner, Official Watch Partner and Official Connected Watch Partner of Aston Martin and Aston Martin Racing’. While Aston Martin is quintessentially British and TAG Heuer is Swiss, both companies are known for creating exquisitely designed luxury products. Therefore, the marriage between both brands seems eminently logical.
Initially, TAG Heuer has launched two Aston Martin branded models. The TAG Heuer Formula 1 chronograph, a quartz model and, my preferred option, the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin. The Swiss brand kindly sent me a press-loan for an extended period of evaluation.
The Carrera Heuer 01
In 2015, TAG Heuer unveiled the inaugural version of the Carrera Calibre Heuer 01. This timepiece fanfared a modular case construction method. Unlike most watch cases which comprise of two or three parts, the Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 incorporates 12 different components. This allows the Swiss brand to combine various materials, creating different models, each with their own distinct character. Since 2015, I have reviewed several versions of the Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 watch, each with its own personality.
However, with the advent of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin, the Swiss brand has produced a watch that looks very different from its forebears.
Several versions of the Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 feature an openworked dial. Most of the skeletonised date disc is visible on these models and the three openworked registers seemingly float on high. Numerous components are disclosed, making for a fascinating spectacle.
As mentioned earlier, the dial of the new TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin looks different to its siblings. It features a dial endowed with a hexagonal pattern, similar to the honeycomb elements found on the new Aston Martin Vantage. Although this dial is described as ‘skeletonised’, it reveals little of the movement beneath.
While most versions of the Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 prove simple to read, the dial of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin delivers superior readability. The hexagonal dial pattern provides the perfect backdrop for the various indications, causing the hands and indices to stand out.
The rhodium plated baton style hands are lined with white Superluminova. The applied indices match the appearance of the hands, except they are facetted which augments their capacity to glint. Collectively, the hands and indices deliver peerless legibility.
A 30-minute chronograph register is positioned below noon and a matching 12-hour chronograph register is located above 6 o’clock. Both of these subdials share the same scale and feature two concentric gleaming rings. A small seconds display is positioned at 9 o’clock and incorporates the Aston Martin logo.
One idiosyncratic touch is the positioning of the date aperture, not at 3 o’clock, but 3:30, providing a legible and stylish deviation from the norm. Encircling the central dial surface is a flange marked with a seconds scale, proving useful when measuring elapsed seconds. The silvery central chronograph seconds hand sports a red tip, combining style with practicality.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin measures a substantial 45mm in diameter and, as such, provides superb wrist presence. The Swiss watch brand is clearly aware that this size may prove too large for some would-be buyers, offering the Carrera Heuer 01 in a smaller 43mm case option. Sadly, this smaller case is not available in the Aston Martin branded format.
Personally, I found the 45mm case granted superb wearer comfort. I suspect one reason for this agreeable union with my wrist can be attributed to the black rubber / leather strap and steel folding clasp. At no stage did the watch feel intrusive or spoil my wearer experience.
With this model, TAG Heuer has exploited the modularity of the case construction. The vertical flank of the lugs is recessed, delivering gorgeous pockets of shade. The steel caseband is adorned with horizontal lines said to evoke thoughts of speed. The exhibition caseback is formed of black PVD steel and the bezel, featuring Aston Martin branding and a tachymeter scale, is presented in black ceramic.
The composition of the case is not merely an inventory of different materials, but also a lesson on how such materials can be brought together. For example, the inside edges of the lugs, adjacent a black plinth, have been highly polished to such an extent they assume a black appearance and seem to merge with the adjacent panel. It is the subtle treatment of some surfaces which differentiates this watch from other Carrera Heuer 01 models.
The black rubber crown, with its wonderful tactile quality, confers ease of adjustment and beautifully contrasts with the silver-toned pushpieces and caseband. Positioned between the black PVD surfaces of the caseback and the nearby pane of sapphire crystal is a circlet of gleaming metal, specifying the name of the watch and its maximum water resistance.
The case is enriched with a myriad of different materials, surface treatments and textures, distinguishing it as special. However, despite this aesthetic diversity each ingredient proves complementary, delivering a very harmonious composition.
This is not the first time I have seen the Calibre Heuer 01 Automatic. Since it was released in 2015, the movement has been used in several models. By employing the movement in numerous watches, TAG Heuer is able to achieve economies of scale. This may sound at odds with the notion of luxury, however, it is an approach that confers significant benefits to the end customer. Quite simply, this is a handsome chronograph movement, delivered at a very keen price point.
The oscillating weight is presented in black and features spokes, allowing the wearer to see more of the bridges below. The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and the column-wheel is presented in a vibrant shade of red.
One small criticism I would make, is that the pane of sapphire crystal is smoked black, impairing the view of the movement. Having expended much energy enriching the horological vista with some delightful details, I cannot understand the rationale for hiding these features behind a darkened pane of sapphire crystal. Nevertheless, I accept some readers may not share my opinion.
The self-winding Calibre Heuer 01 incorporates 39 jewels. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the power reserve of the movement is 50 hours. If the chronograph is engaged, the power reserve drops to 40 hours.
In a perfect world, everyone would have sufficient means to procure a bespoke timepiece, made by an artisanal watchmaker. The notion of uniqueness is very appealing, but for most individuals it isn’t viable owing to the prohibitive costs involved. Therefore, the vast majority of watch buyers must be reconciled with the idea of a serially produced watch.
While TAG Heuer serially produces watches, it remains a luxury brand. The appeal of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin is that it is made using serial production methods and, in so doing, delivers an impressive price / quality ratio. However, where it differs from many of its contemporaries is that it features a modular case construction. This has allowed TAG Heuer to create a new model with a distinct character all of its own.
This unique appearance is brought about by cleverly using components unique to the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin, such as the recessed lugs and the caseband with its eye-catching ‘parallel lines pattern’. By adopting this approach, TAG Heuer has created a special edition model, with the exclusivity this implies, while providing excellent value for money, £5250 (RRP as at 6.10.2018).
Beyond this model’s innovative method of case construction, it features a very legible dial, proves comfortable to wear and incorporates an attractively finished automatic chronograph movement.
This is one of the first TAG Heuer watches to bear the Aston Martin name and logo. Similar to the Aston Martin Vanquish that Marek Reichmann unveiled in my presence a few years ago, the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin is festooned with an array of smile-inducing details.
I look forward to seeing more of these dual-branded creations in the future, hopefully enriched with more fascinating contours, lines and textures.
- Model: TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Aston Martin
- Reference: CAR2A1AB.FT6163
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 45mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 10 ATM (100 metres).
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
- Movement: Calibre Heuer 01; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 39 jewels; power reserve = 50 hours, when chronograph running = 40 hours
- Strap: Matte black rubber / leather strap with folding clasp
- Price: £5,250 (RRP as at 6.10.2018)