Porsche-inspired (relatively) affordable TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T

TAG Heuer is using Switzerland’s biggest watch show to launch a new version of its Carrera model, the Carrera Heuer-02T. What’s so exciting about it? Well, it’s a new version of a well-loved racing watch with some extra complications and features for much less than you might imagine.

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The Baselworld show in March will see the debut of the Carrera Heuer-02T, the headline feature of which is its flying tourbillion complication. Long heralded as an extremely complex and therefore expensive feature on a watch, a tourbillion.

A tourbillion counters the effect of gravity on a watch’s mechanical movement by mounting two components – the escapement and balance wheel – in a rotating cage. It was originally invented just to improve timekeeping, but it’s since become a luxurious feature to demonstrate a watchmaker’s prowess, and is usually shown off on the watch’s face. Normally, watches with tourbillions go for seriously big money, but the Carrera Heuer-02T has a price of just $15,950. Sure, it’s still far from cheap, but it’s a bargain for this type of technology.

As well as its showpiece, the Carrera Heuer-02T is a chronograph watch certified by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, which further enhances its reputation for accuracy and precision. It has a 65-hour power reserve, and also looks rather snazzy. The case is a 45mm wide titanium piece, while the semi-skeleton dial shows off the movement with the tourbillion sitting proudly at six o’clock. The tourbillion cage is made from titanium and carbon fibre, and it all sits on a black rubber strap. A black, numbered version of the Carrera Heuer-02T, called the Black Phantom, will cost $21,300 and be limited to 250 pieces.

The Carrera has a background in motorsport. It was first introduced in 1963 and is now on its tenth generation. Its name came from the Carrera Panamericana, a race through open roads in Mexico that ran from 1950 to 1954. Heuer had previously released a special edition 404 model watch in honour of the 1953 race, but the Heuer Carrera was an all-new model. The race was immensely challenging and dangerous – 27 people died during its five-year history, and it was axed after the 1955 Le Mans disaster. The same race gave Porsche cars the Carrera name.

With the Carrera-02T, TAG Heuer has given customers a chance to own some very high-end watch technology for a fraction of the previous minimum price.

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