Tested For You: The TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition

Tested For You: The TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph Special Edition

“I couldn't find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself.” - Ferdinand Porsche

By Josh Shanks

Earlier this month, TAG Heuer and Porsche made waves with the announcement of their comprehensive partnership. And though much ink was spilled covering the historical relationship between the La Chaux-de-Fonds-based watchmaker and the Stuttgart-based carmaker, few have managed to take an in-depth look at the timepieces announced during the partnership’s launch.

Shortly before the launch, Watchonista was sent two samples from TAG Heuer's Carrera Porsche Chronograph collection. These Porsche-themed models are based on the brand’s Carrera Sport Chronograph collection. Let’s take them for a spin!

First Impressions

Watchonista and TAG Heuer are no strangers to a racetrack. We’ve been everywhere from Pikes Peak to Indy together. So it sparked my curiosity when I learned of this new partnership. Luckily, thanks to TAG Heuer, we were able to get some time in the metal over these past few weeks.

Porsche and TAG Heuer share a very similar design ethos and share a rich history of iconic design within their respective DNAs. For nearly a century, Porsche has followed a design philosophy to "reduce the form right down to the essentials." For TAG Heuer, the brand has been intrinsically linked to the racetrack from almost the start.

For the new Carrera Porsche Chronograph, there's seems to be a push-pull between these two philosophies. For TAG Heuer's part, it has integrated motorsports into the piece with an "asphalt" textured dial and a rich calf leather strap that's as soft and supple as a driving glove. Porsche, on the other hand, lent its iconic font to the ceramic bezel and its official red (officially PMS 201 on the Pantone scale) for accents throughout the watch.

In The Metal

What struck me most when I first saw the Carrera Porsche Chronograph wasn't its textured dial but the Porsche red accents scattered across it. From the red-tipped chronograph seconds hands to the subtle red ring around the watch's crown, this special edition watch doesn't scream red sports car, but it certainly has the element of speed.

If this watch were produced in the 1960s, it would be nearly as powerful as the on-board computer in the Apollo 11 capsule. I could only imagine the scenes in the 1963 Formula One paddock if Jack Heuer were to walk in with this on his wrist. At the time, fellow TAG Heuer fan and F1 driver Jo Siffert (who coincidentally was a Porsche dealer) would have gladly traded his 1963 Porsche Carrera for such a timepiece. After all, the Porsche Carrera II had a retail price of $7,795 at the time, which is only slightly more expensive than the Carrera Porsche Chronograph today!

But I digress…

The stainless-steel Carrera Porsche Chronograph has a commanding wrist presence at 44mm. Thanks to its high polish and brushed angles, coupled with slightly sloped lugs, the watch is comfortable on the wrist. Watchonista previously tested the Carrera Sport Chronograph, on which this model is based, so we had a good basis for comparison. After close examination, the new Carrera Porsche Chronograph is nearly identical to the Carrera Sport Chronograph, minus of course, the design elements which give this new model its "Porsche-ness.”

Powered by the uber reliable and accurate HEUER 02 movement, the Carrera Porsche Chronograph boasts a power reserve of 80 hours and displays this technical achievement for TAG Heuer via its sapphire crystal caseback. The chronograph pushers colorized in grey have a smooth function and a crisp click-feel when activated. Lastly, the skeletonized oscillating weight (rotor) resembles a Porsche steering wheel and comes in a rich anodized black color.

Final Thoughts

A few weeks removed from its launch, Porsche fans and watch enthusiasts have developed a sort of love/hate relationship with the new Carrera Porsche Chronograph. Some feel that TAG Heuer should have released a watch more reminiscent of, say, a ref. 3647 Carrera produced by then-Heuer in the 1960s. The thin 36mm ref. 3647 Carrera was powered by a Valjoux 92 movement and has gone on to achieve vintage fame, along with some awe-inspiring auction results.

Of course, if we’re to revisit our conversation on design philosophy, TAG Heuer has always prided itself on its avant-garde design. And to me, nothing says avant-garde quite like an asphalt dial and strap made to mimic a racing glove and Porsche interior.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Carrera Porsche Chronograph is likely the first of many TAG Heuer x Porsche collaboration pieces. So perhaps down the road, we will see both brands continue to push the envelope of design while maintaining the elegance for which both brands are renowned.

Pricing and Availability

Available in two models, the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph is available on a metal bracelet (ref. CBN2A1F.BA0643) or a calf leather strap (ref. CBN2A1F.FC6492).

The watches are available now and priced at $5,850 on a leather strap and $6,050 on a metal bracelet. Learn more by visiting TAGHeuer.com or your nearest TAG Heuer retailer.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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