The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph was one of the smartest looking smart/casual sports watches of 2020. It balanced the masculinity of stainless steel and extra buttons with the subtlety of a clean dial and fine polishing. It balanced everything so well that it’s hard not to recommend one to someone to consider, not because TAG Heuer wants me to say that, but because I genuinely think it looks great. The new Carrera has removed the chronograph, but has it removed the balance of sportiness and dressiness?
TAG Heuer Carrera Twin Time41mm
In a way, yes. I think this watch loses something without the chronograph. It loses that sense of balance between purpose and actual usage, it was built to time sporty events, but it’s actually more likely to time a poached egg than any sporting event (poaching an egg is a sport, by the way, it’s tricky but it’s not like motor racing or something). The Carrera Three Hands is a smart looking timepiece, but there’s no real pizazz to the model, and I worry that people will be drawn more to the pre-owned market than to the new watch.
TAG Heuer Carrera 41mm
The Carrera Three Hands comes in either 39mm or 41mm, and I expect these to be the show’s main stars, but there’s also a 29mm Carrera Date and a 41mm Carrera Twin-Time GMT model. They all come with the details you’d expect from a high-end watchmaker, like applied markers, applied logos, and mechanical movements.
TAG Heuer Carrera 39mm
Speaking of, the 39mm and 41mm Carrera Three Hands models come equipped with the Calibre 5 with a day-date function. This is based on the ETA 2834-2 and has a 4Hz beat rate with a 38-hour power reserve. The 29mm Carrera Date has a Calibre 9 inside, which starts as a Sellita SW1000-1. Despite the smaller diameter, it has a 4Hz beat rate but a slightly higher power reserve than the ETA. It will keep ticking for 40-hours. With its interesting fixed inner GMT bezel powered by the Calibre 7, an ETA 2892-A2, the GMT version has a 4Hz beat rate and the longest power reserve of all the watches at 46 hours.
These watches start at $2700 for the 39mm Carrera Three Hands and $2900 for the 41mm version. For the 29mm Carrera Date, the price begins at $2300, and the GMT starts at $3200. All watches are 100m water-resistant and come in a variety of dial colours.
TAG Heuer Carrera 29mm
My biggest concern is that, without the chronograph, there isn’t enough to sell this watch. TAG Heuer would probably like to imagine that it’s a no brainer between a brand new watch and something pre-owned, but the reality is that this is just not true. Some of the heavyweights in the smart/casual sports watch category include the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra and the Rolex Datejust. The former can be had at a reasonable price on the pre-owned market, and if you don’t mind a watch that’s a few years old with a few scratches (which you shouldn’t mind), then the reality is that you’re getting a better buy than the TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hands.