As part of our Watch Review series, we review a Tag Heuer Carrera we recently acquired – it’s in good condition and we will change the strap. Here’s the review:
I adore complicated watches which feature a chronograph, a minute repeater or tourbillon. However, on some occasions, there is a strong argument for simplicity. Sometimes a pure, clean, uncluttered appearance, with ease of interpretation, makes an appealing rationale for purchase. Simplicity, in terms of watchmaking, is a contradiction in terms. Whilst a watch may seem absent of numerous functions, to create a stylish watch devoid of registers, guilloché or tourbillon cage is actually quite difficult. The designer needs to impart eye-appeal whilst not overburdening the dial with the extraneous. Indeed, the idiom “the devil is in the detail” is very apt when designing a watch with a limited array of functions.
TAG Heuer offer the Carrera Automatic – Steel 39mm with a choice of steel bracelet or alligator leather strap. Dial variants include black, silver and anthracite. I have not seen all the available options, but confess to liking the black dial version on a leather strap (ref WV211B-0.BA0787). You can pick one up for between €900 and €2,000 depending on second hand, new and condition. It is this model which provides the focal point of this in-depth watch review.
The hand-applied, polished and fine-brushed faceted indexes denote the hours and provide sublime contrast with the black canvas of the dial. The hour and minutes hands repeat this faceted and polished characteristic and feature luminescent treatment. Quite simply, the dial ensemble delivers peerless legibility. I especially love the detail of the raised hour markers on their own level and the curved Sapphire Crystal offers a beautiful silhouette.
A date display is positioned at 3 o’clock, with white text delivered on a black date disc. Gracing the date aperture is a highly polished frame, enhancing the visual appeal of the dial and drawing the eyes towards the prevailing date. A lithe central sweep seconds hand, as is standard with an automatic movement, is stunning to behold and watch. The characteristic stamp of luxury ‘Swiss Made’ completes the dial.
It is unusual for a dial with such limited functions, to ensnare my heart. However, in the case of the Carrera Automatic, the adage, “less is more” is most fitting. I recently acquired a similar Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic in Gold & Silver for my 30th Birthday and they’re almost identical – the Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic cost me several times what I paid for this so I couldn’t let this bargain pass.
The resultant aesthetic of the Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic is a model of elegance and grace. I would liken it to a natural beauty who does not require abundant quantities of make-up to accentuate her appearance, she is gorgeous and does not need to employ excessive adornment.
The stainless steel case has a diameter of 39mm, which is slightly smaller than I would ordinarily choose but a size which I would consider in the future. However, it looks larger in reality than the specification would suggest. I can only assume this is due to the design of the lugs which are long, albeit not unduly so, when compared with some models.
All surfaces of the case are highly polished, enhancing the visual appearance of the watch without being excessively flamboyant. This is a very wearable watch which will suit various social settings. It’s very classy.
The case back openly reveals the automatic movement, courtesy of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
A steel folding clasp, adorned with the TAG Heuer logo, helps the black alligator strap comfortably reside on the wrist. The leather and clasp proffer a luxurious temperament despite the remarkably accessible asking price.
The self-winding Calibre 5 movement has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz), contains 25 to 26 rubies, depending on execution, and provides a power reserve of 38 hours.
Côtes de Genève motif adorns the oscillating mass.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Automatic and TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic – Steel 39mm is a handsome timepiece with a notable air of sophistication.
The seemingly simple dial is the result of many hours of toil spent in the TAG Heuer design studio, honing each element to a peerless outcome. The resultant landscape of the dial is beautiful, with delightful details which reinforce the rationale for purchase.
Versatility is another key strength of the Calibre 5 Automatic – Steel 39mm. It is a suitable accessory to complement casual or formal attire. Indeed, I would suggest it would admirably fulfil the role of dress watch at a black tie event, such is the cleanliness of the dial.
- Model: TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic – Steel 39mm
- Reference: WV211B-0.BA0787
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 39.00 mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date.
- Movement: Calibre 5; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); power reserve 38 hours
- Strap: Black alligator leather strap presented on a steel folding clasp with safety push buttons
- Price: €2,450 (most up to date similar model)