Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Black Dial Black Leather Strap Watch for Men - CBN2044.FC8313

    In a stunning black and 18K 3N yellow gold execution, this TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph takes inspiration from an iconic racing livery to reinforce the collection’s connection to motorsport.

    The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Gold CBN2044.FC8313 respects the past, honouring the legendary reference 1158CH, but also embraces the future with its up to the minute Calibre Heuer 02 movement. Mark McArthur-Christie, a Heuer devotee, shares his thoughts on this new gold chronograph.

    TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph - CBN2044.FC8313

    Reference 1158CHN

    If you’d been racing in Formula 1 for Ferrari in the 1960s or 1970s, you’d almost certainly have ended up with a Heuer Carrera reference 1158CHN on your wrist. There’s a bit of debate around whether you got given one or just got a substantial discount off the list price, but either way, the ref. 1158CHN is the racing Heuer Holy of Holies. 

    Ask Derek Bell about his Carrera and he’ll tell you the story of how he got his watch and ended up meeting Jack Heuer himself.

    “If you drove for Ferrari, you got one of these at a decent price. I ended up buying this one as I really liked it. Years later I was driving in the Ennstal-Classic. It’s a beautiful rally across the Austrian Alps and I got a call from Helmut Zwickl, the organizer. He said ‘Derek, Jack Heuer is coming for the day and he’d love to have breakfast with you’. So I took my watch, put it on and went down to breakfast. Jack was sitting opposite me and just he and I were having breakfast and chatting away. He asked ‘What watch are you wearing?’ I roll my sleeve back and show him the Carrera. He said, ‘Oh, my God!’, and rolled his sleeve back; he had his own, identical Carrera on. And he said ‘That’s my favorite watch’. I really treasure that one, as you can imagine.”

    Clearly, Bell still has his – and wears it (even though he says he’s lost his Autavia down the back of the sofa). Jody Scheckter, on the other hand, doesn’t even remember having one despite his drives for the firm in ‘78 and ‘79. Perhaps somewhere out there someone unknowingly owns Scheckter’s reference 1158CHN and hasn’t a clue about what they have.  

    If you know your 1970s and ‘80s Formula 1, a quick look at the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Gold may remind you of a certain team’s cigarette-sponsored livery; the same one that Ayrton Senna’s 98T Lotus sported at the start of his career. It’s hard to go wrong with black and gold and there’s always been something special about a gold Carrera.

     

    TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Gold CBN2044.FC8313

    And now TAG Heuer has made a new one – the slightly less snappily-referenced CBN2044.FC8313. Let’s call it the Carrera Chronograph Gold for ease. It’s not a recreation or a reissue though, it’s a new watch in its own right but in the spirit of the ref. 1158.  

    TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph - CBN2044.FC8313

    The firm has changed things around quite a bit. Where Mr Heuer’s original had two black subdials (a 30 minute totaliser and a 12 hour counter) on a gold sunburst dial, this new watch goes for gold subdials on a black background and a new running seconds positioned at 6 o’clock.  Where the ref. 1158 was a normal-for-period 38.5mm, the new watch has hit the trackside catering with enthusiasm and bulked up to 42mm.

    TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph - CBN2044.FC8313

    Calibre 12

    TAG Heuer can’t blame this extra weight on the movement powering the new watch. Although the ref. 1158CHN ran the Cal.12 co-developed with Hamilton-Buren, Breitling and Dubois-Depraz, its larger cousin uses the bang up-to-date in-house TAG Heuer Cal. 02.  The Cal. 12 measures 31mm in diameter. The new Cal. 02 comes in at – yep – 31mm too. Modern taste is for larger watches, so you get an extra 3.5mm of case but it’s gold, so who’s complaining?

    Calibre Heuer 02

    The Cal. 02 is quite the thing. Unlike its ancestor that was based on an existing Buren calibre and modular (you can remove the entire chronograph works just by taking three screws out) the 02 is a brand-new, fully-integrated movement (without a separate chrono module) assembled from just 168 parts. That’s good news when it comes to servicing time; it won’t be cheap but it should, at least, be cheaper. It beats a little more rapidly too at 28,800 vph (4Hz) and it will carry on doing so for 80 hours thanks to a longer mainspring.  

    There’s a neat touch when you peer a little closer at the movement. Usually, on a standard Cal. 02, just across from the balance wheel you’d see the column wheel with its red top. Look at this one though. It gets a gold top – neat, huh? Give the start/stop pusher a nudge and you’ll see how it controls the way the chronograph starts, stops and resets. Good to see the star of the show getting some attention. The movement uses a vertical clutch too, so the chrono second hand steps off smartly without any stumbling. 

    Yellow Gold case

    Unlike the original, you can watch everything happening through the sapphire display back. To be fair, although the original Cal. 11 was a remarkable innovation (and holds bragging rights as one of the first three automatic chronograph movements – we’re not getting into the ‘who was THE first’ debate), you wouldn’t take it home to meet your parents without warning them. The Cal. 02 on the other hand is a bit of a beauty. TAG Heuer has finished the movement plates with Geneva striping and black-coated and striped the winding weight. Again, on the standard movement where you’d see that it had been finished off with some fetching red engraving reading “CAL. HEUER 02 SWISS MADE”, but this one’s lettering is gold-filled. 

    TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph - CBN2044.FC8313

    To be fair, You’d better like gold if you fancy a TAG Heuer Carrera gold – but hey, who doesn’t? The case is 18K 3N solid yellow gold with polished and brushed surfaces. The crown is solid yellow gold. The sapphire display case back is, yep, solid yellow gold (it screws down, by the way, with 100m of water resistance). The hour, minute and second hand… they’re gold plated as are the indices, the logo, the sub-seconds and the chrono sub-dials. You’ll *never* guess what the start and stop pushers are made from. But the sunray black dial – despite two gold subdials – takes the edge off any sense of bling. Did I mention the pin-buckle is gold too?  And the ‘3N’ designation? That just means that the metal is an alloy of 75% gold, 12.5% silver and 12.5% copper.

    Horological gentrification?

    The original ref. 1158 CHN may be gold too, but like most Heuers of its time, it’s a pure, functional timing tool. The new watch makes a few more concessions – things like the non-dialled running seconds at six, the way the chrono functions use both gold and black lacquer for their hands rather than one unifying colour and the use of a minute track rather than a tachymeter scale. So perhaps this modern Carrera is more suited to wearing whilst at the opera rather than standing next to the race track. It’s not that you couldn’t, you just wouldn’t. Not so much Carrera as Carreras, perhaps, then. I’ll get my coat…

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