It’s difficult to overstate the impact that Heuer—now TAG Heuer—has had on sport watch design, and on the chronograph in particular.
Jack Heuer, great-grandson of company founder Edouard Heuer, developed now-classic models such as the Carrera, the Monaco and the Autavia in the 1960s, building his family’s Swiss brand into an international powerhouse. The Carrera in particular, with its automotive origins and sleek, pared-down aesthetic, established Heuer as an authority in the chronograph vertical some years before the maison’s contribution to horological progress in the form of the automatic Calibre 11 movement.
In 2021, TAG Heuer further cemented its automotive ties in an international partnership with Porsche, releasing two limited-edition models that celebrate the brands’ shared heritage. (Porsche’s 911 and Heuer’s Carrera both sport a name inspired by the Carrera Panamericana race that once took place in Mexico.) Now, to celebrate 50 years since the 1972 release of the famed Porsche 911 R.S. 2.7, the two legendary brands have once again teamed up on a limited edition.
The watches, issued in a steel edition of 500 pieces and a solid 18K rose gold edition of 250 pieces, are housed in the contemporary 42mm Carrera case, they adopt the racing livery of two of the most popular RS colors, now called Glacier Blue (steel) and Guards Red (gold).
The watches incorporate Porsche 911 iconography, typography, and colors in a thoughtful manner, resulting in a product that, thankfully, never veers into kitsch. The steel version adopts the white-and-blue aesthetic of one of the most popular RS variants, offering a white opaline dial with rhodium-plated indices and hands, dual sub-registers, a sub-seconds counter, a date wheel at 6 o’clock, and an outer minute/seconds track. This last feature—as well as the sub-register indices and hands, seconds hand, branding and an inner ring—are in blue, while cues from the 911 RS’s rims are cleverly integrated into the design.
TAG Heuer also put the blue stripe and “Carrera” typography from the side of the car onto the side of the watch’s case, added blue to the chronograph pushers, and developed an attractive NATO-style strap with Porsche and Carrera racing stripes down its left-hand flank. (The watch also ships with the standard TAG Heuer Carrera H-link steel bracelet, should you prefer that look.) It retails for $7,750 and is limited to 500 pieces.
The second version trades blue accents for red and a steel case for 18K 5N rose gold, adds rose gold-colored applied indices and hands, and replaces the fabric strap with a red alligator version complemented by a rose gold-plated pin buckle. Limited to just 250 pieces, it lists for $23,550. Both watches are powered by the Heuer Calibre 02 Automatic movement, which achieves 80 hours of power reserve. Take a peek through the sapphire caseback of each watch and you’ll be greeted with a view of a special oscillating mass crafted to represent a 911’s three-spoke steering wheel and signed with both brands’ logos.
Limited-edition timepieces such as these tend to sell out quickly—indeed, considering there roughly are half as many of the new RS watches as there are RS cars out there, one might assume that there are going to be some mightily pissed off Porsche collectors who didn’t get a shot at a watch. But that’s not really the point: Regardless of production numbers and allocation—anyone, by the way, can purchase one of these via the brand’s boutiques, website or select retail partners—the new Tag Heuer Carrera X Porsche RS 2.7 celebrates two brands and two products that have endured for nearly 70 years for very good reasons.
“Design is a language,” said Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board of Porsche AG and former president and CEO of Porsche North America. “When we start to design a car that doesn’t exist yet, we start with the proportions, and we have a very specific design code and DNA that we use in terms of the lines you need to see so that you can very quickly recognize that this is a Porsche. It’s about a very sleek, very specific design code and timelessness. The 911 of today…doesn’t use any of the same parts [as the original 911]—but you can immediately recognize that it’s a 911.”
Perhaps it’s telling that Frederic Arnault, CEO of TAG Heuer, expressed largely the same thing regarding TAG Heuer’s Carrera. “When the Carrera was first launched…it had key elements in the design that were actually quite innovative for functional reasons: legibility in the dial and sub-counters…the ergonomics of the watch,” he said. “We stay true to some of these key elements that are timeless and make it instantly recognizable as well.”
Within the greater horological sphere, few partnerships have felt more organic than this, and few end products have felt as well executed. Perhaps it’s the passion of both design teams for their respective Carreras that has resulted in such a damn cool watch? Whatever it is, we hope it continues.