29 September 2023


By In Brands, TAG heuer

If you like watches, you are probably into cars as well. This is not 100% certain of course, but the possibility this statement is correct is terribly high. In fact, it is undeniable there has always been a very close tie between the automotive and horological industries. This relationship initially started for functional reasons, as drivers felt the need of watches (specifically chronographs) during their races, to record lap times, pit stops, and any other race-wise brief moment. That said, we cannot mention races and chronographs without thinking about one watch brand: Heuer. And we cannot mention Heuer without thinking about one reference in particular: the Carrera. This comes full circle as we get back to the above incipit. Well, if you belong to those who like watches and are into cars, you probably have a thing for both the Heuer Carrera and Porsche. In this case, the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche might be the next watch for you.

Heuer Carrera 2447
Heuer Carrera ref. 2447 – Photo courtesy of Monochrome
Porsche 901 from 1963
1963 Porsche 901 – Photo courtesy of Supercars.net
The historical bond between the Heuer Carrera and the Porsche 911

The Heuer Carrera and Porsche 911 (originally called 901) surely have more than one thing in common. To name but a few, they both are considered icons in their respective markets and were born in the very same year: 1963. TAG Heuer decided to celebrate this 60th anniversary with a special release and the Watchype Magazine team have been invited to the brand new Milan boutique to discover it. Before having a look at the watch, let’s first clarify the car model number as I am sure not everyone is aware of this funny anecdote. In fact, the German automotive brand introduced the 901 at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung Frankfurt (IAAF) in 1963. However, as Peugeot already owned the rights to all the three-digit references with a zero in the middle, Porsche had to change the name to 911. The success of this car was definitely not impacted though, and after 60 years it is still one of the most sought-after models by cars (and watches) aficionados. At the same time, the first generation of Heuer Carrera (reference 2447), which was named after the Carrera Panamericana race by Jack Heuer, is considered one of the most legendary chronographs ever created. The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche is definitely a well-deserved homage to these two legends and each of their legacies.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche dedicated box
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche box
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche detail of the dial
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche – Photo courtesy of Hodinkee
Paying tribute with a special edition

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche is based on the Carrera Glassbox design introduced during this year’s Watches and Wonders, with a consequent rounded inner bezel (the word Porsche is displayed between 35 and 60 and the Chronosprint one at 15), visible through the heavily domed sapphire, and a 100m water resistance. The hours markers are applied and all the text on the dial is printed. Car dashboards have deeply inspired the look of all the sub-dials, which have enriched with red details here and there: the chronograph hour register at 9 o’clock has a red portion indicating the highest RPM range of a car (starting at 6.8h with reference to the maximum of 6,800 revs/m in the Porsche 901); the running seconds register at 6 o’clock (featuring a date window as well) has red lines from 50 to 55, reminding the speed limit in urban roads (50 km/h); finally, all the three sub-dial hands (on the steel version) and the sub-seconds one (on the rose gold version) are red and look like needles. As just anticipated, this special edition is available in two different versions: a steel one, with a silver dial and black leather strap stamped with the “911” logo (EUR 9,450), and a 18K rose gold one, with a beige dial and the same strap but in brown (EUR 23,900). Unlike all the previous Glassbox models, which come in a 39mm case, this new release features a 42mm diameter and it is also thicker at 14.9mm. So far nothing to tear your hair out over, you will say… just small Porsche-wise details and references to the automotive world. It might look like the biggest difference apart from the new colours is the case size. But that’s here that things get interesting, as the increase in thickness is much more than justified.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche in rose gold
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche caseback
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche caseback – Photo courtsy of TAG Heuer
A unique mechanism to echo a car’s speedometer

The Carrera Chronosprint is powered by the TH20-08 in house automatic movement, a unique calibre which gets its inspiration by the acceleration time of the iconic Porsche 911: the very first model took 9.1 seconds to go from 0 to 100km/h. This sprint has been reproduced through the red lines along the first third of the main minute track, but how did the brand manage to bring into a watch a typical car feature such as the acceleration time? That was possible because TAG Heuer positioned two snail-shaped wheels under the chronograph hand, whose motion is different from the one of any other chronograph out there. Briefly, as soon as the chronograph is started it runs very fast and reaches the first third of the dial (the red portion) exactly in 9.1 seconds instead of the usual 20 seconds it would take. After this acceleration, which reminds one of a car, it begins to slow down as it goes on along the dial getting closer to 12 o’clock. Once it reaches the top of the dial, it gathers speed again. This new movement can be seen through the open caseback, where another curious detail shows up: the rotor has the shape of a Porsche’s three-spoke steering wheel. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche on the wrist
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche on the wrist
Final thoughts

Despite watch brands seem very interested in doing collaborations these days, many of them appeal to a very specific and narrow group of people only. This often leads to a lack of interest in most of the watch enthusiasts. As far as my thoughts, I am not usually a huge fan of big logos and names on the dial. Sometimes they are a bit of a stretch. This special edition, however, is discrete and completely unique. On top of that, it manages to make you feel a sense of speed and adrenaline typical of a sports car driving experience, this by simply activating the chronograph and watching its hand rotating faster than what you normally expect. By creating the Chronosprint, which takes its name from the one-of-a-kind movement, TAG Heuer brought acceleration and deceleration into a timepiece, combining two different worlds into a single product. Lastly, this collaboration really tells a story that deserves to be told and known. The only side effect is that, once you put the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche on your wrist, that little voice in your head will go like: “Definitely need a Porsche now!”.

Written by Renato Spada

Super curious since 1990. One of his first questions was "And why?" He is now a localization project manager 8 hours per day and watch enthusiast for much more. Before being attracted by watches, he is charmed by their stories and what they mean for their owners.