by Carol Besler
Here is a little-known fact about TAG Heuer: Every member of Ferrari’s 1970s Scuderia racing team, for which TAG Heuer was the long-time official sponsor and timekeeper, received a solid gold Carrera engraved with his name and blood type. Blood type? It conjures images of medics rushing to the scene of an explosion, digging through the wreckage to recover the gold watch to determine the blood type of the victim!
This intriguing tidbit was buried in a press release about the brand’s newly launched tribute to this era, the Carrera Calibre 1887 Collection. The five chronographs in the collection contain the brand’s in-house manufactured movement that re-engineers one of Edouard Heuer’s greatest contributions to watchmaking: the oscillating pinion of 1887, along with a matching blue column wheel. The column wheel, which coordinates the start, stop and return-to-zero functions of the chronograph hand, functions like a gearbox. The oscillating pinion works like a clutch.
The collection is headlined by a 45mm version designed after the Carrera Mikrogirder 10,000 winnner of the prestigious Aiguille d’or at Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève last year. Auto-inspired elements include a black titanium carbide steel bezel, a steel and titanium cage and the tachymeter and pulsometer on the dial. The innovative, asymmetrical case design is based on the Carrera Mikrogirder – slightly rising at an angle at the top, where the crown and chronograph pushers are located.
The Carrera was the first sports chronograph designed specifically for professional drivers and sports-car enthusiasts in 1963, by Jack Heuer, grandson of the brand’s founder and CEO during its golden era of innovation in the 1960s and 1970s. It was named for the “Carrera Panamericana Mexico Road Race, a grueling, open-road endurance competition. “I first heard about the Carrera from Pedro Rodriguez at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, where I was the Official Timekeeper. He and his brother Ricardo were two of the fastest, smartest and bravest endurance drivers of all time. To hear them talk of the Carrera … made my imagination soar. I knew then that my new chronograph was the perfect tribute to this legend,” says Heuer.
The caliber 1887 debuted in 2010, and that year won Geneva Grand Prix’s prestigious La Petite Aiguille award. In 2012, the brand launched the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrogirder, an ultra high-frequency watch that is accurate to 5/10,000 of a second, winning the 2012 Aiguille d’Or.