Style / World of Watches (WOW)

TAG Heuer: The Carrera Three Hands Series

TAG Heuer does a lot of work with its low-key and perfectly accessible Carrera Three Hands collection. It also hides a notable four-hander…

Mar 01, 2022 | By Ashok Soman
TAG Heuer Carrera Day Date 41mm blue dial
Image: TAG Heuer

When the TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hands dropped in October, we were surprised — the news was tied to the reveal of Ryan Gosling as the latest TAG Heuer brand ambassador and that was pretty big news. TAG Heuer says this new series of 13 watches (of four models) is a reinterpretation of watches from the early 2000s. Briefly, these are the TAG Heuer Carrera Day Date 41mm; the TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time 41mm; the TAG Heuer Carrera Date 39mm; and the TAG Heuer Carrera Date 29mm. 

Now the Carrera is one of the best-selling collections for TAG Heuer, and that is hardly newsworthy. Of all the racing-inspired, themed and historically-linked collections, the Carrera is probably the best-known; indeed the word Carrera is as indelibly associated with TAG Heuer as it is with Porsche, and both are far more famous than the Panamericana race. This is actually important because Jack Heuer created the Carrera (the watch made its commercial debut in 1963 when it was called the Heuer Carrera) specifically for racing drivers. He did not make the watch with Porsche in mind; Jack was a racing gentleman himself and he thought the Heuer name should always be linked with motorsports. The Carrera legend arose in the wake of Jack’s success, but we digress. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Day Date 41mm
TAG Heuer Carrera Day Date 41mm, black sunray-snailed dial. Image: TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time Date 41mm
TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time Date 41mm, blue sunray-brushed dial. Image: TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Carrera Date 39mm
TAG Heuer Carrera Date 39mm, black sunray-snailed dial. Image: TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Carrera Date 29mm
TAG Heuer Carrera Date 29mm, blue sunray-brushed dial. Image: TAG Heuer

The new 2021 version of the Carrera Three Hands models all share certain characteristics, aside from the speedy good looks that designer Guy Bove adores. All 13 references sport stainless steel cases, with all but one showcasing a new bracelet (with H-shaped links that need no explanation). TAG Heuer promises that this new design is a good fit, but we will have to actually try the watches before making up our own minds.

For dials, the brand keeps things simple, with a choice of black, white, blue or silver, with legibility still top-of-mind. Hands and markers are refreshed, staying true to the Carrera’s roots; it is doubtful that most will remember details about the original watches but it is a nice touch. From here, we will pay closer attention to the Twin-Time model, which is a limited edition. To be honest, the fact that this is a four-hander hiding within a three-hand collection won us over. 

Calibre 11 and Fratello remind us that the Twin Time is not entirely new, so you can expect that Calibre 7 is still in play beneath the exclusively sunburst blue dial. The detail of the flange in silver and blue to highlight the day/night indication common to sporty GMT and dual time watches is well thought out. So too are the relative lengths of the many hands here, with the red-tipped second time zone hand being just the right length to cleanly indicate the 24- hour scale. 

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