TAG Heuer Carrera – The Story of an Iconic 55-Year-Old Chronograph

By rolex
May 25, 2021
6 min read

This year, TAG Heuer is praising the 55th anniversary of its most famous watch, the Carrera. Brought into the world in 1963, planned by Jack Heuer himself to answer the requirements of motorsports pilots, named after quite possibly the most unbelievable races (the Carrera Panamericana), the formula was straightforward: a perfect, cleaned up, super clear and solid instrument to gauge time and normal speed during races. The courteous fellow driver’s watch embodied. From that point forward, the Heuer Carrera and the following TAG Heuer Carrera never stopped to advance, as far as plans, materials or mechanics, yet the principle objective was maintained:  a device for racing drivers. Along with Catherine Eberlé-Devaux, TAG Heuer’s Heritage Director, MONOCHROME WATCHES will follow the history of this amazing chronograph watch, the Carrera.

Jack Heuer’s Child

Since the production of the brand, back in 1860, Heuer had some expertise in stopwatches and chronographs. Instruments for sports, dashboard clocks or chronographs were the center business of the brand. However, toward the finish of the 1950s and toward the start of the 1960s, the pattern for chronograph wristwatches expanded and greater and Heuer, previously having a few watches in the assortment, expected to make something sportier, something in accordance with the latest thing for motorsports – don’t fail to remember that Omega was at that point dynamic in that field with the Speedmaster, and that Rolex was going to dispatch the Daytona.

When designated head of Heuer in 1962, Jack Heuer promptly got on the pattern and made the Autavia wrist chronograph – a watch initially brought into the world during the 1930s as a dashboard instrument for avionics and car pilots (the name Autavia is the withdrawal of AUTomotive and AVIAtion). In 1963, Jack Heuer, himself a racing driver and motorsport aficionado, chosen to answer the developing interest for unadulterated motorsport-motivated chronographs. The Heuer Carrera was born.

The story of the Carrera begins in 1962 when Jack met with the Rodriguez Brothers at the 12 Hours of Sebring race. These two intense drivers acquainted Jack Heuer with quite possibly the most risky and interesting races ever, the Carrera Panamericana – a line to-line sports vehicle racing occasion on open streets in Mexico, running for five continuous years from 1950 to 1954 (halted in 1955 because of security concerns and after the 1955 Le Mans fiasco). Nonetheless, despite the fact that the race not, at this point existed in 1962, Jack found the name and the foundation story intriguing (Carrera can undoubtedly be articulated in numerous dialects) and upon his re-visitation of Switzerland from the US, he enrolled the name.

Having chose the name, Jack began to plan a watch for refined men drivers in light of one primary target: to be the most useful, most intelligible wrist-worn instrument when driving, fit for timing races and figuring speeds. With his designing foundation, Jack Heuer applied his standards of item configuration to give birth to this spotless, cleaned up watch that was the Heuer Carrera 2447.

The first generation

The original of Heuer Carrera, known as the reference 2447, existed from 1963 to 1970, in different models however all having a similar by and large plan. A 36mm case with straight casebands and faceted hauls (the mark plan which was saved for the coming 55 years) and a spotless dial with raised applied mallet for the hours and depressed registers. The thought was to just eliminate every enhancing component and to zero in on the fundamental: a chronograph function.

First conveyed in single tone (for the most part silver), the watch immediately developed to a two-tone plan (Panda or Reversed-Panda) for improved clarity. A few renditions of the Heuer Carrera 2447 existed, with two sub-counters (Carrera 45 and 30, with a 45 or a 30-minute register) and with three sub-counters (Carrera 12, with a 12-hour register). Along these lines, a few different models became animated, for example, the mono-register Carrera 45 Dato, which added a date function.

All of these watches were hand-twisted until 1970 – something imperative to remember, as the eventual fate of the Carrera changed definitely after this date. Most were furnished with out-sourced developments, for example, the Valjoux 72 and Valjoux 92 (in those days, Heuer was a watch brand, not a manufacture).

The 1970s or the Golden Era

In 1969, Heuer, along with Buren, Hamilton, Breitling and Dubois Depraz, dispatched one of the primary programmed chronographs, the amazing Caliber 11 with a miniature rotor. The presentation of this development, the pattern for bigger and more vivid watches and the developing interest in Formula 1 (which Jack Heuer supported hugely) definitely changed the substance of the Carrera.

The 1970s saw the presentation of barrel-formed watches, intense plans and conspicuous dials, just as the coordinated effort with Ferrari and large numbers of the most popular drivers of that time.

Decline and Production stopped

The appearance of quartz developments didn’t profit the Carrera. Despite the fact that Heuer presented a few models with battery-controlled types, the quartz emergency destroyed the Carrera, which was suspended in 1984.

The 1980s were troublesome occasions for the Swiss watch industry and Heuer was no special case. Jack Heuer had to offer the company to a consortium of financial backers, which included Piaget and Nouvelle Lemania, in 1982. In 1985, Piaget/Nouvelle Lemania offered Heuer to Techniques d’Avant Garde (or TAG), a company with speculations in high-tech ventures, avionics and Formula 1 racing (with McLaren F1). Despite the fact that this was absolutely all that Heuer could expect, this denoted the finish of the Carrera assortment, as the recently made TAG Heuer company moved in various ways (reasonable Formula 1 and Diver assortments). However, this was just temporary.

The comeback

In 1996, the choice to bring back the incredible motorsport chronograph was taken. The Carrera returned a retro-style watch, motivated by the reference 2447, fueled by hand-wound Lemania developments or programmed ETA chronographs.

Since at that point, the watch never stopped to advance, consistently deferential of its unique soul as an instrument made for racing drivers with a solid spotlight on motorsports and reasonableness. As of late, the brand presented the intense and secluded adaptation of Carrera, with type Heuer 01 and now with type Heuer 02. The eventual fate of the model is obviously present day and technical.


All of this is impeccably clarified by Catherine Eberlé-Devauxin, TAG Heuer’s Heritage Director, in the video at the highest point of this article. Enjoy!

More subtleties at www.tagheuer.com