The Tag Heuer Carrera at 50: The Racing Driver's Watch That Became a Classic

The history of the Tag Carrera goes back to the early 60s, when Jack Heuer attempted to create a watch specifically with "the fastest, smartest and bravest endurance racing drivers" in mind.

Heuer’s inspiration came from the ‘Carrera Panamericana Mexico Road Race’, a border-to-border endurance race, widely acknowledged at the time as one of the most grueling and dangerous road races in the world.

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“Just the sound of the name itself – elegant, dynamic, easily pronounced in all languages and charged with emotion,” Heuer famously stated. “I knew then that my new watch was the perfect tribute to this legend.”

The resulting first Carrera model was created in 1963 and was worn by the decade’s finest Ferrari drivers, from Regazzoni to Scheckter. Considerations such as the size and readability of the dial, plus shock and water resistance had to be taken into account, in order to maximise its usability on the road. The perforated strap was even inspired by the driving glove.

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The next landmark date came in 1969, with the game-changing Carrera Chronomatic Calibre 11, which featured the famous oscillating pinion invented by Edouard Heuer. This enabled the watch to be precise even under extreme conditions, which until this point had been impossible.

The 1970s saw the ‘Quartz Crisis’ in Swiss watchmaking, which was characterised by a paradigm shift from traditional horology to the more modern methods using quartz. Tag Heuer quartz Carrera model kept the Carrera in keeping with the times and allowed it to last through this transition in technology. 

For 2013, the Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 Jack Heuer Edition maintains its motor racing edge, featuring F1-inspired black titanium carbide steel bezel and a steel and titanium cage, designed with help from Jack Heuer hmself.

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