Watches Everything You've Always Wanted to Know (but Never Dared to Ask) About the Tag Heuer Carrera

5 min

Every month, we’re answering YOUR questions: about TAG Heuer, our watches, and our history – from basic trivia to the deepest of dives. We’ll be investigating technical complications and their complexities, but also chatting about straps, style, and other fascinations – or obsessions – when it comes to watches. Ask us anything!

Part of the new TAG Heuer Carrera collection (CBN2010.BA0642 - CBN2011.BA0642 - CBN2012.FC6483 - CBN2013.FC6483)

This month, we’re exploring our iconic TAG Heuer Carrera watches. Discover more about the moment of ‘conception’, the wild race that gave this collection its name, and what makes a TAG Heuer Carrera utterly unique…

How did the TAG Heuer Carrera come about?

While overseeing the official timekeeping of the 12th Sebring in 1962, Jack Heuer met Mexican drivers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez – who introduced him to the Carrera Panamericana. This wildly perilous border-to-border race staged in Mexico was first held in 1950 and ran until 1955 – when it was stopped due to a number of fatal accidents. But the Carrera spirit could not be contained for long – a number of racing enthusiasts would revive the event in 1988 to great acclaim. 


Ricardo Rodriguez at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1962. By Bilsen, Joop van / Anefo / neg. stroken, 1945-1989

But the romance and danger of the race captured Jack’s imagination, and in 1963 the TAG Heuer Carrera was born. Designed by Jack himself, the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph embodied not only the racing spirit but a powerful elegance and simplicity; with only the registers and applied markers visible on the dial, the fixed inner bezel (a slightly raised band placed under the convex glass) was engraved in a scale of fifth-of-a-second increments. As Jack says, ‘I wanted a dial that had a clear, clean design’, created to be easily legible ideal for the professional driver or racing enthusiast.  

The first TAG Heuer Carrera was available with a Chronograph scale, and soon scales for a tachymeter, decimal minutes, or pulsometer were incorporated – with triple calendar models and cases in steel or precious metals such as gold (equally suited standout performance on the track, for sport or dress). 

« I wanted a dial that had a clear, clean design. I decided to use the inside bevel of the tension ring of the glass to carry the markings. »

Jack Heuer TAG Heuer Honorary Chairman President

What makes it so unique?

Jack Heuer’s love of modern art and architecture, not to mention his passion for racing, have informed the watch’s simple face and clean, easy-to-read dial. This is truly a timepiece for the driver. Eliminating any superfluous adornment – for optimal legibility at high speed and in all lighting conditions, thanks to Superluminova accents – the TAG Heuer Carrera combines aesthetics and functionality with unparalleled elegance. 

New 2020 TAG Heuer Carrera - CBN2A5A.FC6481

Can I wear a TAG Heuer Carrera off the racetrack?

But of course! Whether you’re a racing pro with a thirst for exceptional accuracy, a gentleman-about-town with a hunger for impeccable style, or simply a high-flyer with an irrepressible spirit, the TAG Heuer Carrera has your back. Immediately recognisable as a symbol of elegance, sportsmanship, daring, and speed, this iconic style is equally at home on the starting line or the red carpet.  

The TAG Heuer Carrera features elongated lugs, with straight lines that feel solid and sturdy on the wrist, yet still slip elegantly under a shirt cuff. Ideal for subtle timing of best-man speeches, opera intervals, or sartorially-refined HIIT training on the French Riviera. 

Advertisement from Yachting magazine, 1963.

How has the TAG Heuer Carrera changed over time?

After its conception in 1963, the TAG Heuer Carrera has evolved into an expansive collection, with a range of designs featuring a variety of calibres, functions, straps, and materials, for men and women. But some things never change – each TAG Heuer Carrera is built for resilience, with clean lines, easy legibility, and a thrilling history to set any pulse racing. For a start? This watch ‘family’ has included the first Chronograph designed specifically for racing drivers, one of the first wristwatch Chronographs in the world to include an Automatic Movement, and the very first watch to feature a Chronograph measuring 1/100th of a second! 

Since the beginning of its revival in 1996, the TAG Heuer Carrera collection has grown to include the Caliber Heuer 02T with a minute tourbillon and the 2019 Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 02T Nanograph (with a tourbillon featuring TAG Heuer’s own revolutionary carbon-composite hairspring). The performance-driven Heuer 02 chronograph has been a part of our collection since 2017 – highly sophisticated, made entirely in-house in our Chenevez manufacture, this movement is not only thinner and more compact than its predecessor, but offers an extraordinary 80-hour power reserve. Whatever will be next…?

What’s a Tachymeter used for?

Originating in the Greek word ‘takhus’ meaning swift or rapid, a tachymeter is a special feature of certain chronometers. Designed for those obsessed with speed, the iconic tachymeter of the TAG Heuer Carrera collection is a special sports-oriented addition to assist in measuring pace. Trigger the chronograph at the starting line, stop it one kilometer later, and admire your speed immediately on the bezel.

Redesigned TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph collection features fresh racing look and turbocharged 80-hour power reserve.

Discover the new TAG Heuer Carrera collection on our online Boutique.