Today, we bring news of a truly attractive timepiece with the release of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph. The somewhat plainly named watch is anything but boring, though. After all, it’s made of one of our favorite materials — gold! The watch is meant to put a cap on the 60th anniversary of the seminal chronograph, and I think it does so in splendid fashion.

I’ve keenly watched TAG Heuer’s recent releases, and, overall, I’ve witnessed positive developments. Watches like the recent Monaco Night Driver or the Carrera Glassbox are attractive and offer strong technical specs for the price. Still, there are pieces like the recent Carrera Skipper that have left me wanting due to specific dial details. Then again, I’m a curmudgeon, so take my complaints with a grain of salt! Today, though, expect very little moaning from me about the new Carrera Chronograph in gold because it’s a proper beauty.

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 18K gold and Heuer 1158 CHN

The 18K yellow gold TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph in gold takes its inspiration from a 1972 Heuer reference 1158 CHN. These watches were created for Ferrari F1 drivers that year, but the brand ultimately made more for the public. They’re distinctive, rather expensive today, and quite attractive to collectors. The modern version takes plenty of cues from the original and adapts them to the Glassbox platform. For some diehards, that may come across as mixing two distinctly different eras of the Carrera (a ’70s C-case on a ’60s-inspired design). I couldn’t care less about the blend because the watch looks lovely.

This Carrera Chronograph has a 39mm case made of 18K 3N (75% gold, 12.5% silver, and 12.5% copper). The dimensions are the same as the steel models, which translates to a lug-to-lug size of 46mm and a thickness of 13.9mm. The watches come exclusively on a black calf rally-style strap with an 18K gold pin buckle. TAG uses a vertically brushed, gold-plated dial and and flange. The idea is to mimic the look of the original 1158 CHN, and while it’s a decidedly different take, it comes off well and very “gold.” Otherwise, the watch has sharp, historically accurate, contrasting black sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock.

Functionality and more regarding the dial layout

The latest Carrera Chronograph uses the TH20-00 automatic movement with 80 hours of power reserve. It features a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock. A window for the quick-set date sits at 6 o’clock within a semi-hidden running seconds counter. In the past, I’ve been unrelentingly tough on this design decision from TAG Heuer. I tend to prefer that a sub-dial is either there or not. With this watch, either TAG has managed to beat me into submission, or it somehow works better with this color combination. So yes, I am oddly fine with it. Returning to the movement, it’s hard to argue with the specs here aside from the fact that with a modern caliber, the domed crystal made the watch a bit too thick.

Pricing and comparisons

When the gold Carrera Chronograph goes on sale in November, it will cost CHF 21,000. In terms of perceived value, a lot of it depends on how one views TAG and its competitive set, but the specs and finishing should allow it to enter the fray of consideration. There is stiff competition in this market, though. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonshine Gold “Panda” on a rubber strap sits at CHF 29,800. Breitling offers a 41mm Navitimer in 18K red gold with its B01 movement for CHF 18,700. Finally, Zenith offers the Chronomaster Original in rose gold for CHF 19,900. Hmm, there are some properly compelling options out there!

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 18K gold

Final thoughts

I’m a fan of the 18K gold Carrera Chronograph. The golden panda dial along with the fluid Glassbox styling make for an elegantly sporty-looking watch. I think it’s one of the brand’s best releases in some time. As for value, buying a gold watch always seems like an act of irrational exuberance. When a highly similar version in steel costs CHF 6,300, it comes down to absolute desire over pure logic. Then again, the price difference between steel and gold is really no different when mentioning any other watch company. To me, a gold Carrera Chronograph of this nature feels like an appropriate addition to the lineup. Thankfully, it has been executed quite well.

For more information, visit the official TAG Heuer website.

Watch specifications

Carrera Chronograph
2N yellow gold plated with vertically brushed finish, recessed and circular-grained black sub-dials, applied indices, white Super-LumiNova, and date window at 6 o'clock
Case Material
18K 3N yellow gold
Case Dimensions
39mm (diameter) × 46mm (lug-to-lug) × 13.9mm (thickness)
Sapphire with "glassbox" shape
Case Back
18K 3N yellow gold with sapphire display window, screw-in
TAG Heuer TH20-00 — in-house automatic chronograph with column wheel, vertical clutch, 28,800vph frequency, 80-hour power reserve, 33 jewels
Water Resistance
10ATM / 100m
Black rally-style calfskin with 18K 3N yellow gold pin buckle
Time (hours, minute, small seconds), 12-hour chronograph, internal tachymeter bezel
CHF 21,000
Two years plus additional three years with online registration
Special Note(s)
Available as of November 2023