Athletes have always been in the spotlight. Some have even turned into style icons. George Best (1946–2005) was probably the first football player to reach playboy status because of his swagger. Yes, the Northern Irish winger for Manchester United from 1963 to 1974 was a truly phenomenal player, but he was also known as a hard-partying, womanizing, and fashion-conscious jet-setter. You either wanted to be like him or be with him. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well for Best, but let’s not get into that right now. Instead, let’s stick with watches and style. Best would have rocked a red-dialed Heuer Carrera reference 2447 if only Jack Heuer had released such a colorful version back in the day. He didn’t. But now we have the TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition. Could this be the “Best” modern Carrera yet?

I know, the original Carrera was first and foremost a functional motorsports watch. Still, especially with a bright crimson dial, it prioritizes style over functionality — “Never mind the lap time, son. Check out how cool I look!” Red, however, is a significant color in the history of (TAG) Heuer. There were always brand logos and hands in red as well as a red tachymeter scale on the 1960s Heuer Carreras. And what about the funky, cushion-shaped Silverstone Red ref. 110.313 from the 1970s? That chronograph — a watch George Best could/would have rocked, for sure — is actually the watch that is visually most closely related to the TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition. But does that really mean that this is the “Best” modern Carrera yet?

TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition

TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition — Ready to paint the town red?

The historic foundations of the new crimson watch are still clearly visible. The lugs and pushers of the 36mm Heuer Carrera ref. 2447 are still present in the 39mm TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition. Under the boxed sapphire crystal, we see a striking red dial with three snailed sub-registers. The indices are mostly brushed with polished, faceted ends, and the gleaming hour and minute hands are faceted too. A coating of Super-LumiNova ensures that the watch remains legible in darker circumstances as well.

TAG Heuer Carrera

The contrast between its rather sober foundation and an exuberantly sunray-brushed deep red dial creates tension. This watch might be an introvert at heart, but it also shows that it knows how to play and party hard.

TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition

An “engine” with touches of red

The new crimson Carrera might look like a mix of old and new, but inside the watch, everything is as modern as it gets. The automatic chronograph Calibre Heuer 02 is the same “engine” you will find in the square Monaco and the Carrera Sport Chronograph. You can have a look at the 168-part movement through the sapphire display case back. What you will see are touches of red on the column wheel and rotor and a handsome helping of Côtes de Genève. What you won’t see (but should know) is that this in-house movement provides a modern 80-hour power reserve. It also maintains a 28,800vph frequency, something many 80-hour movements these days do not.

TAG Heuer Carrera

Strap check

The TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition has a price of €6,400. And it’s limited to 600 pieces. It says so on the back. There, it reads “ONE OF 600” and “LIMITED EDITION”, perhaps for your reassurance and peace of mind. The watch comes on a black alligator strap with a steel folding clasp. And because of this, I can finally answer the question of whether this is the “Best” Carrera yet. It isn’t. Why? Because of the black alligator strap and folding buckle.

Have a look at the vintage Silverstone again, and you’ll know what I mean. The Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition should have had a red perforated leather strap with a pin buckle. The red would be more extroverted and flamboyant without being obnoxious, and a pin buckle would honor the Carrera’s functional origin. TAG Heuer decided to play it safe rather than go all the way. The strap looks to me like this Carrera stopped racing just before it reached the finish line. I know, you can find an aftermarket crimson strap and create a wilder, more striking look. Still, I think it’s a missed opportunity for TAG Heuer. But maybe that’s just me. What do you think? Is this the “Best” modern-day Carrera, or should TAG Heuer have tuned the looks more sharply?

The TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition is available now. For more information, please visit the official TAG Heuer website.

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