TAG Heuer Refreshes Its Carrera Three Hands Collection And Welcomes Ryan Gosling As The New Face Of The Brand
There’s something to be said for a classic, simple watch design. Sure, we enthusiasts could easily spend hours ogling complicated offerings from watch brands we’ll never be able to afford. But at the end of the day, some of us demand nothing more from our own watch than legibility, good build quality, and timeless good looks. And TAG Heuer’s latest new additions to the Carrera Three Hands line provide exactly that. The refreshing new offerings bring some refinements to the design while staying true to the classic Carrera design language.
Back in 1958, Jack Heuer learned the importance of simplicity. When he was unable to read his dashboard timer correctly at a glance, Heuer lost his first-place lead in a Swiss rally, eventually finishing third. Though not a terrible finish, it was nevertheless a vexing lesson that stuck with him for years. Learning from it, Heuer released the Carrera in 1963. As the brand’s first watch specifically designed for race car drivers, the Carrera put the utmost focus on legibility. It had a minimalist design that allowed drivers to quickly read the time while blazing around the race track, and a form-follows-function approach and that would make the watch a timeless icon for the brand. Since the early 2000s, the Carrera Three Hands collection has carried on this legacy, as what TAG Heuer calls its “sharpest, most legible way of telling time.”
Refining a classic
Available in 13 different references across four categories, the new Carrera Three Hands collection provides a variety of sizes and functions that were previously absent from the brand’s 2021 Carrera lineup. With these releases, TAG Heuer reintroduces the previously discontinued model to its gents’ collection in both 41mm and 39mm sizes. Further expanding on its current 32mm and 36mm ladies’ models, TAG Heuer also brings a 29mm size to the collection.
All of the new Carrera models feature stainless steel cases with 100m of water resistance, domed sapphire crystals on the front, and sapphire exhibition case backs. They feature the classic Carrera case lines, with a polished, slender bezel and proud angled lugs. Staying historically faithful, the lugs’ gradual outward bevel is accented with an acute inward facet. This descends toward the center of the case, giving it the classic Carrera look many have come to know and love. But whereas many Carrera cases in the past have been fully high-polished, the new models break with tradition. The larger cases now feature horizontally brushed sides. As someone who lays my watch crown-side-up at night, this subtle touch is one that I appreciate quite a bit. It mitigates scratches from both intentional surface contact and accidental collisions with door frames and the like.
It’s all in the details
Many Carreras in recent years featured long, trapezoidal indices. With these new offerings, however, TAG Heuer returns to the Carrera’s roots, using rectangular ones with modern facets. The applied frames for the day and date apertures have been slimmed down for an elegant, less intrusive feel. Finally, bolder luminescent hands with black centers on the gents’ models provide greater contrast against the dial. TAG Heuer has done away with the mixed typefaces and caliber indications on the Carrera dials of the recent past. Instead, the dial text indicates only the basics: “Carrera,” “Automatic”, and “Swiss Made” in a classy serif font.
While one of the 13 new references will sell on a leather strap, 12 of the new models will come on an updated H-link bracelet. TAG Heuer has used a variation of this design for years. The current iteration, however, tones down the sharp angles of the center links seen on its modern precursors. By making the bevels less pronounced, it gives the bracelet a more modern, sleeker look. The formerly flat center portion of the end link is now angled upward to meet the case. This also contributes to a more fluid, integrated design. The bracelet features a single-fold deployant clasp with a dual pushbutton release.
Are these changes earth-shattering or monumental? No, they are not. But they do indicate that TAG Heuer is interested in keeping one of its most elegant designs as fresh as possible. They also bring the offerings into line with their Heuer 02-powered Carrera Chronograph counterparts. With a pleasing blend of historic styling cues and modern minimalism, the latest Carrera Three Hands seems like a design that will age gracefully. Now that we’ve gone over the basics for all of the models, let’s break down the different variations available in the new lineup.
The Carrera Date
First up is the Carrera Date. Available in both 39mm and 29mm sizes, these models feature a date window at the 6 o’clock position. Relocated from the 3 o’clock position on previous models, this gives the dials a much better sense of symmetry. All models will come with a full stainless steel bracelet.
The 39mm model is available with blue, silver, or black dials. The blue and silver dials feature a brushed sunburst finish with rhodium-plated hands and indices. The black dials, however, feature a circular snailed sunburst graining, and are available with either rhodium or rose gold-plated hands and indices. The movement inside is the ever-faithful ETA 2824-2, also known as the TAG Heuer Calibre 5. This tried-and-true 25-jewel automatic caliber has a 28,800vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, and quick-set date. The blue, silver, and black dial variants with rhodium indices will retail for €2,550. The black dial with rose gold-plated hands and indices will retail for €2,750.
The 29mm model is available with either blue sunburst or white mother-of-pearl dials, and either rhodium or 1.3mm diamond indices. They feature the automatic, 18-jewel Sellita SW1000-1 movement, which TAG Heuer calls the Calibre 9. This caliber features approximately 40 hours of power reserve, a 28,000vph frequency, and a quick-set date. The rotor on this model is also rose gold plated for a nice decorative touch. The models with rhodium indices will retail for €2,200. The models with diamond indices will retail for €3,100.
The Carrera Day Date and Twin-Time Date
The 41mm Carrera Day Date and Twin Time models round out the new offerings. The Day Date features the same dial colors and finishes as the smaller Date version. The day and date apertures, however, are in the traditional 3:00 position. The movement inside is the 26-jewel Sellita SW220-1, doing business as the TAG Heuer Calibre 5 Day Date. It features a 28,800vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, and quick-set day/date functionality. While the black and blue dial variants will come on a stainless steel bracelet, the silver dial variant will feature a brown alligator strap with a single-fold deployant buckle and pushbutton release. The silver, blue, and black/rhodium variants of the Carrera Day Date will retail for €2,750. The black variant with rose gold-plated indices will retail for €2,950.
My personal favorite offering in the new Carrera Three Hands collection, however, is actually a four-hander! The new Carrera Twin-Time Date is available exclusively with a blue sunburst dial. It improves on the older designs of the Carrera Twin-Time with a new bi-color silver/blue 24-hour chapter ring and a bolder arrow hand design. Interestingly, the layout of the 24-hour ring is the opposite of what you might expect, with 12 at the 12:00 position and 24 at the 6:00 position. The watch runs on the Sellita SW300-based TAG Heuer Calibre 7. Like the other movements in the Carrera lineup, this 25-jewel automatic caliber features a 28,800vph frequency and quick set date. However, it has a longer power reserve of up to 50 hours and a jumping 24-hour hand for quick adjustment of a second timezone. The Carrera Twin-Time will retail for €3,000.
Ryan Gosling signs on as a TAG Heuer ambassador
To accompany the launch of the updated Carrera Three Hands collection, TAG Heuer is excited to announce a new partnership with award-winning actor Ryan Gosling. The dynamic actor is known for his performances in the films The Notebook, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Drive, La La Land, and First Man, among many others. With a total of 22 awards and 105 nominations under his belt, Gosling has proven himself to be a modern master of his craft. But perhaps even more interestingly for watch enthusiasts, Gosling has always shown himself to have a traditional and gentlemanly taste in timepieces.
On-screen, he’s been spotted wearing a 1940s yellow gold Rolex Bubbleback 3372 in Crazy, Stupid, Love, a white gold Patek Philippe 5196G in Drive, and even a 1950s steel Omega Constellation in La La Land. In real life, he’s been seen wearing a 1950s Omega Seamaster at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and a 1950s Rolex Air King 5500 Super Precision at the 2017 Golden Globes. Noticing a trend in these choices alone, it’s clear that Gosling has a taste for refined simplicity. Gosling, commenting on the Carrera Three Hands collection, states,
“I appreciate its timeless design. I like clean and simple design generally. Growing up, we lived on a pretty tight budget. I gravitated towards things that were simple and timeless so I didn’t have to think about keeping up with trends.”
Now, if I’m being totally honest, a watch brand’s ambassadors do little to sway my buying decisions. As a watch lover, I’m more interested in watches for their own merits, and I suspect many of you are as well. In the context of these releases, however, I do think the partnership with Gosling makes sense. I will definitely be interested to see what graces Gosling’s wrist in his next film!
While the TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hands collection is neither revolutionary nor ultra-premium, perhaps that is what makes it such a success for the brand. Timeless, legible design is always what the Carrera has been about. In either a chronograph, three-hand, or even a four-hand layout, I think the modern bezel-less Carrera line stays true to this purpose. Unaging good looks, reliable movements, relatively accessible prices, and the brand’s motorsports legacy make the TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hands collection a tempting option for anyone looking for a dependable, horological “daily driver.”
The TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hands collection is available worldwide. For more information, check out tagheuer.com.