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by Angus Davies 16 days ago in designers · updated 11 days ago

The TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time belongs to the new Carrera Three Hands collection that has recently been updated for 2021.

In the English language, there is a word that has become increasingly popular, ‘gentrify’. It is often used to describe how the character of a formerly poor urban area has changed with the influx of wealthier individuals. Effectively, neighbourhoods become more desirable courtesy of improved housing and new businesses moving to the area. Sadly, this leads to many of the existing inhabitants being ‘priced out’ and displaced as a result.

Gentrify can also mean ‘to make more refined’. It is this meaning of gentrify which comes to mind when I think of TAG Heuer.

Since the Maison was founded by Edouard Heuer in 1860, it has become known for making quality, Swiss timepieces. In addition, the brand’s products have always delivered value for money. However, despite its esteemed reputation, the Swiss marque has continuously pursued progress. Indeed, in the last few years, TAG Heuer has expended much effort updating former models and refining them in the process.

In 2019, the Swiss brand got out the bunting and the party hats and chose to celebrate the iconic Monaco’s 50th anniversary. That year, the company’s design department was prolific, releasing a plethora of limited edition models. However, the most significant change came in the latter part of 2019 with the decision to equip future Monaco models with the Heuer 02 manufacture movement.

This self-winding chronograph movement features a column-wheel and vertical coupling, widely considered the ultimate configuration for this genre of watch. Moreover, assuming the watch is fully wound, it will run autonomously for an impressive 80 hours. Furthermore, the movement is enriched with some eye-catching refinements such as an openworked oscillating weight, a brightly coloured column wheel and vast swathes of Côtes de Genève motif gracing the bridges.

Last year (2020), TAG Heuer revisited the Carrera Chronograph, a model with a lineage dating back to 1963. Subtle improvements to the dial, case and bracelet were accompanied by the widespread adoption of the aforementioned Heuer 02 movement.

The Aquaracer was also the subject of an extensive makeover earlier this year. While the model is positioned below the Carrera and Monaco and priced accordingly, neither a critical eye nor a probing index finger could perceive any suggestion of cost saving. TAG Heuer has repeatedly juxtaposed polished and satin finished surfaces, an expensive feature often the preserve of costlier watches. However, by endowing the case with contrasting finishes, the overall sense of sumptuousness has been heightened.

In the last few weeks, a new version of the TAG Heuer Carrera Three Hands has begun rolling off the firm’s production lines. Aesthetically, the model shares much in common with the Carrera Chronograph of 2020. However, although the Three Hands models eschew the chronograph’s movement, the Swiss firm has enriched the composition with numerous minuscule changes elevating these latest models to the brand’s notably fastidious standards. At the time of the launch, I chatted to Guy Bove, the company’s Creative Director, eager to discover what changes had been made. After scribbling notes across four sheets of A4, I realised that the new Carrera Three Hands models have been painstakingly appraised through a macro lens and elaborately reworked.

Recently, I received a sample of the TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time, one of the new Three Hands collection. With the watch in my possession for a number of days, I was able to take numerous photographs and make copious notes. I share some of my observations and opinions hereafter.

The dial

The design of the hour and minute hands will be familiar to legions of Heuerphiles. They were first employed on the Monaco of 1969. True, there is an absence of red hues typical of the iconic fiftysomething, but the profile remains the same. In this instance, silver tones and luminescent fill forge a winning alliance, efficiently imparting meaning with a notable degree of style.

When viewed from above, the indexes appear rectangular, however, when viewed from the side their shape surpasses the ubiquitous baton style. Resembling a sporting podium, the indexes are presented on three levels with the middle step sitting on high. A fine line dissects the winner’s step, conferring an air of exactness and facilitating ease of read-off. Between each index are crisp white markings, aiding readability.

As its name suggests, the TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time is a GMT, displaying the ‘local time’ with the dominant hour and minute hands. An additional hour hand, equipped with a bold white tip which is framed with a red border, indicates the prevailing hour at ‘home’. A two-tone flange, marked with a 24-hour track, serves as a day/night indicator, mitigating the risk of phoning home at an inopportune moment.

A date aperture is located at 6 o’clock. Again, speaking with Guy Bove revealed that TAG Heuer is increasingly moving to this position on the dial. By placing the date display on a north-south axis, the dial looks more symmetrical. While the Maison places this model in its Carrera Three Hands collection, it actually has four hands once the central seconds hand has been accounted for.

When the sample of the TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time arrived at my office, I was somewhat surprised by the appearance of the dial. The images provided by TAG Heuer led me to believe the dial was mid-blue, however, in reality it is more like a deep shade of royal blue. The dial’s epidermis is enlivened with a sunray motif endowing it with a dynamic quality. Indeed, with the merest hint of sunshine, the dial suddenly assumes a much brighter tone. Put simply, this dial looks special and would befit a watch costing substantially more.

The case

The TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time is housed in a 41mm stainless steel case. While the watch couldn’t be described as malnourished, it isn’t unwieldy either, measuring a modest 12.3mm in height. In fact, affix the watch to the wrist and it will comfortably slip beneath a shirt cuff.

Close examination of the case reveals numerous fine-brushed and polished surfaces placed in close proximity. Juxtaposing different types of surface finishes, while ensuring each remains discrete, heightens cost. As the number of contrasting finishes increases so inevitably does the cost of production. The TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time is suffused with a high quotient of contrasting surfaces.

The sapphire crystal, positioned adjacent the highly polished bezel, features a chamfered edge as it slopes downwards towards the bezel. Despite the comparatively modest pricing, TAG Heuer has expended vast amounts of time refining the minutiae. However, its efforts have not been in vain. Run an index finger over every case facet and you will discern the extraordinary quality.

Another characteristic of the watch, and one which I personally find endearing, is the short projection of the horns and the willingness of the bracelet to project downwards, enveloping the wrist. TAG Heuer has equipped this model with a new H-shaped bracelet. It’s similar in design to the chronograph version, but different. The links are thinner than on previous models. This has not be done in order to save a few Swiss Francs, but to enhance the ergonomic relationship between the watch and the wearer.

The central section of the 3-rows bracelet features a blend of fine-brushed and polished links which alternate along the length of the bracelet. Every surface feels smooth and confers superb tactility.

The movement

The TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time is equipped with the tried and trusted Calibre 7 automatic movement. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and, assuming the watch is fully wound, the movement will run autonomously for 50 hours.

The movement can be viewed via a pane of sapphire crystal positioned to the rear of the watch. The oscillating weight features Côtes de Genève motif, while the bridges and main plate are adorned with perlage and colimaçon, respectively.

Closing remarks

Consistent with Jack Heuer’s design ethos, the TAG Heuer Carrera Twin-Time is highly legible with information conveyed in a notably intelligible format. The GMT function will prove useful to owners who need to juggle their time between two places.

Nevertheless, it is the styling of this watch that differentiates it from most other watches in this price segment. The brand’s meticulous attention to detail is very impressive. The design of the indexes is beautifully considered. Meanwhile, the tasteful interplay of contrasting surface finishes endows the watch with a degree of sumptuousness seldom seen at this price point.

Scrutinise this watch closely and you discover numerous soupçons of delicious detail. I can say categorically, the Carrera Twin-Time is one of my favourite watches of 2021. Upholding TAG Heuer’s strategy of late, this model has also been subject to gentrification. Thankfully, the price remains very keen, thereby inclusivity is assured.

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