Few words embody the spirit of motor racing better than Carrera. We know this now, as Carrera is the name of a line of auto-inspired watches by TAG Heuer and what is probably the most iconic Porsche model of all time. But it takes a true motorhead and visionary to notice that first—before anyone else. That person was honorary chairman of TAG Heuer, Jack Heuer.
In 1962, when Heuer was the CEO of the company, he’d come to learn of the famous—or infamous, rather—Carrera Panamericana. A border-to-border racing event not unlike the Mille Miglia or the Targa Florio, it attracted drivers from all over the world and across all types of motorsport. Due to the high-speed, low-safety design of race cars of that era, plus the extra-long route not all sections of which could be secured, not to mention the win-at-all-costs mentality of the drivers, it quickly became known as the most dangerous car race in the world.
Even though by then it’d been eight years since the last Carrera Panamericana race, Heuer’s interest was piqued by the event’s legendary notoriety. How incredible it would have been to participate in such a race that tested one’s speed, strength, and endurance driving down the then newly completed Pan-American Highway. A true-blue racing enthusiast who’d burned his fair share of rubber on tarmac, Heuer was deeply inspired.
Under his watch, the company had already gained a swift reputation for producing high quality stopwatches and dashboard chronographs. Heuer chronographs had been the first in the world to measure time accurate to 1/100th of a second, and hence became extremely popular among professional and amateur racers.
The Carrera Begins
So to Heuer, Carrera Panamericana is more than a race. It was an inspiration. More than anything, the Spanish word Carrera which means road, race, career or course, stood out to him and instantly he knew it would be the perfect name for a new timepiece. He also knew that precision and legibility were the key to designing a timepiece dedicated to the great Mexican rally.
Those were the two guiding principles behind the iconic Heuer Carrera. “Legend has it that TAG Heuer’s obsession with readability started in 1958 when Jack Heuer dropped from first to third in a Swiss rally he was competing in because he was unable to read the dashboard timer correctly, explains Nicholas Biebuyck, the brand’s heritage director. “After that, he decided to focus on and improve this specific pain point, and embraced his love of modern design to create an incredibly legible watch.”
He adds, “This is the reason why the Carrera launched in 1963 looks already radically different from any other watches the company had produced before. You can see in the Carrera a focus on the typography and the desire to explore the purest form possible. Its design language is so clear and minimal that there are only three lines of text on the watch dial: Carrera – Heuer – Swiss Made – removing any risk of getting confused or distracted by superfluous decorations.”
Because top notch timekeeping isn’t just about rate accuracy but reading accuracy too. These values underscore TAG Heuer’s perpetual quest for horological excellence and are duly reflected in the brand’s latest oeuvre, the Carrera Three Hand.
Echoing the stylistic codes of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Chronograph released just last year, the Carrera Three Hand arrives with an updated aesthetic that speaks to a new generation of modern urbanites. Elegant individuals driven by passion—or more likely multiple passions—with a taste for adventure and a willingness to constantly push themselves towards new challenges.
The entire collection comprises 13 different references, all crafted in stainless steel, with four key functional variations: A 41mm Day Date, a 41mm Twin-Time, a 39mm Date, and a 29mm Date. These are offered in a range of dial colours including black, blue, white or silver, all of which feature the new Carrera logo also found in last year’s Porsche special edition piece.
TAG Heuer also reworked the Carrera’s bracelet, presenting new H-shaped links in a sleeker design that’s more ergonomic and a closer fit to the wrist. A combination of brushed and polished surfaces provide tasteful highlights, reflecting classical watchmaking finesse.
Meanwhile the lugs, hands, and indexes have also been refined to place stronger emphasis on fit, comfort, and legibility, so that what’s undoubtedly clear is not just the time and date, but also that indelible link between the Carrera Three Hands and one of the most glorious chapters in TAG Heuer’s history.