The Value of Vintage
In recent years, the appeal of vintage or vintage-style timepieces has steadily increased. As a result, countless brands have created reimagined versions of their classics. This trend has certainly seen a particular surge in the past decade. However, watchmakers are no stranger to reissuing a past model. There are a number of different reasons a brand might decide to bring an old model out of retirement.
The Original Heuer Carrera
No re-edition is quite as poignant and celebrated as the Carrera. The model’s origins date back to 1963. The early 1960s marked an important period of transition for the Heuer brand. Jack Heuer, the great grandson of the company’s founder, had just taken over the brand. His first order of business was to enhance their range of chronographs, and the Carrera was born.
The original Carrera Reference 2477 had a number of key features. Heuer constructed the model with a diamond polished stainless steel 36mm case, giving it a bright finish. It had prominent beveled lugs reminiscent of the brand’s 1940s chronographs. The dial layout was clean and straightforward, particularly compared to other chronographs at the time. It featured thin, beveled baton hour markers and fifth-of-a-second calibrations on the ring around the dial. Of course, it also came equipped with three registers. However, it’s worth noting the Carrera didn’t have contrasting registers. Instead, the dial color was completely uniform. Finally, inside it housed a Valjoux 72 movement.
The Carrera’s Re-Birth
Two decades later in 1982, Jack Heuer decided to retire, and with his departure, the Carrera was retired as well. Shortly after in 1985, the Heuer brand faced another pivotal moment of change. Techniques d’Avant Garde acquired the company, and they officially became the brand we know today, TAG Heuer. Under new leadership and a new name, TAG Heuer sought to place an emphasis on the heritage of Heuer. As part of their efforts, they decided they wanted to revive the Carrera. However, they felt they couldn’t authentically and successfully reintroduce the iconic model without one key individual: its creator, Jack Heuer. So, TAG Heuer approached him about returning to help bring the model back. He generously obliged, and in 1996, the Carrera was re-born.
In sticking with TAG Heuer’s mission to honor the Heuer legacy, the Carrera re-edition paid homage to the original. It was nearly an exact replication of the Reference 2477 with the same dial layout and measurements. The reissue even went so far as to place the original Heuer logo on the dial. However, there were two key differences. First, the iconic Carrera name was noticeably missing due to a temporary conflict over the brand rights. Second, the new 1996 Carrera housed an all-new movement. They replaced the original Valjoux caliber with a Lemania 1873 hand-wound caliber.
Continuing the Heuer Legacy Through the Carrera
Like the debut of the original 1963 Carrera, the re-introduction of the model was wildly successful. The Carrera continues to be part of the TAG Heuer catalog today and has seen many new iterations. Some notable variations include the 50th anniversary models from 2013 and the brand’s first smartwatch, the Carrera Connected, from 2015. The latest addition to the Carrera family is the recently released Caliber Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph.