Hey guys it’s Nathan with Crown & Caliber, and we’re back with another buying guide, but this buying guide is a little different. Today we are looking at an entire brand. Today we’re going to be looking at a TAG Heuer. Now the reason we decided to do the entire brand for a buying guide is currently there are over 100 unique TAG Heuer models, and that is overwhelming. So, what we’re going to do is we’re actually going to break it down into our own three categories. We’re going to break it down into dress, to dive and into sport. And for the sake of TAG Heuer sport really means racing. So, let’s get started with the TAG Heuer buying guide.
Now before we jump into this model guide, we’re going to go ahead and take a quick look at the history and to look at TAG Heuer you have to start at the beginning with Heuer. So Heuer was a watch brand that was founded in 1860 and even back then they were a forerunner in the watch industry. Filing dozens of patents, whether it was about chronographs or pocket watches or water-resistant cases they were there. But things really started to speed up in the 1930s when the Autavia dashboard timer and chronograph was released. Now this was found in numerous automobiles, race cars and even in airplanes. And what happened over the next several decades is those trickled down into some of the most iconic wristwatches in chronographs in racing.
So, fast-forward to 1985 and a private company called Techniques d’Avant Garde goes ahead and buys Heuer, and the TAG Heuer that we know today is born. Now over the next thirty plus years TAG Heuer grows extensively and not just as a brand but also in their model lineup. Another reason that we love TAG Heuer as a brand is because their watches are generally on the more affordable side in Swiss luxury and a big reason for this is, they often use movements from other Swiss manufacturers like ETA and Sellita, and because of this you’re not necessarily accruing the cost of in-house research and development and design and so you end up with a TAG Heuer watch with the history and the heritage of something as rich as the Heuer brand, but at a more affordable price point. As I mentioned there’s over 100 current models but if you look hard enough and you stick with us, we’re going to show you the models that you need to care about.
TAG Heuer “Dress” Watches
Now we’re going to start with the dress category and because there are so many TAG Heuer models we decided to break them down into these qualitative categories but that doesn’t mean that these models can’t straddle multiple categories. Anyway, if you’re looking at the dress category, we think there are three options to look at. You are either looking at a Link, the occasional Carrera, or the Monaco.
So, let’s start with the Link. The Link line was originally released in 1987 as the Sports and Elegance line and then in 1999 it was reborn as the Link line maintaining that iconic s-shaped bracelet and then again in 2017 the line was reimagined now with a cushion case and that same S link style bracelet. If it were us, unless you really love that style bracelet we would say there is probably a better option than the Link for a dress watch.
So, we’re going to focus on the Carrera and the Monaco. So, when it comes to some of the dress Carreras we recommend looking at either the time only Carreras like the Calibre 6 or if you want to mix it up a little you can look at the GMT complication called the Calibre 7, The Twin Time. Those are two really good options. They’re sleek designs, they’re simple. Another really cool option is some of the Carrera reissues. Particularly I love the 1964 Reissue of the Carrera and that on the leather strap is gorgeous. You can also occasionally find that in precious metal. So those options, to us, do a better job of creating a sleek dress watch that maintains a lot of that Heuer heritage.
So lastly in the dress category we want to mention the Monaco. Now the Monaco is pretty squarely also considered a racing chronograph, but we think it does straddle both lines and one of the reasons why is it’s on a leather strap. So, it just kind of has that dressier vibe and we put it side-by-side with the Carrera because we have the Carrera but then the Monaco, being a square case, gives you something a little different. And originally the Monaco came with a striking blue dial but now you can find it in a variety of different dial colors and even case materials. So, wrapping up the dress category for TAG Heuer, you’ve got the Link you’ve got some Carreras and you’ve got the Monaco. Ultimately if you’re going to go in the dress category with the TAG Heuer we recommend keeping it classic.
TAG Heuer “Dive” Watches
So up next in our TAG Heuer buying guide is our dive watch category. Now TAG Heuer is a brand that is heavily rooted in motorsport but that hasn’t stopped them from producing a dive watch. Actually, TAG Heuer has an entire line that they call that Aquaracer and believe it or not they have over 60 unique models. Yeah 6-0, 60 unique models, which is extremely overwhelming. So, we want to break down what to look out for in the Aquaracer lineup that we call the dive category. So, the two most defining characteristics of an Aquaracer are the screw down crown and the unique 12-sided rotating bezel. Now there are some Aquaracers that have chronographs, but we think if you’re going to go with an Aquaracer that you need to go with one of the classic options.
We’re going to save the chronographs for later when we talk about the Racing category. And this is also a really good time to mention that something TAG does really well is the incorporation of a quartz movements. So pretty much any watch in the Aquaracer line can come with an automatic movement or a quartz movement. So, if you’re looking to really save some costs then go with the quartz version. So that’s something that TAG does really well. So, if you’re interested in a TAG Heuer dive watch then our recommendation is keeping it classic with the 41 millimeter stainless steel Aquaracer. If you do want to mix it up a little bit you can go with the Calibre 7 version that has the GMT complication. And on top of that there are plenty of dial colors that TAG offers.
TAG Heuer Autavia History and New 2019 Line
Okay before we talk about our last category in the TAG Heuer buying guide, which is going to be racing. We need to make a quick detour. Now in 2019 TAG Heuer released its newest model line which they called the Autavia line and we’re going to take an even further step back to the 1930s when we talked about how Heuer dominated the dashboard chronograph and timer market, and those existed in automobiles and in aviation, Autavia. Now the Autavia line from the 30s didn’t just stop with the dashboard chronographs in automobiles and in aviation. It went on to be some of the more iconic coronagraphs in racing as well. And TAG Heuer ended up using a lot of those Autavia designs in reissues over the past years. But with this 2019 release of the Autavia line is something wholly different. It doesn’t necessarily draw upon the inspiration of automobiles or aviation but rather just vintage inspiration. So, going forward when we talk about the Racing category and we talked about Autavia watches we are referring specifically to the predecessor. These Autavia reissues that we love so much.
TAG Heuer “Racing” Watches
All right so this is where we’re going to land the TAG Heuer plane. Is the racing category. Now racing and Heuer racing and TAG Heuer go hand-in-hand. I mean Heuer created the Autavia line, the Carrera line, and the Monaco line. That’s insane, and TAG Heuer has done a great job keeping those three specific lines alive, and in that again dozens of models have been created so we kind of want to distill it down and tell you if you want a racing watch from TAG Heuer these are the models you need to keep an eye out for. So, first off the Autavia Reissues. And this kind of goes back to that confusing Autavia new line, but Autavia Reissues are some of the best TAG Heuer watches. They go ahead and take vintage designs and often mix those with new elements to create a whole new, vintage inspired watch, based off of a lot of these Autavia designs. And they are just wonderful.
Now the Carrera line is a place where TAG Heuer kind of pushes the envelope technologically. They have actually some in-house movements that end up in some of their watches, but again we think that some of the best Carreras are the reissues. They show off what makes a Carrera so great. So angular lugs, often a more modest wrist size, and very legible clean dials. All right so up next is the Monaco line, and I know that we talked about the Monaco when we were talking about dress watches, but it deserves mentioning again. The Monaco was released in the late 60s and it was a showstopper. I mean this thing was crazy and that design has withstood the test of time. It is still here today, and you can still get a TAG Heuer Monaco with a crown at nine o’clock, albeit not the original movement rather a reproduction of it but it is a phenomenal watch.
And if that crazy out their style isn’t maybe your cup of tea there is a design called the Monza which is almost an in-between. It has that kind of square design but what we like to call a cushion case and its curved lugs make it generally we’re a little better on the wrist than let’s say the Monaco does. So those are kind of over here in the racing category, but definitely worth mentioning.
Now as an honorable mention I think we need to talk about the Formula 1. Now this is a category of TAG Heuer watches that inextricably is also linked to racing and is often the more affordable option. Most of the Formula 1 watch models are a quartz powered design. So similar to the Aquaracer, where a lot of these models have both the quartz option and the automatic option, the Formula 1 watch definitely focuses on quartz options and thus does make them a little bit more affordable, but for us if you want to go with a racing watch from TAG Heuer we think sticking with the reissues. Whether it’s an Autavia Reissue, a Carrera reissue, or a Monaco reissue is really the way to go. TAG Heuer has done an exceptional job keeping the reissue and the heritage of Heuer alive and well, and we think that is where our they shine best.
Crown & Caliber’s Top TAG Heuer Watch Picks
Ok so we just went over a lot of watches from TAG Heuer and we’re going to go ahead and just recap our favorites from each category. So, if you’re going to go with a dress watch from TAG Heuer we recommend the Carrera Reissue, specifically the 1964 Reissue. And for a few reasons. It is a smaller case size which is great for a dress watch you can get it in stainless steel or in gold which is also a plus and it does still have a chronograph which maybe isn’t the most dressy but it kind of harkens back to that sport and racing heritage that TAG Heuer is known for. So, if you’re going to go with a dive watch from TAG Heuer then we recommend keeping it classic. We’re going to go with stainless steel the 41-millimeter case size and we want to go with the ceramic bezel version and for a little extra flair we love that blue dial with that matching blue ceramic bezel. All right up last on our recap is the racing category.
Now because the racing category covers so many watches in the TAG Heuer lineup we figured we’d give you two of our favorites. So, at first is the Autavia Reissue Jack Heuer 85th anniversary. Now this watch is great for so many reasons, for starters it’s an Autavia Reissue and that does such a wonderful job of reminding us of the Heuer of past years on top of that it has this wonderful “Beads of Rice” bracelet which is a nice vintage touch but has it been updated so it’s a little bit more comfortable and easy wearing and lastly it has an awesome Panda dial that’s silver dial with the black sub dials is just gorgeous it’s highly legible and it’s what you want in a chronograph. All right so for our second favorite in the TAG Heuer racing category we have to go with a Monaco, and not just any Monaco. We’re going to be looking at the TAG Heuer Reissue Monaco Calibre 11. And this watch is great for so many reasons first starters it’s a Monaco, so you get that awesome square case design but then this reproduction Calibre 11 allows the crown to go back to the 9 o’clock a side so you basically have everything that was great about the original. You have that blue dial with the awesome red accents you have that square case design that is so Monaco and then you have the nine o’clock crown and it is just a perfect watch.
Alright guys so there you. Our TAG Heuer buying guide and there are dozens and dozens and probably dozens of models that we didn’t cover and delve into the specifics of, but here is what we want you to take away from this buying guide is that TAG Heuer knows its history and it does such a great job of using that history and that heritage to produce wonderful Reissues and Re-Editions and we think those are a perfect way to experience the TAG Heuer brand. So, let us know in the comments below what your favorite TAG Heuer model is. Let us know if we completely missed the boat and there’s a model that you think we should have put in this category and as always guys thanks for watching.