Jack Heuer, the great-grandson of the founder of the Heuer Watch Company, Edouard Heuer, took the helm at Heuer in the 1960s and his leadership was behind many of the company’s successes, including the Heuer Carrera chronograph. Jack Heuer wanted to create a watch specifically for racecar drivers with an open and highly legible dial within a robust case that was both shock resistant and waterproof. Named after the notoriously dangerous racecar, Carrera Panamericana, the manual wound Carrera chronograph was launched in 1963.
The first generation of Heuer Carrera chronographs sported a 36mm stainless steel case and a very clear and readable dial that was offered with either two or three registers. In 1969, Heuer presented to the world the first automatic chronograph Chronomatic movement, dubbed the Caliber 11, which powered the Carrera chronographs that year and made way for a bevy of automatic calibers from the company. One of the most iconic vintage Heuer Carrera chronographs is the Carrera ref. 1153 Automatic with a 39mm case, squarer lugs, dynamic dial with two registers in a contrasting color to the dial, and a date window at 12 o’clock. The Heuer Carrera collection remained in production until about the mid-1980s until it was discontinued except for a few limited edition models.
When Heuer was acquired by TAG (Technique Avant Garde) in 1985 and renamed TAG Heuer, the Carrera collection was no longer part of the company’s catalog of watches. In 2004, TAG Heuer brought back the Carrera as a flagship collection of the company featuring very modern looking chronographs inspired by history of the legendary watch. The new TAG Heuer Carrera, powered by Caliber 16, featured a 41mm stainless steel case and its dial had the three subsidiary dials at 12, 6, and 9 o’clock along with a date window at 3 o’clock. In 2010, TAG Heuer unveiled the Caliber 1887, an in-house manufacture chronograph movement equipped with the breakthrough oscillating pinion that was invented by Edouard Heuer in 1887. Today’s Carerra collection of luxury sports watches offers a range of case sizes from 39mm to 45mm, dial styles, material options, and even some non-chronograph watches. There’s also a Carrera collection of ladies’ sports watches beautifully decorated with diamonds.
Whether you’re looking for vintage Heuer Carrera chronographs or secondhand TAG Heuer Carrera luxury sports watches, the secondary market is a good place to start. Used Carrera Caliber 6 automatic watches, pre-owned Carrera Caliber 1887 automatic chronographs, and secondhand Carrera Caliber Heuer 01 can be bought at greatly reduced prices.