05 Jul 2010

A Watch for the Third Millennium: the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887


Minimalist design and 21st century technology merge seamless in the TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Chronograph.

For five generations, TAG Heuer has been master of the microsecond, beginning with the 1/100th-of-a-second Mikrograph stopwatch in 1916 to the 2006 Calibre 360, the first mechanical wrist chronograph to beat 360,000/hour.

Four years ago, TAG Heuer started working on the design and development of the Calibre 1887, a stunning automatic chronograph that harkens back in appearance to the original Carerra created in 1964 by Jack Heuer.  CEO of TAG Heuer for two decades, Heuer is a legend in the watch industry for being the inspiration behind many of the watchmaker’s iconic timepieces including the Monaco, the Silverstone and the Aquaracer.  Heuer continues to be active in his current role as the company’s Honorary Chairman, and has personally overseen the redesign of every new generation of the Carrera family.

The TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Chronograph is the 21st century design evolution of the 1964 icon.  Faithful to the original in design and spirit, its radical new “engine”, the Calibre 1887, turns it into a Third Millennium chronograph in terms of size, quality, performance and accuracy.

The timepiece was produced and assembled completely in house at TAG Heuer’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Cornol, Switzerland.  A notable feature of the factory is use the first-ever Swiss robot capable of automatically selecting and setting the Calibre 1887 movement’s 39 jewels.  Many watch companies will purchase complete movements from a major supplier, engrave their company’s name and other information onto them, and encase it with their own or even contractor-supplied cases. The new robotics allow for the production of a true “Manufacture” movement at a very competitive cost — a perfect embodiment of TAG Heuer’s famous “fair cost/fair price” philosophy.

A study in minimalism, the watch has all the elegance of a classic timepiece, with its two eye chronograph, polished stainless steel case, and round bezel fitted with a tachometer scale. The dial, with its optional silver or black face, features a 12-hour chronograph, located at six o’clock, a 30-minutes counter at 12 o’clock, a seconds sub-dial at nine o’clock, and a small date aperture, also positioned at six o’clock.  A matching black leather alligator strap or five row stainless steel bracelet complete the package.

Watch aficionados will appreciate the exhibition case-back for inside is the Calibre 1887, a highly advanced column wheel/oscillating pinion integrated chronograph movement platform.  Developed from intellectual property elements acquired from Seiko Instruments Inc (SII),  the Calibre 1887 represents one of the newest constructions in the high-end chronographs world (most existing chronographs date back from the 70s or early 80s).

After acquiring the rights from SII, TAG Heuer spent the last three years re-engineering and redeveloping key components like the assortment bridge and the main plate, and adding major technical features such as an eccentric adjustment screw to the oscillating pinion (patented first by Edouard Heuer in 1887).

TAG Heuer then partnered with 22 premium component makers (21 of them in Switzerland) to redevelop other major components such as the assortment, shock absorbers and raquetterie.

Final assembling takes place in a totally new, dedicated workshop at TAG Heuer’s facilities in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Neuchâtel), on a semi-automated line under dust-free, fully hermetic conditions. Each movement is individually traced by high-performance software and undergoes 116 measurement sequences of rigorous quality control. Entirely automated stations, custom-made by a Swiss specialist, alternate with those requiring manual intervention — in this manner, the exacting, artisanal touch of the TAG Heuer watch master is always in complete control.

This “Grand Classique” re-invented for TAG Heuer’s 150th Anniversary is faithful to the original Carrera in design and spirit, while its radical new “engine”, the Calibre 1887, turns it into a superb chronograph for a gentleman of the Third Millennium.

2 Responses to A Watch for the Third Millennium: the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887
  1. Great post – detailed coveraage: well constructed, and eloquently worded piece. Nice job 🙂

  2. hey thanks for the info. appreciate the good work


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