TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5

Angus Davies provides an in-depth review of the recently launched TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic – Steel 39mm. This seemingly simple watch features a plethora of delightful design details which impart a smile-inducing joy. This detailed review of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic includes live images, specification details and pricing.
I adore complicated watches which feature a chronograph, a minute repeater or tourbillon. However, on some occasions, there is a strong argument for simplicity. Sometimes a pure, clean, uncluttered appearance, with ease of interpretation, makes an appealing rationale for purchase.

Simplicity, in terms of watchmaking, is a contradiction in terms. Whilst a watch may seem absent of numerous functions, to create a stylish watch devoid of registers, guilloché or tourbillon cage is actually quite difficult. The designer needs to impart eye-appeal whilst not overburdening the dial with the extraneous. Indeed, the idiom “the devil is in the detail” is very apt when designing a watch with a limited array of functions.

Earlier this year at Baselworld 2014, TAG Heuer revealed some awe-inspiring novelties featuring some incredible avant-garde aesthetics and know-how, including the mind-blowing Monaco V4 with its ingenious belt-driven movement. However, a model which caught me on my blind-side and seduced my soul with its dapper, but restrained, appearance was the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic.

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic – Steel 39mm with a choice of steel bracelet or alligator leather strap. Dial variants include black, silver and anthracite. I have not seen all the available options, but confess to liking the black dial version on a leather strap (ref WAR211A.FC6180). It has a pre-eminent legibility and warmth, courtesy of the black hued strap. It is this model which provides the focal point of this in-depth watch review.
The hand-applied, polished and fine-brushed faceted indexes denote the hours and provide sublime contrast with the black canvas of the dial. The hour and minutes hands repeat this faceted and polished characteristic and feature luminescent treatment. Quite simply, the dial ensemble delivers peerless legibility. A date display is positioned at 3 o’clock, with white text delivered on a black date disc. Gracing the date aperture is a highly polished frame, enhancing the visual appeal of the dial and drawing the eyes towards the prevailing date.

A lithe central sweep seconds hand, resembling an elongated isosceles triangle, completes the array of functions conferred. It is unusual for a dial with such limited functions, to ensnare my heart. However, in the case of the Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic, the adage, “less is more” is most fitting.

The resultant aesthetic of the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic is a model of elegance and grace. I would liken it to a natural beauty who does not require abundant quantities of make-up to accentuate her appearance, she is gorgeous and does not need to employ excessive adornment.
The stainless steel case has a diameter of 39mm, which is slightly smaller than I would ordinarily choose. However, it looks larger in reality than the specification would suggest. I can only assume this is due to the design of the lugs which are long, albeit not unduly so, when compared with some models. The resultant mien suited my average sized wrist (19.5cm circumference). All surfaces of the case are highly polished, enhancing the visual appearance of the watch without being excessively flamboyant. This is a very wearable watch which will suit various social settings.

The case back openly reveals the Calibre 5 movement, courtesy of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. A steel folding clasp, adorned with the TAG Heuer logo, helps the black alligator strap comfortably reside on the wrist. The leather and clasp proffer a luxurious temperament despite the remarkably accessible asking price of £2095 (as at 3.6.2014).
The self-winding Calibre 5 movement has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz), contains 25 to 26 rubies, depending on execution, and provides a power reserve of 38 hours.
The new TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic – Steel 39mm is a handsome timepiece with a notable air of sophistication.

The seemingly simple dial is the result of many hours of toil spent in the TAG Heuer design studio, honing each element to a peerless outcome. The resultant landscape of the dial is beautiful, with delightful details which reinforce the rationale for purchase.

Versatility is another key strength of the Calibre 5 Automatic – Steel 39mm. It is a suitable accessory to complement casual or formal attire. Indeed, I would suggest it would admirably fulfil the role of dress watch at a black tie event, such is the cleanliness of the dial.