Yesterday, TAG Heuer unveiled a special limited edition collection in continuation of its partnership with Porsche, marking the 50th anniversary – to the day – of the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7. To celebrate the occasion, TAG Heuer invited a fleet of the top RS (short for Rennsport which is German for racing) collectors in Europe to take their personal cars to the streets of Paris. The cars set the stage for the big reveal: two watches, one in steel and the other in rose gold, which take direct design cues from the original Carrera RS 2.7.
The shared naming convention (Carrera) allowed for a creative approach to a foundational collection for TAG. On the dial, and engraved into the case are the words “Carrera” but instead of the standard printing seen on the regular collection, we find the recognizable typeface of the Porsche Carrera.
In steel, the case side engraving is filled with blue lacquer whereas, on the gold, it is more subdued with no filling. The colors chosen for the two timepieces are drawn from two iconic colorways for the RS 2.7 (which in its lifetime only saw 1,500 cars ever produced) blue and red. These colors were displayed on white-painted cars, with a large “Carrera” painted on the sides.
When it comes to the steel blue model, the standout (other than the dial) is the white fabric strap that has the same Carrera printing as well as Porsche branding on one of the keepers. This model also comes with a stainless steel bracelet.
For the red dial model, TAG Heuer opted for rose gold which brings a warm tone to the overall design, pairing it with a red leather strap. Both models are powered by the TAG Heuer Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic with 80 hours of power reserve but are limited in different quantities.
I was in Paris for the launch of this pair of LEs so I was able to experience the watches in their proper context … that is in the presence of the actual cars from which they take their design inspiration. Cruising around the city in vintage RS 2.7 Carreras was a treat unto itself, I won’t lie. I spent time in the passenger seat of a few RS 911’s (basically Porsche’s most hardcore performance car) this week, and I found myself connecting with the owners of these cars because there was a shared language of collecting and of appreciation. Many of these cars were six-figures – one very special lightweight, racing variant goes for upwards of $1 million dollars today (the owner of that one has no intention of selling). These RS drivers, owners, collectors, or whatever you want to call them are obsessed with their cars. They don’t baby them, they aren’t investments. They’re meant to be driven, and boy do these guys drive them (a couple of times, I had to make sure my “vintage” seat belt was still working properly).
So you can look at a release like this from TAG Heuer and think it’s a bit cheeky, a bit uninspired. In fact, you can think whatever you like, but I think it’s important to add context where you otherwise might not have it.
Let’s begin with the watch itself purely from a design standpoint. Do I connect with the look? Not entirely, but that’s mostly because it feels a bit big. It’s a little thick, and the overall aesthetic is more playful and more automotive-inspired than I like my watches to be. The fabric strap with the Carrera branding? Not my cup of tea. The red leather strap on the rose gold variant? I’m not a red-strap guy. But then I think back to those vintage Porsches.
And I also think about the TAG Heuer and Porsche partnership and how vastly different this release feels from prior watches. Whereas those were fully modern, these go hard for heritage – but in a unique way. Instead of trying to recreate a classic Heuer chrono, TAG has built a modern watch infused only with automotive heritage. It’s like a watch car, or car watch, or something.
A release like this, in limited quantities, is far more about what it represents than what it is. I’d venture to guess that true gearheads are going to find this to be pretty fascinating. I know the RS collectors I spent time with really got a kick out of it.
But beyond kicks, there’s a shared heritage between TAG Heuer and Porsche as well as the Carrera name. I’m actually shocked this is the first time those two things have truly crossed over in this co-branding sort of way.
With a bit more understanding of the Porsche Carrera 911 RS 2.7, I can appreciate what I otherwise might think of as kitschy. It’s the 50th anniversary of the first car to bear the Carrera name, celebrated with a watch brand that made that same name famous in a horological sense. Limited Edition watches should be distinctive and should be a celebration. Both of those boxes are ticked with this release. TAG Heuer and Porsche could have been far more conservative with their approach here. Instead, both brands leaned into the fun and made a limited run of watches quite different from other chronographs in the collection. When the Swiss watch industry has fun, I’m here for it.