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Few brands enjoy so close a relationship to motorsport as TAG Heuer. Founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer, this company has been producing chronographs since the very beginning. What’s more, the manufacturer added dashboard instruments for cars and aircraft to their repertoire in the early 20th century.
Edouard’s great-grandson, Jack, made Heuer watches the de facto standard of the racing world in the 1960s. Models like the Autavia, Carrera, and Monaco quickly earned cult followings and remain integral parts of TAG Heuer’s current catalog. However, more recent collections like the Formula 1 and Aquaracer series of diving watches are also highly popular among the brand’s fans.
Throughout its history, TAG Heuer has distinguished itself as an innovator in the industry – a legacy this Swiss watch manufacturer continues to this day. For example, TAG Heuer’s engineers regularly use materials from the motorsport and aerospace industries. Furthermore, they were the first luxury watchmaker that dared to enter the smartwatch market with their Connected series.
5 Reasons to Buy a Watch from TAG Heuer
- World-famous racing watches with a cult following
- Practical features like a chronograph or GMT function
- A design classic: the square Monaco
- Top models with a tourbillon and chronograph
- TAG Heuer Connected: the first luxury smartwatch
Prices at a Glance: TAG Heuer Watches
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, features|
|Monaco V4, WAW2170.FC6261||72,500 USD||Platinum, belt-driven caliber V4|
|Carrera Heuer 02T Nanograph, CAR5A8K.FT6172||23,500 USD||Titanium, tourbillon, Isograph technology|
|Autavia, 2446||20,000 USD||Stainless steel, vintage chronograph, Valjoux 72|
|Monaco, 1133 B||16,000 USD||Stainless steel, vintage chronograph, caliber 11/12, blue dial|
|Carrera, 2447N||11,500 USD||Stainless steel, vintage chronograph, Valjoux 72|
|Carrera Porsche Special Edition, CBN2A1F.FC6492||6,400 USD||Stainless steel, chronograph, caliber Heuer 02, ceramic bezel|
|Monaco Calibre 11, CAW211P.FC6356||5,400 USD||Stainless steel, chronograph, caliber 11 (ETA base), blue dial|
|Autavia, 11063V||5,100 USD||Stainless steel, vintage chronograph, caliber 12, oval case|
|Autavia Heuer 02, CBE2110.BA0687||4,400 USD||Stainless steel, chronograph, caliber Heuer 02|
|Autavia Automatic, WBE5192.FC8300||3,800 USD||Bronze, three hands, date, ceramic bezel|
|Carrera 1887, CAR2012.FC6236||3,300 USD||Stainless steel, chronograph, caliber 1887|
|Carrera Automatic, WAR211A.BA0782||2,300 USD||Stainless steel, three hands, date, caliber 5|
|Connected, SBG8A10.BA0646||1,900 USD||Stainless steel, smartwatch|
|Aquaracer, CAY1110.BA0927||1,800 USD||Stainless steel, water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft), date, quartz chronograph|
How much do TAG Heuer watches cost?
The price range for TAG Heuer watches is vast and varies greatly by model and year of production. The most affordable models feature quartz calibers such as the Formula 1 from the late 1980s and early 90s. You can call one of these timepieces your own for between 230 and 370 USD.
The three-hand Aquaracer diving watch with a quartz caliber is also rather affordable and costs anywhere from 470 to 720 USD. The same watch with an automatic caliber can be yours for as little as 1,100 USD. The Aquaracer Chronograph is a more recent addition to the family and demands up to 8,200 USD.
Prices for a Carrera range from roughly 1,200 USD for a three-hand model with the caliber 5 to more than 71,000 USD for a chronograph with the tourbillon caliber Heuer 02T and a diamond-studded bezel.
Those on the market for an Autavia should be prepared to spend at least 2,400 USD. For that price, you can get a modern three-hand edition, which debuted in 2019. Retro chronographs from the current catalog change hands for between 4,800 and 6,000 USD. At the upper end of the price range, you’ll find vintage chronographs from the 1960s and 70s. These timepieces regularly demand upwards of 24,000 USD.
The square-shaped Monaco is available as a three-hand watch starting around 1,500 USD. Versions with a chronograph cost a minimum of 2,500 USD. Special collector’s editions and vintage models require a much larger investment of 10,500 to 18,000 USD. Finally, the platinum version of the Monaco V4 tops the price list at approximately 71,500 USD.
The Heuer Carrera: Legendary Watches Since 1963
The Carrera has been among TAG Heuer’s most famous and successful collections since its debut in 1963. Designed by Jack Heuer himself, it gets its name from the famous Carrera Panamericana rally, which was the most dangerous event of its kind back in the 1950s.
The earliest Carrera models were all chronographs with a focus on optimal readability. Thus, Heuer kept the design very tidy. The dial comes with narrow baton hands, applied bar indices, and a subtle minute track around its outer edge. The subdials sit slightly sunken into the dial, adding a nice sense of depth. What’s more, Heuer decided against a tachymeter bezel – a near-ubiquitous feature on other chronographs. This results in a particularly elegant timepiece.
Prime examples of vintage Carreras include the ref. 2447 and ref. 3647. The former has three subdials and gets its power from the manual caliber Valjoux 72. Depending on the exact edition and its condition, be prepared to spend between 8,600 and 11,500 USD. The Carrera 3647 also uses a manual caliber, namely the Valjoux 92. This model comes with two subdials and sells for anywhere between 6,300 and 10,500 USD.
Modern Carrera Watches: New Calibers, Sporty Designs
Over the decades, the Carrera has grown into a comprehensive collection of both vintage-inspired timepieces and watches with modern designs, including several options with a tachymeter bezel. TAG Heuer offers various chronograph editions, automatic three-hand watches with a date display, and models with skeletonized dials.
The Carrera Calibre 16 is a true modern classic. These models get their power from the time-tested Valjoux 7750, the most widely used chronograph caliber in the world. This Carrera is available in numerous designs, ranging from sporty and modern to more elegant versions on an alligator leather strap. Be sure to have between 3,500 and 4,700 USD on hand for one of these chronographs.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 is the series’ most affordable model. This automatic three-hand watch comes with your choice of a day or day-date display. You can also choose between a solid stainless steel case or a two-tone combination of stainless steel and rose gold. Depending on the exact edition, a Carrera Calibre 5 will set you back between 2,100 and 2,700 USD.
How much do Carreras with an in-house caliber cost?
TAG Heuer has been outfitting select Carrera models with in-house calibers since 2010. Their first in-house movement, the Calibre 1887, is actually based on the Seiko caliber 6S78. The more recent Calibre Heuer 01 is very similar and appears in their sporty modern chronographs. A skeletonized dial lends these timepieces a particularly futuristic look. The Carrera Calibre 1887, on the other hand, has a more classically elegant design. Prices vary by model and range from 3,300 to 4,400 USD.
The Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 is outfitted with the latest generation of in-house chronograph calibers. The movement boasts an impressive 80-hour power reserve and displays the date between 4 and 5 o’clock. Unlike the calibers 16, 1887, and 01, the Calibre 02 has its 30-minute counter at 3, small seconds dial at 6, and 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock. The 2020 sports model costs about 5,100 USD, while prices for versions with skeletonized dials begin around 4,900 USD. Watches with an additional GMT function demand roughly 5,700 USD.
The Heuer 02 also powers numerous special-edition Carreras. Examples include the 160th-anniversary model and the 2021 Porsche-Edition. The latter is the result of a collaboration between TAG Heuer and the famed luxury sports car manufacturer. It takes much of its design inspiration from the dashboard of the Porsche 911 Carrera. Thus, the watch’s numerals resemble the car’s speedometer, and a red “Porsche” inscription appears on the black ceramic bezel between 12 and 2 o’clock. What’s more, the dark gray dial’s special texture calls to mind images of fresh asphalt. You can purchase the Carrera Porsche Special Edition for about 6,000 USD on a stainless steel bracelet or 6,400 USD on a black leather strap.
Top Models With Tourbillons
The in-house caliber Heuer 02T ticks away inside the most complicated Carrera models. It features a tourbillon at 6 o’clock that makes one full rotation per minute. The models with a titanium case and diamond-set bezel are particularly refined and sell for approximately 22,000 USD in mint condition. Ceramic editions change hands for around 19,000 USD. The Carrera Heuer 02T Nanograph is the collection’s top model and features a hairspring made of a special carbon composite. This timepiece demands roughly 23,500 USD on Chrono24.
The TAG Heuer Monaco: A Square-Shaped Icon
The TAG Heuer Monaco is a true design classic. This square chronograph first rose to world fame after it appeared on Steve McQueen’s wrist in the film “Le Mans.” As a result, vintage models from this era are highly-coveted collector’s items. This is especially true of the ref. 1133B with a blue, white, and red dial and the Chronomatic caliber 11 or 12. Both movements were among the first automatic chronograph calibers ever produced and stand out thanks to the position of the crown on the left and chronograph pushers on the right. A well-maintained ref. 1133B often demands upwards of 15,500 USD today. The version with a gray dial bears the reference number 1133G and changes hands for as little as 9,300 USD on Chrono24.
Current models with a blue, white, and red dial look so similar to the original that you’d be forgiven for mistaking the two. Versions with the new Calibre 11 bear a particularly strong resemblance to their iconic predecessor. Like the original, the crown sits on the case’s left-hand side. However, the movement is actually a modified Sellita SW300 or ETA 2892 with an added chronograph module. This modular construction dates back to early Monaco watches from the 1970s. Prices for timepieces with a blue, white, and red “McQueen” dial sit around 5,400 USD.
The new Calibre 11 also appears in several limited-edition Monacos, including the Monaco Gulf and the 2021 Monaco Titan. The former shines in the colors of the Gulf Racing Team, while the latter comes with a silver dial. You’ll also find this movement inside the five 50th-anniversary editions, each of which has a limited run of 169 pieces. Depending on which model you choose, be prepared to spend between 5,800 and 14,500 USD.
Here, you can choose between versions with a black or blue dial. These models sell for around 5,000 USD each.
As of 2020, TAG Heuer began phasing out the Monaco Calibre 12 and replacing it with the in-house caliber Heuer 02. You can purchase a standard edition with a black or blue dial for anywhere from 5,200 to 6,000 USD on Chrono24. TAG Heuer also offers special editions like the Monaco Grand Prix de Monaco with a red and white dial and the Monaco Green with a dark green sunburst dial from 2021. These timepieces demand between 9,600 and 10,500 USD.
Extraordinary: The Monaco V4 and Bamford Edition
One of the Monaco collection’s highlights is the Bamford Limited Edition. Only 500 copies exist of this fantastic timepiece. TAG Heuer collaborated with Bamford Watch Department to develop this carbon watch. Its black dial features a light blue minute scale and matching hands. A standard caliber 11 ticks away inside its high-tech case. Plan to spend upwards of 13,000 USD on a mint-condition timepiece.
The manufacturer went in the complete opposite direction for the Monaco V4. This watch features a brand new type of caliber that transfers energy from the mainspring using belts instead of gears. Searching for a traditional winding rotor here will be in vain. Instead, the watch uses a linear mass that moves up and down along a circuit. Another of this futuristic Monaco’s notable details is its V-shaped main plate with four barrels. TAG Heuer designed these components based on a race car engine. This high-tech timepiece costs around 71,500 USD in platinum, while the titanium edition is much more affordable at about 32,000 USD.
Autavia: From the Dashboard to Your Wrist
The Autavia completes the trilogy of legendary TAG Heuer chronographs. Its name is a portmanteau of the words “automobile” and “aviation.” It originally debuted in 1933 as a dashboard clock for race cars and aircraft. Heuer later transformed it into a wristwatch, which they then released in 1962. Vintage Autavias like the ref. 2446 from the 60s are extremely coveted today and can demand more than 17,500 USD in good condition. Especially rare models, such as the 2446 GMT, often sell for much higher prices.
Vintage Autavias from the 1970s and 80s are much more affordable. Heuer equipped most Autavias from this era with the Chronomatic calibers 11, 12, and 15. These timepieces have cushion-shaped cases that further set them apart from the manually-wound watches from the 1960s. Well-maintained watches cost between 5,000 and 6,200 USD on Chrono24.
In 2017, TAG Heuer reintroduced the Autavia with the in-house caliber Heuer 02. Its design bears a strong resemblance to chronographs from the 1960s. A bidirectional bezel with a 12-hour scale and a 42-mm case define this retro timepiece. The automatic caliber Heuer 02 provides the watch with an 80-hour power reserve, stop-seconds mechanism, and a quick-set date. You can purchase the version with a black dial and white subdials for about 4,400 USD. The model with a white dial and black subdials on a stainless steel bracelet costs about 5,400 USD.
A New Autavia With Three Hands
TAG Heuer treated the Autavia to a redesign in 2019. The collection has since exclusively contained three-hand watches powered by the caliber 5. This is a modified ETA 2824 movement that TAG Heuer equips with their proprietary Isograph balance made from a special anti-magnetic composite material. Furthermore, the caliber 5 in the new Autavia comes with COSC chronometer certification.
Historical models play a major role in the design of the modern Autavia. The easy-to-read luminous Arabic numerals date back to Autavia dashboard instruments from the 1930s, while the bezel comes from Jack Heuer’s early designs from the 1960s. Finally, the crown is nearly identical to the crown found on pilot’s watches from the 1940s.
Plan to spend around 2,700 USD on a stainless steel Autavia. You’ll need an additional 1,200 USD on hand to purchase the same watch in bronze.
Water-Resistant to 300 m: The TAG Heuer Aquaracer
TAG Heuer doesn’t limit themselves to life on the racetrack, as demonstrated by the Aquaracer. As its name implies, this collection contains wristwatches for water sports enthusiasts and divers.
The Aquaracer’s design includes everything you’d expect from a diving watch: Its case is water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft), there’s a rotatable bezel with a 60-minute scale, and the dial features luminous hands and indices. The bezel’s twelve-sided design is especially unique. This component is available in your choice of ceramic, aluminum, or stainless steel. Older editions also come with six bezel rider tabs.
The collection is home to classic three-hand watches as well as chronographs and GMT editions. Chronographs get their power from either the proven Valjoux 7750 or a high-precision quartz caliber. A quartz chronograph on a stainless steel bracelet will set you back roughly 1,900 USD. An Aquaracer Chronograph with an automatic caliber and stainless steel bracelet can be yours for around 3,500 USD in mint condition.
The three-hand Aquaracer with a date display is also available with an automatic or quartz caliber. Quartz editions cost a few hundred dollars less than their mechanical counterparts. An automatic Aquaracer with a 43-mm case and a ceramic or aluminum bezel demands about 2,900 USD new. At 2,000 USD, you can save nearly a thousand dollars by purchasing a model with a stainless steel bezel instead.
The TAG Heuer Connected: A Luxury Smartwatch
The TAG Heuer Connected was the first smartwatch ever made by a Swiss luxury watch company. Its design resembles that of the Carrera, and its different virtual dials – known as “watch faces” – take their cues from various historical models. The Connected uses an Intel processor and the Android Wear operating system. You can pair the watch with your iOS or Android device and download thousands of apps. For example, you can use the Connected to get directions, pay for items via Google Pay, listen to music, translate phrases, or track your exercise.
The TAG Heuer Connected has a 41 or 45-mm case and is largely made of lightweight titanium. However, there are also models with rose gold-plated or ceramic bezels and lugs. Watches with diamond-studded bezels and lugs are particularly luxurious and geared mainly toward women. When it comes to the band, you can choose from a leather or rubber strap or a ceramic or titanium bracelet.
You can find a first-generation Connected on Chrono24 for between 1,100 and 2,200 USD. The second generation debuted in 2020 and sells for anywhere from 1,900 to 2,600 USD.
The Story of TAG Heuer
The history of TAG Heuer began in 1860 when 20-year-old Edouard Heuer founded his then-small business in the Swiss town of Saint-Imier. Four years later, Heuer had garnered enough success that he was able to move his company to an impressive building in Biel. In 1882, Heuer patented his first stopwatch, and production began that same year. He developed the so-called oscillating pinion, a revolution in chronograph production, five years later. This mechanism is comprised of a movable stem and two pinions, one of which is constantly engaged with the second wheel.
In 1902, Charles and Jules Heuer took over the family business. Under their leadership, the company focused on producing specialty watches, such as the dashboard chronograph Time of Trip in 1911. This chronograph measured 11 cm in diameter and was ideally suited for installation on car and airplane dashboards. The large central hand told the time while the small pair of hands at 12 o’clock timed periods up to 12 hours.
Heuer achieved another milestone in 1916 with the Mikrograph, a chronograph able to measure time in increments of 1/100th of a second. The delicate second hand only required three seconds to make a complete revolution, and its balance wheel vibrated at an unbelievable frequency of 360,000 vibrations per hour (vph), or 50 Hz. This “super timer,” as Heuer called it, was perfect for measuring the flight time of artillery projectiles.
In the early 1930s, Heuer introduced the Time of Trip’s successor, the Autavia – a dashboard clock for cars and aircraft. It has a central second hand and two subdials for the 60-minute and 12-hour counters. The stopwatch was often paired with its counterpart, the Hervue, on a solid base plate. The Hervue had a power reserve of eight days and a movement from Revue Thommen. In 1962, exactly 30 years after the Autavia premiered, Heuer debuted a wristwatch chronograph under the same name.
TAG Heuer Milestones
- 1860: Edouard Heuer founds the business
- 1882: Introduction of the first Heuer stopwatch
- 1887: Heuer invents the oscillating pinion
- 1911: Patent awarded for “Time of Trip” dashboard chronograph
- 1916: Stopwatch Mikrograph runs at 360,000 vph
- 1962: Release of the Autavia wristwatch
Mergers and a Change in Ownership
In January 1964, the family business Ed. Heuer & Co. S.A. merged with Leonidas Watch Factory Ltd. However, the Heuer family remained at the helm. During the quartz crisis, the production of mechanical watches was almost completely discontinued. This resulted in the company adding quartz watches, such as the Chronosplit, to their portfolio.
In 1982, then-head of the company, Jack Heuer, was forced to sell his shares in the business. The watch manufacturer Piaget took charge from 1982 to 1985. In 1985, Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) entered the scene and took the reins. In 1988, the company was renamed TAG Heuer S.A., and in 1996, they went public. French luxury conglomerate LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE) has owned the company since 1999. Zenith and Hublot also belong to LVMH.
Expert Timekeepers With Many Famous Fans
TAG Heuer has always fostered a close relationship with motorsport. From the development of their first stopwatch in 1882 to watches meant for travel and ultra-modern chronographs, this Swiss company is the chronograph specialist.
This wasn’t lost on Steve McQueen, who wore a square Heuer Monaco in the 1971 film “Le Mans.” After making its debut on the silver screen, this watch with a dark blue dial quickly became a cult icon. In late 2020, McQueen’s actual watch from the movie went up for auction at Phillips and sold for over 2.2 million USD, making it the most expensive TAG Heuer to date.
Heuer’s widespread popularity isn’t limited to the Monaco. Racing legends like Aryton Senna and Bruce McLaren relied on the precise timekeeping of their Carreras, while Mario Andretti is a fan of the Autavia. Even former President Barack Obama wore a TAG Heuer during his time as a senator, specifically a model from the 1500 series with similar features to the current Aquaracer collection.