TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer assembled a healthy dose of New York’s “who’s who” at the famed Gleason’s Boxing Gym to break cover on their latest release, one that might in fact have a more niche appeal than the grandiose event might suggest. The TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali watch is a new piece based on one of Heuer’s stopwatches from the ‘50s whose interchangeable rings made it the ideal choice for timing the three-minute rounds of a boxing event.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases
The gold version which was auctioned

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

You see, Jean Claude Biver’s interest in the boxing world was made quite clear with the release of the Hublot King Power Knockout World Boxing Council watch back in 2012, as well as the subsequent charity auction that raised a cool million dollars for the WBC’s pension fund to support retired boxers — and with that in mind, TAG Heuer's foray into the boxing realm certainly comes as less of a surprise.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases
Dial on the one-off gold version

The TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali itself isn’t anything particularly glamorous when you get right down to it, but if there were ever a limited edition that need not be that, then you're looking at it right here. The stainless steel 43mm-wide case features a black opaline dial, and adjustable inner minute track displaying three-minute intervals, this new release certainly looks more rugged than sharp-edged; especially when compared to other Carrera models, like the Heuer-02T (reviewed here) or this rather controversial (and we think super cool) Nendo Limited Edition. Inside the case is the TAG Heuer Caliber 5 that should actually be based on a three-hand Sellita SW200.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

Not-so-subtle details include the very stopwatch-like minute indices at each 5 minute mark up front – those are some generously sized, super contrasty numerals – while a very handsome portrait of Ali engraved onto the case-back completes the theme. It’s a slight departure from the balance of TAG’s repertoire, though not too far of one. Its case is indeed straight out of the Carrera line sheet with the long, straight lugs and perfectly round bezel, with the expected addition of its extra crown at 10 o’clock and the indices and hands also are somewhat in line with what we have gotten used to seeing from the brand.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

Here's how the TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali works: heavyweight boxing bouts used to be 15 rounds (now they're 12), three minutes each, plus a one-minute break between every round. This new piece has 15 sections so that it matches the dial of the Ring Master from 1957. What you have to do is use the crown at 10 to rotate the flange ring with the 15 chapters, align it with the minute hand like an internal diver's bezel, and watch the minute hand sweep along the chapters, marking the passing of each round.

If you have a keen eye for detail, you have noticed that there are not one but two rings, with an off-white-colored one running on the periphery of the dial. This is there because there are amateur/women's boxing matches with two-minute rounds (instead of three) and so this new piece, just like the old one, can be used to time either.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

Take a few steps back from all this and you'll see: this type of insertion of a product into niche lifestyle sectors is exactly the kind of thing that Jean Claude Biver excels at. From the TAG Heuer Formula 1 David Guetta Special Edition (which, to be fair, is a nice-looking piece considering its target audience) to the Zenith El Primero Skeleton Tribute To The Rolling Stones — not to mention an absurd volume of “limited” releases at Hublot with everyone from bespoke shoemaker Berluti to talented tattooer Maxime Büchi of Sang Bleu — the man has done an inimitable job of placing the LVMH brands he oversees in high-visibility positions in all sorts of sectors to help fuel sales... yes, primarily from the likes of people that aren’t collectors and enthusiasts.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

With that noted, Biver has not neglected die-hard fans of TAG Heuer – in fact, we are more spoiled for choice for olden but golden Heuer revamps than we have been in a long, long time. The question is, will niche, non-traditional releases cut watch enthusiasts' appetite for the hot new stuff like the amazing Monza reissue (hands-on here), certain Carreras, or even haute horlogerie stuff like the new 1/100th second mechanical chronograph, the Mikrograph? Nope, I think it will not. It’s just these two characters – neither that big of a mismatch for the versatile brand that TAG Heuer is – have to co-exist peacefully, for these other buying demographics that’ll keep TAG afloat as this industry-wide recession continues.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

Back to the event at hand, the most notable component to the evening’s festivities (and the reason so many made their way out to a boxing gym in Brooklyn on a Tuesday night), was the "one-of-one" gold TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali timepiece sitting in the center of the room that was auctioned off during the evening. Complete with a signed and authenticated pair of Ali’s boxing gloves, the auction drew a healthy number of bidders. All of the proceeds of the sale were directed to The Ali Center, and by the time the hammer dropped, the solid gold watch netted a healthy $88,000 (from JCB himself, no less). All told, TAG cut a check for a respectable $119,000 to the center that night in hopes of benefiting the numerous education programs the center runs every year.

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali Watch Watch Releases

Now, the one talking point that seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue is the timing of this partnership. Much as people want to take shots at Biver for this release coming quite hot on the heels of Ali's passing, I wouldn’t be so quick to throw stones. The partnership with Ali — a man who Biver has great respect and admiration for — was penned prior to his death and was initially set to see the light of day right around the time of his passing. After discussing the matter, a decision was made to push the release back six to eight months, which may seem a little soon for some, but that line in the sand can be somewhat arbitrary. Either way, this is by no means TAG’s first rodeo when it comes to athlete collaborations, and love it or hate it, it’s going to be more of a hit than a miss among boxing fans when it starts landing in boutiques. The TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber 5 Ring Master Muhammad Ali watch is priced at $3,000. tagheuer.com

What do you think?
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  • Raymond Wilkie

    Let me just start the ball rolling on this,,……………………..Awful.

  • SuperStrapper

    I saw this in the window of an AD this week and laughed out loud. And that was without seeing that truly terrible relief on the caseback.

  • At least they included boxing gloves so you don’t get hurt punching yourself in the head for buying such an awful, ludicrous watch. This really takes limited edition, niche marketing to a new low.

    • word-merchant

      The boxing gloves are so you can’t pick the watch up to put it on your wrist.

  • Jerry Mathers

    What in the hell?

  • word-merchant

    Janis Trading, all is forgiven.

  • Jerry Davis

    The whole presentation is obviously not about the watch…. however,
    as a stand alone TAG watch, it’s not good. Let’s hope as a limited edition timepiece
    it’s very limited.

  • Yojimbo

    That is a hell of a lot of ‘stuff’ for $3k and may become a collectible outside of watch circles (I spend a lot of time on sports auction websites) if by ‘limited’ they mean an actual low number produced. I didn’t see the total number being made in the article as I started scrolling midway through when this started getting all advertorial.

    • That was a one-of-a-kind presentation package for the fundraising auction. For $3K you just get the ugly watch.

      • Yojimbo

        oh I missed that, the letter of authenticity I didn’t really ‘process’ I thought it was just replica crap. 3k for that watch is a touch steep and Tag being Tag I’d just look for it used in a few years if I liked it because I doubt it’ll retain much value.

  • The timing ring is pretty cool, but overall it just doesn’t pack the punch I was hoping for.

    • Giacomo T.

      I see what you did there ^^

  • Aditya

    I’m not surprised. Just another reason to dislike Tag products. I’m not eloquent enough to say what I feel about this watch, it may be the worst one this year from any company, and there sure have been doosies.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Haven`t you seen the Zenith Rolling Stones watch?

      • Aditya

        Indeed I have, but the tag still takes the cake

  • BrJean

    Get yourself ready for a positive review!

    Firstly, this watch is somehow outstanding because of its unique boxing round-tracking complication. Secondly, the date window is not overlapping with hour or minute markers which is remarkable achievement for a watch of this price segment. Thirdly, there is a great area for further complication: just imagine a boxing round repeater mechanism which chimes the end of each round. That’s not your boring grande sonnerie! Well done, TAG.

  • Shawn Lavigne

    what can i say. i’m aversive to everything about this watch.

  • DanW94

    I kind of like it, so I won’t be taking any jabs at it. I’ll let the rest of you guys deliver the low blows : )

  • Whoisi

    The chapter ring look functional with the boxing theme.
    It is nice that TAG honor Muhammad Ali, one of greatest boxer.
    The price is fine which include the accessories.

    RIP Mohammad Ali

  • Shinytoys

    A truly nice honor package and a watch that keeps it classy. Well done !!

  • The pen guy, the watch guy, the dead celebrity guy…they’re all the same guy.

  • BNABOD

    Yeah can someone grab the boxing gloves and hit me w it please

  • Marius

    The relief on the caseback is pure art. Let’s be honest: Lorenzo Ghiberti himself couldn’t have done a better job. Allow me to give you the 411 on Lorenzo Ghiberti: he created the famous bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni). Michelangelo (the artist, not the teenage mutant ninja turtle) described them as “The Gates of Paradise.”

    As much as I like the work of Ghiberti, I have to say that he pales in comparison to the engraving of this Tag. I will attach a few pictures so that you can see how the great Renaissance master was beaten at his own game. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de7600f2617d258eec5d483c1a107df59b63f4fdbf5d1d0dc8843408d2a499d9.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/76810b2d25a1c01115a2cd2e9d3000cd073eeb10c749f83a2044ae7085e992f0.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e7967830558964ab9626fdb9105601d34fedfb5b84edea2f03749cffdd47bf53.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e018b15fbbf4d75889cabe6c136195271380358f90d8f2f17a8b31cab48e78b.jpg

  • cg

    That has got to be the WORST rendering of Cassius Clay I’ve ever seen. Who is that guy on the back of that watch? Looks like they hired Franklin Mint to put this tired travesty together.

    • SuperStrapper

      But wait! Act now and we’ll take $5 off your order and upgrade you to priority shipping, FREE!

      Limit of 800 per order! Quantities are going fast! Act now!

      • cg

        QVC Shopping Channel is next! Boy is this thing bad.

    • Bill W

      I think it’s either Alan Thicke or Rod Blagojevich.

  • Boi1der

    The watch is well executed for what it is, a tribute watch. The the packaging and accoutrements will likely make it collectible. I’ve seen several photos of Ali wearing a Cartier Tank. I would have designed something more along those lines as the Man himself seemed to like elegant things.

  • Bill W

    This is not the greatest.

  • cluedog12

    Fine for what it is. The boxing timing is borderline gimmicky, but it’s useful if you want to find out whether a robot is working the bell. The celebrity limited editions are getting a bit more interesting and distinct on the whole. So good job TAG Heuer, Hublot, Zenith…LVMH.

    What’s up with the lack of an author for the article? Is this an editorial? The point on the necessary coexistence of collectors with lifestyle enthusiasts is bang-on and somebody ought to take credit / own it.

  • word-merchant

    Tag should make this in pure untreated bronze so the fantastic post-renaissance relief appears all green and ethereal like on my wrist. As if Ali himself is telling me the time really.

  • Hydra

    every Carrera with cal. 5 I’ve tried have had the same problem, its a pain in the ass to handwound them….but the problem does not occur in Aquaracers and Formula 1 models with the same movement.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    Once you buy it, the resell price on these is going to go down faster than Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers!

  • Gokart Mozart

    If JCB wanted this watch for himself, why bother to auction it. They could have just not promoted saved a fortune in promotion costs and given the 2 donation and the money saved to the charity itself.

    Or they could have made 2 watches and sold one of them.

    I would not have been happy to go to the auction to bid on the watch beat everybody else to them go and lose out to the person selling the watch. I imagine he was tempted to throw a few punches himself!

  • spiceballs

    Not an enduring or attractive epitaph to a memorable boxer, to my eyes

  • laup nomis

    I know it doesn’t cost a lot extra to make all the tat that comes with the box, but I’d much rather save money than have it. Not that this watch is for me.
    I think I saw a Panerai box that was about 2 foot by 3 foot. Who has the room to store rubbish like that? I’ve got a drawer for all my watch boxes, but if they were all this big I’d need a special room. I’d hate to shatter all my fellow ABTW commentators illusions about me, but I don’t live in a grand mansion with rooms full of the boxes of top tier, million pound watches.

  • commentator bob

    My understanding is that only the gold version came with the extra stuff, and the steel version will just come in a small box. It is kind of sad that a watch that is an homage to a stop watch is not a chronograph.

  • Simon_Hell

    Welcome to the house of kitch. TAG doesn’t think much of their customers, and for a good reason.

  • Shane Kleinpeter

    To all you rookie ‘collectors’ out there that haven’t figured it out yet: this, and other watches of it’s ilk that have been made to be collected, will never be collectible. Clay/Ali was a great fighter, there is no doubt, but this is not a great watch.

  • Manesh Karunakaran

    “If you have a keen eye for detail, you have noticed that there are not one but two rings” – after seeing this watch, I am sure a lot us would have wished that we were temporarily blind! But seriously?? I mean, if there is one thing thats common in all half-decent watch lovers, its a keen eye for detail. Anger us, frighten us, disappoint us, but please ABTW, dont insult us. That too ij the context of an article such as this.

  • Ulysses31

    He deserved so much better than this. Another opportunistic cash-grab by the king of crass, Mr. Biver.