TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases

With SIHH 2016 barely behind us, things are already heating up for Baselworld 2016. At last year's event we brought you the hot news straight from Basel about the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T, TAG Heuer's ground- and indeed price-barrier-breaking watch with tourbillon and chronograph complications, offered at an extremely competitive $15,950. While not all details were officially released back then, today TAG Heuer has confirmed the tech specs and pricing details of the Heuer-02T. Let's dig in.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases
The non-limited TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T reference CAR5A8Y.FC6377 that will retail for $15,950.

For ages (read: the last 25-30 years) watch manufactures had been going out of their ways to convince the masses about how the tourbillon works as one of the absolute pinnacles in fine watchmaking – that it was so incredibly difficult to conceive, manufacture, assemble and "poise." Now, TAG Heuer is here to prove all the rest wrong, by bringing the tourbillon back down to Earth – or at least into the atmosphere – from far up and beyond the stars, as far as pricing is concerned.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases
The TAG Heuer CARRERA Heuer-02T reference AR5A8Z.FC6377 "Black Phantom Limited Edition" of 250 pieces that will retail for $21,300.

If you think about it, what makes tourbillons really expensive is not simply their $50-70-100+ thousand dollar price tag, but the premium they usually demand over their similarly finished and complicated, albeit "regular" movement counterparts. In other words, over the years we have seen a number of (forgettable) cases when base movements had been modified to feature a tourbillon where, every other specification unchanged, this alteration still made for an often 10-times or greater multiplication in price.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases
Dial-side view of the Heuer-02T manufacture movement

The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T has a confirmed price of $15,950, and for this money you get a fully in-house tourbillon movement with a chronograph and 65-hours of power reserve – this combination of features has up to this point usually commanded six-figure prices.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases

"What kind of sorcery is this? Is there a fine print somewhere?" – you may most rightfully feel inclined to ask. The answer is yes, and no. When Jean-Claude Biver took the helm of TAG Heuer, one of his first decisions was to shut down the CH-80 project – a panda-dial watch and all-new, in-house movement we saw hands-on and grew very much fond of at BaselWorld 2014. While that project was quickly hibernated and only a handful of pieces ever made their ways to TAG Heuer stores globally, TAG Heuer had a number of these in-house developed movements left in stock that it started to manufacture in its state-of-the-art manufacture in Chevenez (manufacture visit article here).

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases

As the brand explains, the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T was developed "directly from the DNA of the CH-80 chronograph, used as a basis." The story goes that TAG Heuer has rebuilt many of its CH-80 calibers it had remaining from that shut-down project – an ingenious idea to make good use of a batch of movements too small to release a full collection of watches priced at a couple thousand dollars, but apparently versatile and strong enough to be modified in such creative ways.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases

The result is the 32 millimeter wide Heuer-02T manufacture movement, each and every single one of which TAG Heuer will have COSC certified. That is a convincing move so that there can be no doubt to the performance of this caliber; and also a rarely encountered decision, as the absolute majority of five- and six-figure priced tourbillons are not subjected to COSC (for the simple reason that many of them would not meet the -4 to +6 seconds daily rate criteria).

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases

The tourbillon cage is crafted from titanium for the middle section and carbon fiber for the top part, all in an effort to keep the weight down to a minimum, which in turn helps increase power reserve and chronometric performance. The movement even runs at 4 Hertz or 28,800 vibrations per hour, a contemporary and again, rare-for-tourbillons, frequency.

All this is wrapped into the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer case – talk about a confusing name – basically the same as we saw in the Heuer 01 (reviewed here). This means a 45 millimeter wide case in Grade 5 titanium with 12 modular components and 100 meters of water resistance – yet again, impressive stuff for a tourbillon chronograph.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases

The skeletonized dial provides a nice view over the movement: the single barrel of the movement is exposed at 12 o'clock, held in place by a V-shaped bridge, the chronograph 12-hour and 30-minute counters are at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions respectively, while at 6 o'clock we find the opening for the tourbillon. Despite the lightweight titanium and carbon cage, the tourbillon of the Heuer-02T apparently will not be as large as they sometimes get on other pieces – clearly a limitation of the movement architecture, that, because of its chronograph function, did not allow for the fitting of a larger "whirlwind" mechanism.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T Tourbillon Watch Officially Announced At $15,950 Watch Releases

Still, the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T promises to be the most affordable, Swiss Made, in-house movement equipped tourbillon on the market and we are looking forward to bringing you a full review as soon as the first pieces become available. The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T will be available in two versions, with the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T reference CAR5A8Y.FC6377 being the non-limited edition priced at 15,000 Swiss Francs or $15,950, and the reference CAR5A8Z.FC6377 "Black Phantom" Limited edition of 250 numbered pieces for $21,300. tagheuer.com

What do you think?
  • I want it! (3)
  • Thumbs up (1)
  • Interesting (1)
  • Classy (1)
  • I love it! (1)
  • iamcalledryan

    Bravo! And carbon/titanium to boot!

  • Chaz

    Quite a conundrum. On one hand you have access to tourbillon “technology” at a very, uh, accessible price (though China made tourbos have long been cheaply available) and on the other hand you have a TAG that you KNOW is crazy overpriced to start with and won’t hold an iota of value should you have remorse.

    • srs144

      Well put, this is a lower end quality tourbillon that reminds me of the Chronoswiss one (which secondary market sells for well below this one) so it feels like something one buys to “have a tourbillon in the collection” and not pay some crazy high price.

      • Chaz

        And even should someone get this, they’ll STILL have the itch to get a real tourbillon. This will not scratch the itch for the long run.

        • IanE

          On the other hand, those of us who could, at a push, get one of these would be unlikely to afford a ‘real’ one – and those who could afford the latter would scarcely glane at this thing!

          • I agree and without a loupe and a timing machine most people will never notice the difference. What they can see is the cute spinning escape wheel. Hey, it’s eye candy. The only worthless tourbillon is the one that can’t be seen.

          • G Street

            So true…

    • True enough but to be fair, they are going to have COSC certification which means that unlike Chinese tourbillons (I have one after all), this watch should keep decent time. Having randomly put a number of watches with Chinese movements on a timing machine (including a toubillon) the general results are vastly shitty time keeping. Not that that is the only criteria for buying and enjoying a watch of course. Aloha.

      • Ulysses31

        Can they be improved by professional regulation, or is it not worth it?

        • I doubt it as there is so much variation between positions (those outside of the 4 that the tourbillon averages out). What is almost scary is to see the effect the rotating tourbillon (with all of the escapement stuff hanging out there) has during the 60 seconds of rotation. Sure it averages out when the minute is done, but the intra-minute timing is pretty wonky. That may even be true for Swiss troubillons too but I have never put one of them on a timing machine. The issue I’m taking about is that “poising” (static balancing) of an escape wheel as a concept when taken to the tourbillon parts becomes harder as I doubt many movement designers taek into account a static balance of the complete tourbillon (cage, balance wheel, and importantly the lever and escape wheel which usually hang out into space). Cheers.

  • srs144

    “15,000 Swiss Francs or $15,950” — seems ridiculous to me, in the market $15k CHF is $14.7k USD, so they are literally saying “if you buy in CHF in Switzerland, you pay 15,000 CHF, but if you buy in the US, you are paying 16,200 CHF”

    • Nateb123

      Goods don’t travel across borders for free. I’m sure you’ve noticed this ordering an item from outside the country on eBay or Amazon. And exchange rate does not equal the cash exchange rate.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Wow,………I would look super manly with this on even if I couldn’t tell the time.

    • It’s not about telling the time – I assume you have a cell phone for that.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        You assume correctly , I use my MOBILE : )

        • In America Mobile is a gas (petrol) station. But it could be worse – if you were German you’d use your handy.

  • It’s like a Richard Mille for the rest of us. Love it.

  • Daniel

    I would gladly advice Michael Kors and Seagull CEO to create a watch together so they can create Jetmaster with a tourbillon to compete with this Tag.

  • DanW94

    Kudos to Tag for laying the ground work for more earthly tourbillon prices. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll see the Swiss brands adopt the “Chicken in Every Pot” promise. A Swiss tourbillon on every wrist….

  • cluedog12

    This watch may usher in a wave of affordable Swiss tourbillons, thereby burying the tourbillon as the one-stop shop for prestige and margin padding. We can only hope!

    The symmetric layout is an improvement on the Carrera 01. The date window is NOT missed either.

    OCD note: The minute hand on the limited edition “mock-up” is longer (correct size) than the unlimited version (too short).

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    A) It is great to See how TAG and Montblanc are leading with providing previously unattainable complications at relatively affordable prices. I honestly hope that both will have success with those pieces and they will lead they way for some other manufacturers to follow.

    B) I am a big fan of Carrera (actually have one on me as I type this). However not 100% sure that a tourbillon is the complication that is most suitable for such a sporty watch. However I will definitely go into a boutique and check them out to see if they work or not.

    • Coert Welman

      Wearing my much-loved and almost 10-year old CV2011 as I am typing here.
      If TAG really have to put a tourbillon on the market, the Carrera is the best case option they currently have. The other cases and ranges are simply too sporty/informal.
      Whether they should put a tourbillon on the market is another question altogether. Kudos for doing a proper one at a decent price (sticking it to the man a bit), but I would much rather have a panda-dialled CH80.

      • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

        You make a good point here about the sporty cases. Maybe the Monaco could be used as a bit dressier one. Or simply come up with a new cases 🙂

        I hope you take good care of your CV2011.

        • Coert Welman

          I love my CV2011. It was my first mechanical watch and as such, I treasure it immensely.
          When it comes to the Monaco, I agree they can be dressy, but for me there is only one Monaco. And Steve’s Monaco is not dressy at all. Unless you wear a bright blue suit of course. 😉

          • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

            Sounds like I need to invest in a new suit 🙂

  • Ulysses31

    There are a couple of issues here. Tourbillons, as we know, have no practical value – they’re completely for show. Blink and you’d miss the tourbillon on this watch. It is almost too subtle, too stealthy – there is no easy way to enjoy the intricacy of the engineering involved, making it a bit pointless for me.

    The second point is a bit more nebulous. You know how people often complain that Japanese sports cars, while technologically without peer and brilliantly engineered, have “no soul”? While I don’t personally agree with that view, I understand it. In the blind pursuit of technical excellence, you can miss something fundamental, something warm blooded, soulful. The Tag 02T is not unlike such a sports car. It ticks all the boxes technically but appears cold, emotionless and unappealing.

    Tag is suffering from the Biver touch. Unlike King Midas, not everything he touches turns to gold.

    • iamcalledryan

      Holding this one up against the Montblanc exotourb and I would argue that the carbon and titanium give it more soul than its counterpart. As for the practical value, a balance spring has no practical value over and above a quartz oscillator – we choose these things because they delight us!

      • No, a balance spring is better because is does not need a battery (which usually has to be replaced every so often) – no wait, I just made the case for the Seiko Spring Drive! Nevermind…

        • iamcalledryan

          Quite – that’s power, not regulation!

          There are less impressive quartz movements than the spring drive that use rechargeable lithium ion so that the battery need not be replaced.

          • Sorry but luddites only love springs.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            I concur

          • iamcalledryan

            This luddite would take one spring drive over 5 machine-assembled Chinese tourbs!

          • Hmmm, I would guess that even in China, the assembly of the tourbillon parts is done by hand.

          • iamcalledryan

            you know what I mean!

          • I think the lack of hand finishing and the lower labor rates are the price differential drivers. Well, that plus “quality control” which is a foreign concept to far too many Chinese companies (but not all of them). Cheers.

          • iamcalledryan

            Also being assembled by “workers” rather than trained watchmakers is something sure to remove the soul from a movement.

    • john coleman

      In this case what he touched turned to Titanium. May give me a chance to own a Tourbillon so I’m all for it.

  • IanE

    Well, this is fun. Tourbillons have always been one of the most effective ways of transferring wealth from the super-wealthy to the merely wealthy. Now the rest of us (well perhaps 10% of the rest of us) can participate: just a shame the watch is nearly as ugly as JCB [nice man though I am sure(ish) that he is!].

  • JimBob

    I can hardly wait to start seeing tourbillons on quartz watches.

    • Boogur T. Wang

      Ssssssshhh….don’t give them any ideas

    • funNactive

      Nooooo, don’t do it.

  • JP. Coqueran

    I hope Biver doesn’t do this to every company he goes to…

    • Frans Krook

      Could you explain why not? I can’t see the downside to making watches like these more affordable.

      • JP. Coqueran

        When I see this watch I don’t see Heuer, I see Hublot, black, excess carbon fiber and a movement that makes no sense. A tourbillon for $15k is good, but put it in a watch that makes sense. Or better yet, since TAG doesn’t have a real dress watch line, create one and move that movement in that area as the top of the line model.

        • SkyBlade2

          to answer to Frans and John reply, given a free choice take a G-Shock or a patek completely FREE.
          and to top it all off a G-Shock will be almost 100% accurate, no need to adjust, just go down to a shop get the battery switch for $20?
          i think you guys stick with G-Shock

      • john coleman

        Agree

  • commentator bob

    Too bad the $5,250 Carrera Heuer 01 could not get the 3-6-9 layout of this watch, and instead got stuck with the 6-9-12 layout from the old Seiko movement that Tag purchased (the current automatic chronograph movement Seiko uses is 3-6-9).

    When does the Heuer Connected tourbillon face come out?

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  • Rob

    I understand that this is a milestone but buying the cheapest tourbillon watch just to have a tourbillon watch is silly to me because you limit your choices severely. There are so many great non-tourbillon watches you can choose from at this price point. Taste is subjective of course but cheap tourbillon watches seem to test just how much you want a tourbillon by surrounding it with an ugly design.

    • Martin Cerny

      Not really sure if this is even a milestones. Remember the Swatch Tourbillon. I guess was around 3k CHF some 15 years ago. This Tag Heuer seems a bit like a hybrid of that Swatch Tourbillon idea and a Hublot. Also you cannot really boast with this Tourbillon, everyone knows it was “cheap”.

  • Roma KLM

    It is ridiculous, Tag with tourbillon… Never thought they could be found in one case.

  • BNABOD

    it is not that it is ugly it is just that I don’t care for it.
    ok tourbillon was the best thing since sliced bread a while back and while I appreciate paying a premium for it can it possibly push the price that much higher? I seriously doubt any of the parts are hand made, so if made by Mr Roboto shouldn’t the price go down even more. prob not a whole lot of logic to pricing but either way the dark shadow one is just so shadowy I already forgot about it.

  • funNactive

    Wow, I like it. I usually wouldn’t consider a 45mm case size but I may have to get this on my wrist & decide from there (I usually like 40-42mm). My first automatic watch was a Tag (which I still have).

    After I started studying watches, I pretty much decided that I had purchased my last Tag (3 @ the time, & have sold the 2 that were quartz). The new direction of the company & this Groundbreaking price for an in-house Swiss Tourbillon has me reconsidering.
    I like that it’s a sports model & all the specs but the case size (may look like a monster on my wrist). I know the last 15 years has had a trend of ever increasing case sizes but I’m not convinced this will be a long term trend – “hey grandson, how would you like this monster of a watch?”.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Thanks for the nice preview. Beautiful watch, will wait for the official release and hope to pull the trigger on this puppy soon after.

  • Chris

    I hope it still has the pusher feel of the Seiko chrono it is based on (which actually I think is a really great chronograph movement, even if Japanese in origin). I’d say sign me up. It is a somewhat affordable tourbillon in a sporty package that one could actually get service on, unlike the cheap Chinese ones.

  • Jackyl

    Very nice. I have the heuer01 which is my fun piece. Lookin forward to try it in person.

  • john coleman

    Very nice. Nearest I can see is the Zenith Captain Tourbillon at £18,100. Lovely watch.

  • Lawrence

    so somebody will buy this instead of a Seadweller for example?? the tourbillon is not that obvious in this watch.

  • Bladeknight

    I know the tourbillon is pretty useless for someone but 15950$ for a tourbillon watch is just a fk joke. I rather buy an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Limited Edition James Bond 007 Spectre or a Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time. They are so much better.

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      If you think 16k is a fk joke for a tourbillon, what do you think of the majority of the Swiss tourbillons that are priced north of 100k? 😉

      • SkyBlade2

        obviously someone who doesnt know much about watches but just wants to comment for the sake of commenting

  • Rob Logan

    I think it was just a matter of time before someone would come out with an affordable tourbillon watch. One with a chronograph? I’m sold.

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  • Oh_Oh_SarCastro

    Guess i’ll be buying me a 5k tourbi resale in about a year or 2.

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