Since TAG Heuer and German sports car giant Porsche expanded their decades-long informal relationship into an official brand partnership in 2021, the Swiss marque has launched a flurry of Porsche-themed specialty models. These have ranged from a limited-run celebration of the historic Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 to a unique Porsche-themed version of the Connected smartwatch with exclusive functions, but 2022’s Carrera X Porsche Limited Edition stands as perhaps the most successful model of the partnership to date. For 2023, TAG Heuer returns to this racy modern take on its cornerstone sports watch, updating the design with blazing new orange accents and an eye-catching new focus on complex mixed finishing. The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing may not be the brand’s most innovative release of the year, but offers an aggressive and sporting new style for one of its most capable modern designs with a host of nods to Porsche’s racing legacy.
Although the 44mm-wide black DLC-coated stainless steel case of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing is undoubtedly on the larger side for a modern chronograph, this is also a textbook example of the slimming power of black in action. By and large, this follows the same lines as the standard production Carrera chronograph, with the series’ signature angular beveled lugs and sharply planar surfaces intact. The modern Carrera already wears impressively compact for a 44mm-wide watch thanks to its short downturned lugs, but the use of black DLC visually compacts the design further while introducing a track-ready new edge. This darker canvas also provides a satisfying base for the mix of polishing and sharp linear brushing across the case to play with, leading to some genuinely intriguing light play on the wrist. TAG Heuer creates a series of natural focal points here with the use of blazing orange highlights. The crown adds a narrow engraved accent ring in orange, but the engraved “Porsche” text atop the ceramic tachymeter bezel is a powerful eye-catcher on the wrist and acts as the only overt Porsche branding visible from the front. Like the main case body, the ceramic bezel uses a mix of polished, radially brushed, engraved, and painted surfaces to shine a spotlight on its dynamic geometry, and the sense of detail here contributes heavily to the premium wearing experience. Around back, TAG Heuer fits the watch with a sapphire display caseback, and rates the design for a respectably sporty 100 meters of water resistance.
Like the case, the dial of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing breathes vibrant new life into existing Carrera elements with the use of novel color and finishing. The overall layout should be familiar to fans of the previous Carrera Chronograph x Porsche endeavors, with distinctive speedometer-style applied Arabic minutes numerals and pops of signature accent color throughout. Compared to last year’s yellow-tinged Carrera Chronograph x Porsche, however, the new Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing offers a much more generous application of orange accents — orange highlight rings for the main dial and each of the three subdials, orange subdial markings at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, and a blazing orange central chronograph seconds hand to tie things together. This bolder visual approach may not work for all tastes, but it’s undeniably attention-grabbing and works to give this design a distinctive personality even when spotted across a room. TAG Heuer also mixes things up on the surfacing front – rather than the automotive-style black metallic paint of the 2022 model, this new iteration uses a clean, sharply detailed vertically brushed main dial surface, accented by multi-layer chronograph subdials with recessed azurage centers. The brand further de-emphasizes the asphalt grain texture seen on the 2021 Porsche-themed Carrera (and again on the 2022 model) here, relegating it to an accent on the 6 o’clock running seconds scale, but this limited inclusion works to tie the series together in a clean, automotive-themed visual shorthand. Overall, this dial isn’t a dramatic departure from previous Porsche-inflected Carrera releases, but it elevates and refines the existing formula while dialing up the sense of aggression on the wrist.
As with many of its high-end chronograph offerings, TAG Heuer powers the Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing with its in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph movement. The Heuer 02 has certainly earned its spot as the brand’s flagship movement since its introduction in 2018, and remains a strong modern contender with a hefty 80-hour power reserve at a 28,800 beat rate, along with the coveted column wheel and vertical clutch chronograph actuation system. Finishing here is more or less in line with the Heuer 02’s other current appearances, with sharp Côtes de Genève across the skeleton bridges, a blacked-out steering wheel-inspired custom rotor, and a contrasting orange column wheel to tie the movement into the overall design. TAG Heuer completes the watch with a sporty carbon-textured black calfskin leather strap featuring dial-matching double orange accent stitching.
As the official partnership between TAG Heuer and Porsche enters its third year, the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing builds upon previous co-branded iterations with a refined and aggressive style that should have no trouble capturing attention. The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing is available now through select authorized dealers, TAG Heuer boutiques, and the brand’s e-commerce platform. MSRP for the TAG Heuer Carrera stands at $7,050 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.