In most circumstances the tri-compax style layout for including three subdials on a watch face is my favorite means of doing so. The CH 80 movement is all about that, which adds a new flavor to the modern Carrera watch family. The full 12 hour chronograph movement has a lot of technical goodies and is surprisingly well-priced given what we believed TAG Heuer was going to charge for watches that included it post its released in late 2013. These watches aren’t cheap of course, but they beat expectations by at least $1,000.

The CH 80 movement once again is the name TAG Heuer chose to replace the original “code name” of Calibre 1969. Though I still feel that “Calibre 1969” sounded better. The automatic chronograph movement has a power reserve of 80 hours and further features the date. It would been fine to do away with the date, which is a feature most of the historic models lacked. I really hear different opinions all over the place. Some people prefer the clean look of a no-date dial, while others prefer the added convenience of the complication.

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With the red accents the Carrera CH 80 watch offers a rich assortment of modern sentiment but not without clearly referencing its historical analog. The dial has slightly lowered chronograph subdials and applied hour markers. The black markers on the “silver” dialed version are applied, and they are a different tone of course on the black colored version. Each of the versions can be acquired on a perforated leather strap or a steel metal bracelet.

The case of the Carrera CH 80 is a modest 41mm wide that seems really reasonable in  size for 2014. It makes for a good daily wear, and in addition to the new movements and dial most of what you see is the reintroduction of an historic piece at fair price that includes an in-house made movement.

In addition to the silver dial with black subdials, there is the black dialed model with silver subdials. What makes these watches work so well is their blending of past and present. The only tough part is that TAG Heuer – with the CH 80 movement – adds yet another watch movement to an already crowded collection that isn’t just full of many styles, but also with many mechanical chronograph movements.

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If there was a Carrera to buy in 2014 it would be the CH 80. TAG Heuer isn’t known for producing too much in-house made stuff, but that changed with the former introduction of the calibre 1887. With the CH 80 the design and development of the movement has been really taken in-house and TAG finally has a movement suitable for use in its most historically-themed chronograph watches.

While the Carrera CH 80 collection isn’t perfect, few watches are. These are highly well-executed models that I think many watch lovers have been subconsciously holding out for. The added red may be controversial, but it does look good, and the movements are really a source of value. The TAG Heuer models will be the references: CBA2110.BA0723: black dial with steel bracelet, CBA2110.FC6347: black dial with black alligator strap, CBA2111.BA0723: white dial with steel bracelet, and the CBA2111.FC6347: white dial with black alligator strap. Prices will start at $5,500. tagheuer.com

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