September 25, 2014
by Ariel Adams
I liked the style of the dial back in 2011, and I like the style of the dial today. The orange lume painted hands are legible, and the overall look is a nice mixture of avant garde and automotive chic. Place the watch next to an orange-colored McLaren MP4-12C and they clearly go together. I further think that TAG Heuer really had to try hard to make the dial work. I find that it is often difficult to include carbon fiber on a watch dial and still make it look “high-end,” but they were able to do so relatively well. Having said that, the dial is weird enough to make it a cult favorite versus something at all mainstream.
What is funny is the amount of TAG Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph fakes that were made. Of course, they were terrible, but I think it is funny that even though the authentic watch was never (before) made, the chaps in China felt it necessary to copy this timepiece. Actually, you can generally gauge what the watch replica engineers feel might be a worthy design by seeing what “fringe” watch models tend to be copied. Inside the TAG Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph watch is neither a base ETA/Sellita, Zenith El Primero, or in-house made TAG Heuer movement. Rather, it contains a Swiss Dubois-Depraz mechanical movement.
That movement is the Dubius-Depraz caliber 4900, and it features a 30 minute chronograph, as well as big date and month indicator. That means it is an annual calendar chronograph watch with a big day – something which is highly uncommon in watches such as this – and perhaps the first time I’ve known of one in a Carrera. The dial has a semi-skeletonized look at the movement, showing the date numeral discs as well as the month numeral disc (whose indicator window is at about 4:30).
The movement is of course an automatic (looks to be on top of a base ETA as Dubois-Depraz is mostly a module maker) and has about 44 hours of power reserve, running at 28,800 bph. Further, the chronograph has a flyback feature – which is yet another thing you really don’t see on Carrera watches. In all, the watch is very unique, but of course, it has a design that doesn’t match everyone’s tastes. Attached to the case is a really nice black and orange perforated leather strap with a matching titanium fold-over deployant.
If I wasn’t so happy with the pictures I took of the TAG Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph McLaren, I don’t know if I would have revisited it tell this interesting story. I have a good feeling TAG Heuer will finally ship the watches soon. Also, while we don’t have final confirmation of this, it appears that though the original purchase price of the TAG Heuer Carrera MP4-12C was $10,500 in 2011, the “updated price” is about $14,000. tagheuer.com