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Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

Tag Heuer is moving in a very interesting direction up market. I don’t think (at least hope) that this means they are going to abandon their lower price segments (as that would be an awful idea), but with the success of the Monaco V4 (along with their vintage market), they feel as though they are justified in offering very expensive timepieces. As such, the new Mikrograph watch they just released that measures 1/100th of a second with its chronograph is a classic looking timepiece in an 18k gold case and cost a whopping $50,000. This is not that watch. This is something not cheap, but more realistic, and damn cooler (and with a much nicer dial in my opinion).

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

Welcome to the Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C watch made as the next piece in Tag Heuer and McLaren’s long-standing partnership. The limited edition watch is meant to “go with” the new McLaren MP4-12C super car. The timepiece is quite amazing. I mean really well done! The large case is 43mm wide in sand-blasted titanium. Case of course is done in a Carrera style. Like the car, the watch is done in orange, black, and white tones. The case is quite like, and very nice on the wrist.

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

Tag Heuer designed the Carrera MP4-12C’s dial to be quite marvelous does in carbon fiber with a smoked sapphire crystal. The finicky dial materials are put to use well in this application – making sense and feeling sensible. I like the orange stripes in the hands for legibility as well as the large hour markers. The “0” at 12 o’clock in orange is a nice stylistic touch.

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

Tag Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph Watch Hands-On Exclusive Hands-On

The dial also has a partially skeletonized section in the middle. This is where you can see the big date indicator and the chronograph subdials. Movement is the Dubois Depraz calibre 4900 automatic flyback chronograph. Tag Heuer added a few racing cues on the watch. Tag Heuer watches focused on racing have been doing this for a long while. Note the “tire” style crown, and the piston style chronograph pushers. As a sport watch the Carrera MP4-12X does an amazing job at being sexy without sacrificing performance. It will be limited to 1000 pieces.

My only problem with it is the price. I believe it will be in the $13,000 range. Which seems like a lot despite the complex looks and limited amount. Also, Tag Heuer uses grade 2 versus grade 5 titanium. Not sure how much difference in quality there is, but it is curious in this range they didn’t use grade 5 titanium. Look for these really good lookers soon – I anticipate them to do well given their limited nature, good looks and light weight, along with connection to McLaren. Price is $10,500.

[phpbay]tag heuer carrera | tag heuer limited, num, “14324”, “”[/phpbay]

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  • Kris C

    Very cool, but geez louise thats a pricey TAG. The Mikrograph and V4 are trypes of models that are, to me, anomalous novelties for a brand that generally offers mid-range timepieces with a distinctive look.
    I’ve been waiting for a review on the Mikrograph, the dedicated balance for the chronograph is something I want to hear more about.
    Thew design cues here are really neat – it has a modern-meets-throwback feel to it, which looks to have been done very well. The case and strap look very 70s to me, and the fonts look like TAG and Porcshe design take from the same parts bin (not a bad thing), but the dial/face looks like it just descended from another planet. The length of the hands is good, but I think the hour and minute hands could have been wider. I’m amazed that it is 43mm – looking at it on your wrist, it appears just massive. Must be those giant lugs that look like prongs to an outlet from the planet the dial came from.
    Is that a rubber insert on the crown? Or just darker titanium? Neato either way. The branding is obvious, but not obnoxious, and you’re not slapped in the face with the McLaren partnership – you’d have to know to understand that is a car model (and while this 12C is crazy cool, I’m still saving for my 1997 F1 – I’m 1.3% to goal!).

    I’d happily give this one it’s share of wrist time, but dropping that much on a TAG just seems wierd to me.

  • Ivan Y

    This is not a bad looking watch for a car collaboration but I agree with you and Kris on the price being a little unreasonable. And the lugs could stand to be curved — it looks pretty massive on your wrist for being just 43mm.

    BTW, are you going to do a review of Carrera 1887? That looks like a solid choice in TAG’s lineup (under-$3K street price) and production model looks pretty slick since they decided to remove tachy scale.

    • Kris C


      It exists already for your reading/viewing pleasure:

      • Ivan Y

        Thanks! C. 1887 just became available overseas a month or so ago (not in the US yet), so that’s why I didn’t think to look back at old articles.

        It’s weird that even back then, TAG knew they were going to change the design (had new renders) but still had “old” versions on display.

        I guess, watch industry isn’t so much different from tech industry — products get announced very, very early at industry trade shows, but everything about them is subject to change, incl. names, designs, prices, and release dates 🙂

  • witch watch

    Echoing the expensive of such a cracking time piece and similarly perplexed as to why only grade 2 titanium as the Kirium(why was the model axed btw?) ti5 used grade 5 as well as carbon fibre for the dial. Love the hints of orange used on the bezel, dial , hands and strap stitching nice and subtlety eye catching. Well done Kris for noticing the Porsche-alike font, no bad thing in my book as i love it personally, and i agree totally with Ivan that it would even better with curved lugs. Bad point other than the price? The back is just so damn boring.

  • Dangeruss

    Man I wish I could afford this. This one presses all my lust buttons. The 330 in orange on the tachymeter represents the theoretical top-speed of the MP4-12C. I love the strap and the orange stitching. This is one of my favorite SIHH announcements. There’s not $13K of watch here, but there’s a lot to like about it in my opinion.

    • Not part of SIHH – Tag Heuer had a separate event.

  • Pete

    This is cool (only downer i can see is the massive stick out lugs and the price, levelled purely at the car owners i would presume) and Tag are certainly going up in the world compared to where they used to be in the 90’s (maybe Tag bashing will become less of a sport with models like these) but the Mikrograph is the headline stealer and will surely be a front runner for the grand prix d’horlogerie awards.

    • The Mikrograph has a cool movement, but the dial is too flat looking for my tastes.

  • I like the sand blasted case, like a page out of IWC’s book. Then again, many brands are doing it these day. Not sure about the dial. I’ve never liked these kinds of dials, remind me a bit of the Mille Miglia Chopards.

  • Does nobody else think that dial is butt ugly?

    • Honestly man, it is really a bitching watch in person.

  • I think it is anything, but ugly. This is a killer timepiece.

  • John Steppling

    Ok, a pretty cool watch. Not super cool, and I do have an issue with that dial. But more on that in a second. The price seems very very very high. But this raises that question again, which is, what is one buying exactly? how much does it mean that the item somehow be ‘cool’….or feel like a work of art in some way. OR at least a design bit of art.

    I dont have answers, but I wouldnt pay 13 grand for a TAG……i would go buy a used IWC or Rolex or even Vacheron Constantine or something. And as a comparison, a Pierre DeRoche (you ve talked about them) goes for around 15 grand. Which do you want? A tag or a small exclusive very elite watch NOBODY you know is going to own (probably)?

    And Im sorry, but that dial is kind of ugly. Period. I keep looking at it here and its a mess. (IMHO).

  • Abanko

    Do you guys have any idea about what is grade 5 titanium and what is grade 2??? I don’t think that you do. I am a materials engineer and I have to say in a watch, they do not change anything. It is not that grade 2 is cheap or anything.
    By the way I dont like purposeless useage of Carbon fiber like this watch.

    • I am not totally sure of the difference in the grades. A lesson would be welcome.