As China continues to grow and develop as one of the world’s largest and most lucrative luxury markets, the celebration of Chinese New Year has become a pivotal tradition for the watch industry. Every year, brands from all corners of the industry design unique takes on existing models to honor the animals of the classical Chinese zodiac, creating vibrant and distinctive releases with a distinctly Eastern flair. As 2022 rings in the Year of the Tiger, TAG Heuer has unveiled its first release of the year with a suitably feline theme. The new TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition reimagines the recently unveiled three-hand Carrera with a striking and intricate new dial design, adding a fierce new energy to the cleanly restrained platform.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition shares its 41mm stainless steel case with the standard Carrera Day-Date, carrying on its sleek contemporary interpretation of the classic angular Carrera form. The narrow sloping polished bezel gives the design a modern, dial-forward stance in images, while the broad polished case side chamfer and signature angular beveled lugs keep the Carrera family resemblance strong. TAG Heuer embellishes this familiar formula with an 18K 5N rose gold signed crown, introducing a two-tone punch to the look without overwhelming the rest of the case with color. The Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition’s other unique visual calling card is emblazoned across the sapphire display caseback. In honor of the Year of the Tiger, the brand adds a stylized rendition of a tiger in slate blue, snarling and ready to pounce. Like the standard model, this new limited edition variant offers a respectable 100 meters of water resistance.
TAG Heuer truly sets the Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition apart from its stablemates with its eye-catching dial finishing. The 18K 5N rose gold baton hands and matching indices should be familiar to fans of the brand, but the surface underneath these traditional elements is wild and layered. The brand cleverly integrates the tiger motif to this simple dial with a cutout approach, combining a deep slate blue horizontally brushed main surface with recessed elements in an almost asphalt-like textured black. Beyond creating a cleverly inverted tiger stripe pattern in images, this cutout dial concept deftly shows off TAG Heuer’s dial finishing capability. Although this dramatic tiger-stripe colorway is decidedly not for all tastes, the craftsmanship and creativity on display here are undeniably impressive. Given the intricate finishing and harmonious colors of the rest of the dial, however, the 3 o’clock day-date window stands out with its white wheels and markedly disrupts the flow of the overall design.
Like its standard production counterpart, the TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition is powered by the ETA-based Calibre 5 automatic movement. The Calibre 5 is the backbone of TAG Heuer’s modern three-hand collection but is beginning to show its age somewhat with a below-average 38-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The Calibre 5 is handsomely finished, however, with perlage across the bridges and a signed rotor topped with Côtes de Genève. TAG Heuer completes the Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition with a deep midnight blue calf leather strap featuring dramatic rose gold-tone contrast stitching.
With one of the brand’s cleverest and most dynamic uses of the Chinese New Year theme to date, the TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition offers a wild and playful alternative to the clean and upscale standard Carrera. Only 300 examples of the TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition will be made, and the watch is available now through the brand’s online sales platform at an MSRP of $3,750. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.