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The Heuer Carrera is one of the most classic expressions of the racing watch. One of Jack Heuer’s most heartfelt passion projects, the Carrera is imbued with a design ethos of functionality and legibility. For drivers and crew alike, a chronograph was a necessary part of racing kit that needed to be robust and reliable, but also simple enough to reference at a glance. And for a watch designed in the late 1960s, the Carrera remains a stunner, proving the brilliance of Jack’s design philosophy.
The Carrera--like the later Monza--takes its name from motorsports. To commemorate the completion of the Mexican leg of the Pan-American highway, a race was inaugurated on the 3500km stretch along the Mexican border, from Guatemala to the U.S. The Carrera Panamericana Rally Mexico was held from 1950 to 1954, and claimed the lives of 27 drivers and spectators.
Heuer, as much a petrolhead as a lover of watches, first heard of the race in 1962. According to Hodinkee, Heuer met the parents of Ricardo Rodriguez, the darling of Ferrari's team, at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Rodriguez's parents expressed relief that their son was too young to have driven in the Carrera Panamericana. The name stuck, and Heuer resolved to use it for his next chronograph.
In designing the Carrera, Heuer's main focus was, of course, legibility. The main problem posed by chronograph designs of the 1940s and 1950s was the placement of the tachymeter, telemeter, or pulsometer scale, which in many chronographs was placed in rings around the edge of the dial. In designing the Carrera, Heuer placed the tachymeter ring on the rehaut, thus opening up the dial.
The Carrera ran from the 1960s to the 1980s, its look shifting slightly as trends changed--like the Autavia--taking on the cushion case and automatic movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, after Heuer was bought by the TAG Group, the Carrera was discontinued. However, in the mid-1990s TAG Heuer realized that its classic designs still held value in the commercial market, and decided to re-release two watches: the Monaco and the Carrera.
The Carrera was released--or, rather, re-released--in 18k gold with a white dial, stainless steel with a black dial, and stainless steel with a white dial, the watch pictured here (Reference CS3110). On the whole, the Carrera 1964 Re-Issue remained true to the look of its predecessor, with the 36mm case and the bold, open dial. While the earliest Carreras contained the Valjoux 72, the reissued references used the Lemania Caliber 1873, most famously used in the Omega Speedmaster.
The Carrera 1964 Re-Issue is important in that it set a precedent for Tag Heuer to reissue its most classic designs, thus continuing an appreciation for traditional horology. This old design, rather than languishing in the brand's archives, is exposed to a new generation of watch collectors. It's a testament to Jack Heuer's foresight that the Carrera, with its bold new look, remains popular and will continue to be for generations to come.
Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Heuer Reference CS3110, Calibre 1873, circa 1990s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in excellent condition overall with sharp bevels and no signs of over-polishing. Case shows some signs of use and wear in keeping with age, including some slight scratches on the sides of the case and on the lugs. Dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing and no major blemishes or signs of hand-drag. Signed crown; signed case back has some slight scratches but is in otherwise very good condition with factory brush finishing.
Includes one 19mm dark brown suede strap and two 19mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle