TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Jack Heuer
The calibre 1887 has taken a bit of a bashing since its launch. It's a shame, because it's a fine example of a chronograph movement—it has a column wheel, a double pawl winding system and fifty hours' power reserve—but there's been a bit of mud in the water that's taken some of the shine away.
Here's the back story: TAG Heuer announced its new in-house calibre 1887 on the 2nd of December 2009. A few eagle-eyed enthusiasts spotted that the 1887 looked familiar, and by the 8th, (now former) TAG Heuer CEO J. C. Babin announced that the movement was in fact based on Seiko's TC78, which was originally patented in 1997. The revelation wouldn't have perhaps been quite so damaging if the press release not a week earlier hadn't described the 1887 as 'designed 100% in-house by TAG Heuer'. It has since also been revealed that the Swiss and Japanese companies have formed an alliance following the restriction by Swatch of the supply of its ETA movements.
Now that's out of the way, we can move on to the good news. Seiko make some of the best movements in the world, and their influence on TAG Heuer is a marked step up from the often-seen use of Swatch's go-to ETA ebauches. That the PR department misrepresented the 1887 is a shame, because it's actually a disservice to a very good movement, and a stepping-stone for TAG Heuer to the development of the calibre 1969, a true in-house movement.
Let's move back to the Carrera 1887 Jack Heuer Edition: it features the infamous calibre 1887 movement in its belly, and the bullhead arrangement (crown and pushers at twelve) rotates the chronograph dials around to give them a more balanced arrangement. In addition, the running seconds at six has no sub-dial per se, giving the overall appearance a pleasing bi-compax feel.
The asymmetrical case itself is borrowed from the exotic Mikrogirder, and harks back to the dash-mounted rally stopwatches that got TAG Heuer (then Heuer) into the business of watchmaking in the first place. It somehow manages to look both reassuringly traditional and eye-catchingly distinctive at the same time, and even the large 45mm diameter doesn't seem to detract from the flexibility of the piece. With the central 'barrel' of the case made from titanium, the weight is surprisingly balanced, but don't think for a minute that this will fit under any shirt cuff. The angling of the case—which tips the dial conveniently into view—adds a lot of height, but then this isn't really the kind of watch worn with a suit anyway.
PR issues aside, the Carrera 1887 Jack Heuer Edition is a stand-out piece from TAG Heuer. It honours the brand and its heritage without living in the past, and acknowledges the future without ignoring how it got there in the first place. The calibre 1887 has well and truly redeemed itself.
Watch Spec | TAG HEUER CARRERA 1887 JACK HEUER
Case: Steel, titanium Dimensions: 45mm dia Crystal: Anti-reflective coated synthetic sapphire Water Resistance: 100m Movement: Calibre 1887, based on Seiko TC78, automatic Frequency: 28,800 vph Power Reserve: 50 hours Strap: Leather Functions: Time, date, chronograph | Shop Now