It was once considered to be the most dangerous automotive race in the world, and then it ended. The Carrera Panamericana did more than just leave legendary racing stories behind. It would inspire one Jack Heuer to take the name Carrera and turn it into equally legendary Swiss made replica watches. So legendary in fact, that when the name Carrera is uttered, you’re more than likely to see an image of a chronograph in your mind before you start daydreaming of open-road racing.
The first Heuer Carrera was released 60 years ago, and you know TAG Heuer isn’t letting an anniversary pass it by. In fact, the brand has plans for a roll-out of celebratory pieces throughout the year and it’s kicking things off with this 600-piece LE: The AAA Canada fake TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary edition watches. I wrote the introductory coverage of this watch before we knew what it would look like in the metal. Now we know, and now you have pretty, real-life pictures to look at.
To put it bluntly, this anniversary TAG Heuer should look pretty familiar to you. It presents the same 39mm case sizing that you know, as well as handsome throwback design work in the execution of the dial. You basically think you’re looking at vintage high quality replica watches, but it has the feel of something far more modern – with a great movement to back that up.
Honestly, I have always gravitated towards this side of perfect TAG Heuer copy watches, the Heuer output. To me, it represents a low-risk way for the brand to give the enthusiast crowd what it longs for while simultaneously being able to deliver larger, more modern designs for those that might look at this new anniversary piece and say “I don’t know, it looks old.” This shoulder shrug from “normies,” is really the secret sauce we all want. A watch in a conservative size, with a pared-down, vintage-inspired design. This is especially true when those designs come from a house with as much heat in its archives as TAG Heuer has.
One such heater is the famed Carrera 2447, which we’ve covered at considerable length. It’s the genesis of the luxury replica TAG Heuer Carrera watches in many ways, though with this year’s celebratory piece, TAG decided to go with a slightly rarer execution: the 2447SN with its panda dial layout.
It was that very panda aesthetic that had us excited to see this one IRL. And it doesn’t disappoint (it would be very hard to mess this kind of thing up). The 39mm sizing is really great on the wrist and the contrast of the black subdials against the silver dial really elevates the vintage appeal. There are touches of faux-aged lume on the hands and the lume plots above the hour markers, but those are really more like flourishes that warm up the otherwise stark design.
By not using tritium (for the record, that’s something you only find on real vintage 1:1 fake watches), the dial has been made cleaner by virtue of there being less text to deal with. We have an almost imperceptible Swiss on the six o’clock subdial and then up top we’re left with the classic Heuer wordmark and the Carrera name. Crispy and clean.
This “let it breathe” layout really helps the sunburst effect on the silver dial to shine. You can feel the texture as your eyes slowly make their way to the subsidiary registers in their concentric glory. At three we have our minutes counter, at six our running seconds, and at nine our chronograph hours. The chronograph seconds hand itself is fashioned in metal without lume, allowing it to blend in effectively.
For legibility, the sub-register hands are white. Basically, you get a sense of purpose-built vintage design when looking at this modern reincarnation. This is a luxury chronograph based on a true tool – even if we may not quite have the same use for it today.
While this piece showcases the Heuer 02 Automatic beneath an exhibition caseback, it doesn’t interfere with the otherwise old-school design. And that’s for a pretty obvious reason: the caseback sits atop your wrist and is therefore hidden from view. For your eyes only (or if you choose to show it off to some friends and get them hooked on this very addictive hobby).
On the wrist, with the compact pushers, this wears exactly how you would want a watch like this to wear: just right. And the choice of pairing the super clone watches shop with the black racing-style leather strap only enhances the high-contrast look of the panda dial. I’m a sucker for this kind of chronograph by nature, but I still think TAG Heuer did a really nice job with this recreation of sorts. It’s only a 600-piece limited edition, and I have a suspicion it won’t be around too long.