If you want to see a spirited debate (or even a fistfight) among a group of vintage watch collectors, ask each of them to describe what makes a great re-issue of a vintage watch. You can also ask them about re-editions, re-inspirations, reproductions and re-imaginations. Pour fuel onto the fire by sprinkling in words like “homage”, “tribute”, “copy” and even “plagiarism"...quickly dissipating the fun and civility within the horological hobby.
Rather than hosting this brawl, we asked Jeff Stein -- vintage Heuer enthusiast and creator of the OnTheDash.com website (and what Daily Grail would dub the resident Heuer expert of the watch world) -- to give insight into his favorite re-issues created by TAG Heuer. Bonus points were awarded to Jeff for covering a broad range of models, movements, and styles.
Without further ado, Jeff’s five favorites, with one tie, in the order produced by TAG Heuer:
1996 -- Carrera, Ref CS3111 (black) -- Heuer produced the Carrera from 1963 until 1984, and then took a break while undergoing two changes of ownership and the move from chronographs to dive watches. All this changed in 1996, when TAG Heuer created its first re-issue of the Carrera, a near one-to-one copy of the first Carreras from the 1960s (Ref 2447N). This was a humble start in the re-issue game, but it opened the door to the over 450 versions of the Carrera that TAG Heuer has created since 1996.
2010 -- Monaco Twenty Four Calibre 36, Gulf Edition (CAL5110) – Since 2005, TAG Heuer has offered six versions of the Monaco chronograph in the legendary “Gulf” colors, as worn by Steve McQueen and his Porsche 917 in the film Le Mans. The Monaco Twenty-Four Calibre 36 from 2010 is the favorite. It’s big on the wrist and just about impossible to read, but the black titanium carbide case and shock absorbers that mount the movement in the case give it the look of a racing machine. Probably not for every day, but the perfect watch when you want to look at your wrist and see that beautiful Porsche 917 racing through the night.
2017 / 2023 -- Two Glassbox Skipper Chronographs – Produced in 1968 to mark the successful defense of America’s Cup by Intrepid, the first Skipper (which collectors dubbed the “Skipperrera”) incorporated the vibrant blue of the sea and greens of Intrepid deck in a Carrera case. Hodinkee brought back the legendary Skipper in 2017, as a Limited Edition of 125 watches, using TAG Heuer’s “Glassbox” case (CAR221B). Knowing a good thing when it sees it, TAG Heuer followed suit in July 2023, with the new Skipper (CBS2213), which resides in the second-generation Glassbox case and is powered by a variation of TAG Heuer’s Heuer 02 movement.
2020 – Formula 1 x Fragment Design Limited Edition (CAZ201A) – We’ll call this one a “re-inspiration” rather than a re-edition, as this chronograph combines a modern TAG Heuer Formula 1 case, with the colors and style of the Viceroy Autavia, circa 1972 (Ref 1163V). Designed by streetwear god, Hiroshi Fujiwara (founder of Fragment Design), this chronograph balances Fujiwara’s minimalism with the powerful style of the 1970s Autavias. He gets bonus points for the red crystal incorporated into the display back.
2022 – Gold Edition Carrera Chronograph (Jack Heuer 90th Birthday) – In the 1970s, CEO Jack Heuer presented 18 karat gold Carrera chronographs to each of the Ferrari Formula One drivers, and other friends in motorsports. Among today’s collectors, the most coveted of these is the version with a champagne dial and black registers (Ref 1158 CHN). TAG Heuer marked Jack’s 90th birthday (November 2022) with a new 18 karat gold Carrera, which flipped these colors, with a black dial and gold registers.
In closing, one final question was posed to Jeff: What's the dream re-issue you would love to see next from our friends at TAG Heuer?
The re-issue that is missing from the list is painfully obvious – We need an Autavia chronograph that captures the best of the models from the 1960s. Extra points to TAG Heuer if this new Autavia can have a colorful GMT hand and bezel, as we saw from Heuer from 1968 through 1984.