Goldsmiths / Milton Keynes 15th June 2017
Another surprise for me today, was seeing the brand new Red Bull edition Heuer 01 Carreras in Goldsmiths. The salesman in the shop told me they were the second place in the country to get them, don't know if that's true or not but I haven't seen them anywhere else yet and I noticed they also had the Tudor Pelagos LHD in the window which is as rare as rocking horse poo (my friend Rich has one) so Goldsmiths at the MK must be the place to be!
I tried on both the leather/rubber strap version and the bracelet and I would say that my initial impression from the original photographs holds up, the leather strap is definitely my choice, and it looks even nicer than I thought it would. Indeed, I thought it could go either way in the flesh, but it's a lovely looking strap and the blue much better compliments the bezel whereas the bracelet comes off a little bland to my eyes.
As with all bracelet versions of the Heuer 01 Carrera, there's that clunky 'step' transition to deal with as well, and it doesn't look any better here than on any of the others. The leather strap follows the contoured approach of the original rubber and blends in to the case in a much more aesthetically pleasing manner, I can't see why anyone would choose the bracelet personally.
The dial looks great, the white numerals really give the watch a completely different look to the original skeleton, but I have to say the lack of a border around the date is perplexing. Compare with my (original) Heuer 01 and the date is much less clear at a glance. Such a simple thing, it's almost as if they 'forgot' to put one on - surely not?
It's easy to think that these two watches are the same piece on two different straps, but clearly they are not. The leather strap version is titanium and features the same black coated case and red line as on the original skeleton watch. The bracelet version is steel all over and I have to say I don't think the silver case does it any favours either, it just seems rather dull in comparison. Also the pushers on the titanium version look better to me as well, but that could just be because it looks more like my watch.
Both watches are 45mm and the bracelet version retails at £4550, while the leather version is offered at £4400. I would take the leather version even if those prices were reversed to be honest, it just seems by far the more exciting watch and the blue bezel just works so much better with the black case and leather strap.
I spent a good half an hour in Goldsmiths chatting to the salesman, who for once actually knew what he was talking about. I mean he didn't know that the black case meant it was titanium - but he knew the difference between a Grand Carrera and Microtimer, He also owns a Kirium so he can't be all bad! He also told me never to buy a Monaco Sixty Nine because they are impossible to service without scratching them and the rubber on the back case leaves marks on the glass... so now you know!
Out of the blue he asked if I had a Grand Carrera, and then produced a pre-owned CAV511A on a bracelet, the very watch I've been bleating on about these last few months (the one that's in my local jewellers) which was being sold for £2850 or thereabouts. And do you know what, I tried it on and I really didn't like it at all. How bizarre. Completely gone off it, which leaves me wondering what my next purchase will be because I had pretty much sold myself on that watch and now I don't know what it might be...
Or even if it will be a TAG Heuer. I'm flirting with Breitling, and while I haven't settled on a piece that is to my taste and price bracket as yet, I did leave Milton Keynes with two Breitling catalogues courtesy of a nice lady in Leslie Davies. Not sure the Breitling for Bentleys are for me though.