Saturday, 11 August 2018

ON THE WRIST: Carrera Calibre 16 White Dial Chronograph


TAG Heuer Boutique / Bicester Village, 27th July 2018

I've always really liked the Carreras with the 'minute' numerals, but when they are placed on a black dial they do have a tendency to disappear as they reflect the black in their polished surfaces. One way to resolve the problem is to have a white dial and that's exactly what we have here... and it's a bit of a stunner to say the least.

There's nothing overly remarkable about the watch in general, it's a 43mm case, with a Calibre 16 movement as you'd expect and have seen in countless other Carreras. But that combination of white dial and minute markers really works well and gives this one a modern feeling that eludes a lot of Carreras. Now I'm sure this won't be everyone's cup of tea because a lot of Carrera fans would rather they didn't have a modern feeling at all, but there's many, many Carreras out there for those people, and it's nice that this one is a little different...

It's almost odd to see a white dial Carrera, and how different it makes the watch look. We see so many black dial versions (with the obligatory splashes of red) that when something that deviates from the norm comes along it can have quite a lot of impact. This watch certainly isn't for the shy and retiring owner, sometimes white dial watches can look a little bit boring but this one certainly doesn't and the face has a metallic silvery shimmer similar to a guitar I once owned. 

On the wrist it feels substantial, but not oversized and features some very nice polished surfaces including the bezel, which looks great even if it is rendered all but unreadable by the constant reflections and fingermarks. But hey, who's actually using their tachymetre scale anyway?

Of course the dial brings to mind that other white faced Carrera, the McLaren 1974 Limited Edition. In fact I went as far as mocking up the CV2A11 with the tyre tread rubber strap from the CAR2A12, but once you put them side by side you realise they do look quite different. Aside from the different movements (the McLaren has the Calibre 1887) the CV2A11 is a day-date model rather than just a date and doesn't play so well with the rubber strap due to the lack of black on the face and bezel.

I honestly thought it would look better than that, and a lot closer to the McLaren, but it really doesn't... so scratch that, I'd keep it on the BA0796 bracelet provided, which is very stylish and complements the watch nicely.

List price for this one was a hefty £3850, which makes the McLaren look a better deal to be honest... but in the outlet this one has the customary 30% discount which takes it way down to £2695, which suddenly starts to look a lot more attractive (I don't imagine you're going to find a NOS McLaren at a 30% discount anywhere!). The only thing I would say is that with the three sub dials and the day date function, the TAG Heuer logo does look a little shoehorned in at the 2 position compared to the better balanced dial on the McLaren version... but that in itself isn't a deal breaker for me.

An ideal Carrera then for someone who wants something a little different, but who doesn't want to break the bank. It's certainly worth a look if you like a white dial, although as you can see from the picture above it is a sort of off-white in reality. Personally, I think I would save the cash and try and find a McLaren 40th Anniversary, but that's always been on my 'wish list' so I'm a bit biased!

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