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Carrera Skipper: TAG Heuer Brings the Stylish Chronograph Back to Life

Carrera Skipper: TAG Heuer Brings the Stylish Chronograph Back to Life


The world of watches is always on the lookout for an icon, and TAG Heuer is certainly delivering the goods with the revival of its breezy, colourful Skipper watch. The timepiece, which is historically a much-loved and distinctive model, has been out of action for the past 40 years. Now, it’s returning just in time for the summer months, as colourful watches continue to enjoy an upward trend. We can expect to see many more maritime models follow on from this initial launch as TAG Heuer plans a whole series of the new Carrera Skipper to mark its reentry into the world of competitive yachting.

A surprisingly fashionable history

The TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper has an unusual story behind it. While the original Skipper timepiece first appeared in the horology house’s portfolio in 1968, the model owes its very existence to the sporting goods store Abercrombie & Fitch. The clothing company began its collaboration with Heuer (as TAG Heuer was then known) in the mid-forties, producing A&F watches that were accordingly distributed to its stores in New York. The first piece available to A&F’s sporty clientele was the ‘Solarlunar’, displaying tide times for surfers and sailers alike. Following this, the first A&F chronographs appeared in the form of the sophisticated ‘Seafarer’ and ‘Mareographe’ chronographs.

The rise, fall, and revival of the Skipper

Fast-forward to the late 1960s, and the partnership between Heuer and Abercrombie & Fitch is still going strong. So strong, in fact, that Jack Heuer and A&F’s president, Walter Haynes, come up with a new plan: the reputable watch manufacture should be crowned the official timing partner of the 1967 America’s Cup yacht ‘Intrepid’. Rising to the challenge, Heuer equips Intrepid with a set of hand-held yachting stop watches, as well as giving the crew ‘Aquastar’ wristwatches featuring an ingenious countdown timer, comprising a red and white disc that rotated behind a series of five holes. Following the Intrepid’s win, Heuer promptly produces the celebratory Skipper chronograph with a 30-minute subdial that is adapted to count down the 15-minute regatta pre-start in three five-minute segments.

Each of these segments is a different colour, with vivid orange being used to alert the crew to the fact that there was just five minutes to go; green to represent the colour of the boat’s rigging and light teal to replicate the colour of Intrepid’s deck.

From this moment forth, the colourful Skipper continues to thrive until 1983, when the chronograph finally goes out of action. But this is by no means the end of the line for the Skipper. In 2017, TAG Heuer did a special collaboration that saw the introduction of a mere 125 Skipper watches paying tribute to the original 1968 model. This proved a catalyst for interest in vintage Skipper models, with some pieces reaching tens of thousands at auction. No wonder, then, that TAG Heuer is implementing a well-timed revival of the much-loved chronograph watch.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper

The dial

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that unlike the original version, the watch model now includes Carrera in its name. At first glance, this becomes immediately apparent to fans of the brand, as the dial appears in the handsome circular-brushed Carrera signature blue. TAG Heuer complement this with typically distinctive colourful Skipper subdials. This comprises a 12-hour counter in ‘Intrepid Teal’ – of course taking its name from the America’s Cup yacht – as well as a 15-minute regatta counter with segments in Intrepid Teal, Lagoon Green and Regatta Orange.

Further nods to the original timepiece include prominent triangle shaped markers at five-minute intervals around the outer curved flange, a bright orange central seconds hand, and the inclusion of the ‘Skipper’ name at the base of the 12-hour counter. In addition, the model features ‘curved flange’ dial, creating a very open aesthetic. As well as looking good, this design ensures the utmost legibility. Finally, TAG Heuer cover the rhodium-plated hands with Super-LumiNova, meaning that the time, if not the chronograph, can be read at all hours. A date window sits neatly at 6 o’clock.

The case and strap

On the subject of legibility: the TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper‘s ‘glassbox’ design, first introduced in March this year, entails the watch remaining without a bezel. Due to this lack of bezel, the glassbox extends to the very edge of the case. Once again, this, in combination with the well-executed dial, helps the wearer read the watch and its chronograph easily at all times. This is of particular importance during the pre-regatta stage of sailing, when the yachts tend to bob up and down frequently.

The case measures a wearable 39 mm in diameter in combination with a height of 13.9 mm. TAG Heuer opt for steel on the brushed and polished case as well as the crown and pushers. As touched upon, the dial is protected by a glassbox domed sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment for the utmost level of readability out at sea. As one would hope, the watch case ensures dependable water resistance to 100 m. The watch comes on a blue fabric strap which operates via a folding clasp with double safety pushbuttons.

The movement

The beating heart powering this cheerful sports watch with its unusual counters is the automatic calibre TH20-06. The in-house movement offers hours, minutes, seconds, date, and chronograph function. Alongside a reliable frequency of 4 Hz, the calibre offers an 80-hour power reserve. Wearers of the watch can admire the movement via the open caseback.

Price and availability

Fans of the model – who were not so much a fan of the tens-of-thousands of dollars auction prices – will no doubt celebrate the non-limited TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper‘s price of 6,850 euros. Available now, interested parties can head to TAG Heuer boutiques or affiliated retailers.

MODEL TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper
DIMENSIONS Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 13.9 mm
WATER RESISTANCE 100 m (~10 bar)
DIAL Blue circular brushed dial with coloured subdial counters
STRAP/BRACELET Blue fabric strap and steel folding clasp with double safety pushbuttons
FREQUENCY 4 Hz (28,800 vph)
FUNCTIONS Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph