How do you keep collectors of vintage and modern watches alike clamouring for a new release? According to TAG Heuer, it’s a matter of taking one of their most iconic timepieces, fusing it with their modern racing watch and launching it as a limited edition. It’s not a bad plan; the resulting TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition is a sexy watch.
The vintage watch collection is, specifically, 1972’s ref. 110503W, a Montreal with a white dial that’s now an auction catalogue highlight the few times it crops up. It’s colourful take on a sports chrono worked perfectly with the kind of retro racing livery that was around at the time and is a good reason it’s considered a grail piece.
For their 160th anniversary though, TAG Heuer decided to do something different from the authentic 1:1 revivals that LVMH stablemate Zenith has been killing it with. Instead, they combined it with their more famous racing timepiece, the Carrera, who’s roots stretch to ten years earlier than the Montreal. It’s one of the watches that put Heuer on the map and remains a solid part of their current collection.
The result is, to me, the best of both worlds. I’m sure there are collectors out there that dream of a re-issue Montreal, but it’s good to see TAG not just go for a carbon copy. The watch itself is lovely, with dark blue dubdials – a slightly nautical look with the white opaline dial – and the bright yellow local hands with red chronograph hand, a colour scheme lifted from the Montreal. It’s bright, it’s colourful and it’s a lot more playful than many a modern sports chrono.
The 39mm case though is distinctly modern Carrera, circular rather than the Montreal’s classic lozenge shape. Sure, I miss that definitively 70s look, but I’d personally wear this more. The other difference is just as obvious: this uses a standard, 3 subdial chronograph layout rather than the bicompax style of the Montreal.
That’s because the new watch houses TAG Heuer’s pride and joy, the Heuer 02 manufacture movement. The in-house column-wheel chronograph has a more-than-respectable 80-hour power reserve and is nicely thin, making for a more elegant feel to the watch. It’s also pretty high-frequency at 4 Hz. All round it’s an impressive movement.
It goes without saying that the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Montreal (I’m already bored of writing that out) is only available in brand boutiques and comes in some cool packaging like any respectable limited edition. The best news though is that with 1,000 being produced, there’s still a good chance you can get one.
If not, you can always dredge the auction houses for that white Montreal. Good luck with that.
Price & Specs:
Brand: TAG Heuer
Model Name: Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition
Case/Dial: 39mm diameter, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Heuer 02, automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 80h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
Strap: Alligator leather with folding clasp
Price: €6,400, limited to 1,000 pieces
More details at Tag Heuer.