Tag Carrera Calibre 1887 Buy REPACK
While some models of the Carrera caliber 1887 Automatic Chronograph 43mm were later discontinued leaving room for some newer models, TAG Heuer fans around the world still have lots of love for the Caliber 1887, TAG's 1st in-house mechanical movement.
tag carrera calibre 1887 buy
The TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Chronograph uses what many would consider a historical movement. The 39 jewel high beat movement offers excellent precision which tests results that rival C.O.S.C. certified chronometers. So why wouldn't they go the extra mile to get officially certified by COSC? TAG Heuer simply didn't think that the added expense was worth the trouble. They could keep the 1887 at a more competitive price and still have all the benefits as a COSC certified chronometer and be attainable to more people. It turns out that TAG outfitted many chronographs with their 1887 movement over the years.
Few watches have as storied a history as the Carrera, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year alongside the Rolex Daytona. While the Carrera has definitely gone through many revisions over the years, the same DNA is still there from the beginning. We decided to take the current Carrera, housing TAG Heuer's Calibre 1887 movement, for a spin, and here we give you a look at the birth of Carrera, the intricacies of the Calibre 1887 movement, and what is was like to wear this modern Carrera for a week.
Inside this Carrera is TAG Heuer's in-house Calibre 1887, though that "in-house" does require a bit of an explanation in this case. Before we get into that story though, let's take a look at what the Calibre 1887 does.
The 1887 is TAG Heuer's basic in-house chronograph movement. The balance beats at 4 Hz, the power reserve is approximately 50 hours (40 or so if you're using the chronograph a lot), and it is wound automatically by a full sized rotor. There are subdials for running seconds, a 30-minute chronograph register, and a 12-hour chronograph register, as well as a small date wheel. Importantly, the chronograph itself utilizes a column wheel instead of a lesser clutch.
Named for the year that Heuer invented the oscillating pinion to be used in stopwatches, the 1887 is the fourth in-house movement from TAG Heuer - Calibre 360, Calibre S, and Calibre V came earlier. When it was unveiled in 2009 to celebrate the brand's 150th anniversary, there was a bit of commotion in watch circles about how in-house the 1887 actually is, and here's the full scoop.
TAG Heuer acquired the exclusive European rights to the TC87 movement platform from Seiko, who had patented the design back in 1997, and used it as the foundation for the 1887. TAG started with the Seiko 6S37 column wheel chronograph and adapted it to suit their needs, doing things like moving the balance wheel's position, flattening the movement out overall, and reconfiguring the main plate, bridge, and oscillator architecture.
If you're feeling skeptical at this point, bear with us for a second. TAG Heuer, while touting the 1887 as 100% in-house, has also announced publicly that it has a formal relationship with Seiko and is sourcing some less critical components for the 1887 from the Japanese brand due to Swatch Group restricting supply. All told, there are 22 suppliers of components for the 1887 and Seiko is the only one that is not Swiss. So while the "100% in-house" moniker might lead to you believe something a bit far from the truth, TAG Heuer has been transparent and provided information when asked about the 1887's provenance.
There are even a number of reasons why TAG Heuer building on this Seiko foundation to bring us the 1887 is a great thing. The proprietary, Seiko-conceived double pawl winding system is more efficient than a standard rotor winding system, and the column wheel system in this movement is extremely reliable and reactive.
As mentioned above though, TAG did make some significant modifications to make the 1887 their own, one of which is the addition of their internally developed rocking pinion. To oversimplify a bit, this means the chronograph's seconds hand is always partially connected to the movement's running seconds gear train, so engagement is much faster and smoother.
So while ultimately the 1887 is only partially "in-house," it's a great movement nonetheless and certainly a significant step up from the ebauche movements used in many competing chronographs. But now let's take a look at this watch overall.
Now that you've got the full story of the 1887 movement, let's see how TAG Heuer has put it to use in their most famous watch. The movement was launched in the Carrera in 2009 and the watch has been slowly tweaked over the last few years.
The model we have here is the 41mm Carrera 1887, which seems to pay closest homage to the vintage Carreras we love so much while also sitting close to the entry-level price point in the Carrera range. While many watches from the range sit at 43mm, we find the 41mm size works great for this watch. The case recalls the Carreras of old with its clean, thin bezel, faceted lugs, and sleek profile.
The subdial layout has the chronograph 30-minutes at 12 o'clock, chronograph 12-hours at 6 o'clock, and a running seconds at 9 o'clock. "Cal. 1887" is indicated discretely in the running seconds dial, which is barely set into the main dial adding just enough textural difference. Tucked into the chronograph's hours subdial is a small date window that is there when you need it but unobtrusive otherwise. Overall, it's a pretty pure, no-frill expression of what the Carrera should be. There are a number of variations available for the 41mm Carrera, including a white dial, a solid 18k rose gold case, and a few bracelet and strap choices.
Using the chronograph is enjoyable and the Calibre 1887 handles nicely. The pushers are your traditional pump style, with new screw-down protector, so you can use the chrono in an instant if you want to. Activation of the start/stop pusher at 2 o'clock is crisp and the reset pusher at 4 o'clock does not require excessive pressure to get a clean snap back to zero. Both pushers can be depressed about halfway without any resistance, allowing you to set-up to time something like a race without much delay.
The pull-out crown between the two pushers pops out easily to two positions, the first for setting the quick-set date and the second for setting the time. Turning the Carrera over reveals a massive sapphire window that lets you see the Calibre 1887 inside, which is lightly decorated, retaining the clean modern look of the watch.
Wearing the Carrera 1887 got me a number of compliments from people who don't normally notice watches and it is a fun watch to wear. There is nothing overly conspicuous about it, but the design is well executed overall. It's clear that a lot of thought went into making sure wearability and functionality came first.
Priced at $5,400 on either strap or bracelet, the Carrera 1887 sits in a spot in the market between a lot of competition. Priced a little lower than the Carrera you have column wheel chronos from the likes of Longines, whose Saint-Imier chronograph houses an ebauche movement (though it is made within the Swatch Group) and is priced at $3,225. On the other side of the Carrera 1887 are watches like IWC's entry level chronographs in the Pilot's, Portuguese, and Portofino families, which start at $5,900 and quickly approach the $8,000 mark.
What the Carrera 1887 offers at $5,400 is a combination of having an in-house movement (even with the qualifications mentioned above), great styling that recalls the classic Carreras of the 1960s, an easy and enjoyable to use chronograph, and a watch that is overall just plain fun to wear.
Overall, I really enjoyed spending a week with the Carrera 1887. The Carreras of the 60s are iconic and set the bar pretty high for TAG Heuer's new releases. But this watch is a fitting modern counterpart to the Carreras of old. It feels very much like a modern watch, but in great way. It's sturdy; it is modern in size without being outsized or uncomfortable; the movement utilizes new technology and innovations; it pays homage to the original Carrera without looking like a tribute watch.
While the "in-house" designation on the Calibre 1887 requires a pretty large asterisk, the movement itself is great and certainly a few steps above from the ebauche movements you'll find in a lot of the Carrera's competitors. And at the end of the day, whether it's the fit, the functionality, or the essential "Carrera-ness" that does it for you, the Carrera 1887 is a watch you'll find yourself coming back to.
With the Carrera Heuer 01 collection, TAG Heuer wanted to take what worked well in the design of the 1887 (which as a model pre-dated the Heuer 01) and make it bolder and more aggressive with the intent that it would appeal to a younger demographic. As I said, this particular reference is unique because it is the most conservative of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 models given its more traditional, non-skeletonized dial. Like some other Carrera models, it replaces the Arabic numerals on the dial with large, applied baton hour markers (with luminant) and pairs them with proportionally larger hands. For low-light viewing, the Heuer 01 is going to win between these two Carreras given its superior volume if Super-LumiNova. The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 also has a more three-dimensional dial, given the thicker applied elements such as the hands and chronograph rings.
Movements are so important to watches that the names of these two TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph models are differentiated by the movements contained within them. Ironically enough, the movements are only different cosmetically, each featuring the same architecture, performance, and of course functionality. So, regardless of whether you opt for a Carrera Calibre 1887 or a Carrera Calibre Heuer 01, you are getting a very good mechanical movement.
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