2013 Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Chronograph Flyback Watch

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At the Basel World 2013, TAG Heuer introduced the new TAG Heuer Carrera Flyback, utilizing the brand's Calibre 36 movement. This watch takes aesthetic inspiration from the Heuer stopwatches of the 1960s and uses the excellent El Primero based movement to great effect. Jeff Stein of On The Dash recently stopped by HODINKEE HQ to share his thoughts on the pedigree of the Carrera Flyback and how it fits into the histories of both TAG Heuer and flyback chronographs in general. As the TAG Heuer’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Carrera continues with this new watch, the 2013 TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback eatures an authentic fly-back complication--a simple click instantly resets the chronograph to zero. Inspired by automobile racing, the function lets drivers (and aviation pilots) instantly restart and reset without stopping. The generous case is in super-light titanium Grade 2, the same corrosive-resistant alloy used in leading-edge aerospace, automotive and architectural design. Here it is sandblasted and specially treated with a black titanium carbide coating for extra allure. The new flagship Carrera’s look are a development of the 2011 Heuer Mikrograph design, with a little of the new Ceramic Bezel Carrera 1887 thrown in for good measure. The dial design is inspired by vintage Heuer stopwatches and features a large outer dial seconds track and and a central dial with markings for standard time (note the short minute hand design for the steel models) and the sub dials for the chronograph. The standard versions are executed in steel with the option for either a bracelet or a leather strap and the buyers choice of an anthracite/black dial (model CAR2B10) or an anthracite/white dial (model CAR2B11). In addition to the steel versions, they are also offering an all-black titanium model dubbed the Racing Chronograph Flyback. The Racing model's 43mm titanium case is coated in a black titanium carbide finish and it features a distinct crown and pusher design and a tachymeter scale printed on the dial rehaut. While all three variations of the Cal 36 Flyback fall well within the design language for a modern Carrera, the Racing model manages to shine among the range. The careful mix of the matte black case, the sunburst anthracite dial and the oversized and inlaid dial markers make for a watch that is a lot of fun on wrist and interacts beautifully with light. Legibility is very good and all three versions offer the feeling of a stopwatch but in the packaging of a modern Carrera. The white model (CAR2B11) has a charm that is all its own, with a high contrast dial that can be seen from afar but easily enjoyed on wrist. Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Chronograph Flyback Watch Hands On: Racing With El Primero tag heuer In hand, one can flip the Cal 36 Flyback over and view its Zenith-sourced heart via a display case back. As with every Carrera I've ever seen in person, these are best worn on a leather strap. The very sporty Racing model comes fitted to a cool perforated black leather strap while the steel models can be had with a black alligator strap or a steel bracelet. It was great to see these new models in person and while they seemed to wear a bit larger than their 43mm sizing might suggest, comfort was not an issue and none of the versions are especially blingly. The Racing model, with its titanium construction, feels surprisingly light for its size. Holding the Carrera Calibre 36 Racing, my mind considered a similar connection between Audi and Lamborghini, both of which are part of the Volkswagen Group. Tag Heuer, like Audi, makes has a solid stable of engines available for their many models, but when they went to make something special, like the R8 V10, they borrowed a 5.2L V10 from Lamborghini. There are a number of reasons to do this, but I feel that the decision was as much about the connection to Lambourghini as it was about availability, power, and technical considerations. I think Tag Heuer was in a similar situation, while they could achieve a similar set of goals with one of their own movements, there is something almost magical about the El Primero.