TAG Heuer will soon start selling its limited-edition 300 SLR Caliber 1887 (ref. CAR2112.FC6267) chronograph. While many currently available “sport” chronos are sold in larger-than-life, heavier-than-sin bodies, this new TAG comes packed into a medium-sized stainless steel case that makes you remember the blessed 1970s when rock was hard and cars were deadly.
Being a version of the original Carrera Caliber 1887 chronograph that was first presented at the Baselworld 2010 trade show, this new limited edition is also powered by the controversial (to say the least) Caliber 1887 self-winding movement.
The source of the controversy lies in the press release that accompanied the introduction of the original model. For some reason, TAG Heuer’s PR department boasted the movement as a 100% manufacture-made, while in fact, it was a much-elaborated adaptation of the Japanese Seiko Caliber TC78. Needless to say that the intellectual property rights were duly acquired and the movement itself was reengineered to adapt it to TAG Heuer’s needs with more than 50 percent of all parts manufactured at their facilities, but the damage was done and some people still count the device as a rip-off.
I am not one of them, though.
While the cal. 1887 is not a pure-bred Swiss movement, it is still an accurate and reliable machine, which could make proud even the sharks from ETA that supply the half of the industry with their own movements that –with some extra modules that independent brands design themselves or buy from third party contractors– let you design just about any watch that you can imagine.
Also, while the industry as a whole is degrading with some well-respected companies simply buying ready-made watches and selling them under their own brands, the move to get rid of the Swatch Group’s death-grip only deserves sincerest accolades.
As to the piece itself, its main differences from the original are the new color scheme (the dial is dark chocolate-brown and the lume on the hour indexes and chronograph hands is orange,) a perforated leather strap, and a new solid stainless steel case back cover that sports an engraved picture of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR race car that earned the German automaker the 1955 World Sportscar Championship title.
The round 41 mm case, which is made of polished stainless steel, features a polished winding crown and chronograph push-pieces, a fine-brushed and polished bezel with the inevitable tachymeter scale and a convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both outer and inner sides.
The combination of dark chocolate-brown dial and polished steel hands provides the CAR2112.FC6267 with very legible, high-contrast layout. Its only drawback is the small seconds hand, which is located at 9 o’clock. With no chapter ring whatsoever, the only use for it is, perhaps, showing that the mainspring still holds enough juice for the mechanism to keep on ticking.
Only 3000 chronographs will be produced.
Photos: TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer 300 SLR Caliber 1887 Chronograph (ref. CAR2112.FC6267) specification
Price range: $5100 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber 1887, automatic, 39 jewels, in-house, Swiss Made
Complications: Date, chronograph
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 41.00 mm
Dial: Dark brown
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Perforated leather
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Solid, engraved