The Grand Carrera is the sportiest series in the entire TAG Heuer Carrera collection. The watches can measure times to within a tenth of a second and set themselves apart with their innovative rotating disc system.
The TAG Heuer Grand Carrera is something of a black sheep in the otherwise very traditional Carrera collection. Introduced in 2008, perhaps its most distinctive feature is the use of rotating discs in place of various subdials for the chronograph counters, small seconds, or second time zone. This unique design lends these timepieces an almost futuristic look that blends well with their overall sporty character.
This series contains a wide range of models, from three-hand watches with a date and GMT function all the way to sophisticated chronographs. Every timepiece is a COSC-certified chronometer. The top model is the Grand Carrera Calibre 36 RS Caliper. This timepiece can accurately measure periods of time to within one-tenth of a second thanks to the Calibre 36, which is based on the Zenith El Primero.
As its name implies, the Grand Carrera is anything but small. However, at 40, 42, or 43 mm in diameter, it is still comfortable to wear. TAG Heuer crafts most of these watches out of stainless steel, though there are also two-tone and titanium models available. Sapphire glass with an anti-reflective coating on both sides protects the dial and offers a view of the automatic movement at work as part of the screw-down case back.
|Model/Reference number||Price (approx.)||Caliber|
|CAV5185||7,800 USD||Calibre 36|
|CAV5115||5,400 USD||Calibre 36|
|WAV5112||4,400 USD||Calibre 8|
|CAV518B||4,300 USD||Calibre 17|
|WAV515B||4,200 USD||Calibre 6|
|WAV5111||3,900 USD||Calibre 8|
|CAV511A||3,000 USD||Calibre 17|
|WAV511A||2,800 USD||Calibre 6|
This line's flagship model is without a doubt the Grand Carrera Calibre 36 RS Caliper . TAG Heuer presented this highly precise chronograph as a concept watch in 2008. Only a year later, the watch was already in series production. Its Rotating Disc System (RS) immediately catches the eye. Instead of traditional chronograph counters, it uses small rotating discs for the minute counter, hour counter, and small seconds subdials.
The discs sit below differently sized openings in the dial. For example, the small seconds window is a narrow vertical slit at 9 o'clock with a small line that moves from bottom to top. TAG Heuer refers to this display type as a Linear System (LS). A stainless steel bridge with a striped finish connects the semicircular chronograph counters at 3 and 6 o'clock. A conventional date display at 4:30 rounds off this timepiece's functionality.
Another interesting feature is the so-called Caliper System. A caliper gauge allows you to use the El Primero-based Calibre 36 to its full potential and measure elapsed times to within a tenth of a second. This is made possible thanks to an internal bezel that's operated via an additional crown at 10 o'clock. Once you've finished measuring a period of time, you can line up the ring's red zero marker with the tip of the stop-seconds hand and use the caliper scale to determine the tenths of a second.
There are two editions of this 43-mm watch available. First, there's the ref. CAV5115. This satin-brushed stainless steel watch costs around 5,400 USD new. You can purchase a well-maintained pre-owned timepiece for as little as 4,600 USD. On the other hand, the ref. CAV5185 requires a much larger investment. Its titanium case has a black PVD coating. Plan to spend about 7,800 USD for a never-worn model and roughly 5,500 USD for a used watch.
The Grand Carrera Calibre 17 RS is this series' second chronograph model. This timepiece also measures 43 mm in diameter. It gets its power from the Calibre 17, based on the ETA 2894-2. The movement provides the watch with a typical bicompax dial layout, albeit with rotating discs instead of conventional subdials at 3 and 9 o'clock. There's also a date display at 6.
Prices for the stainless steel version of the Grand Carrera Calibre 17 RS sit between 2,600 and 3,100 USD, depending on its condition. This model comes with your choice of a matte black or white dial. A never-worn titanium timepiece with a black PVD coating demands some 1,100 USD more than its stainless steel counterpart. Pre-owned pieces change hands for around 3,100 USD. The version in 18-karat rose gold with a dark brown dial is particularly refined. You can call this small treasure your own for about 17,000 USD new and 11,000 USD pre-owned.
If you can do without a stopwatch function, the Grand Carrera collection offers a few interesting alternatives. For example, the Grand Carrera Calibre 8 RS is a great option for anyone who often finds themselves traveling between time zones. A semicircular window stretches from 5 to 7 o'clock. It contains a rotating 24-hour disc for displaying the time in a second time zone. Across the dial at 12 o'clock, you'll find a large date display. This is all made possible by the Calibre 8. To build this movement, TAG Heuer takes the ETA 2892-A2 and outfits it with a TT651 GMT module from Soprod.
These 42.5-mm stainless steel watches are available with a white, black, or dark brown dial. Depending on the model, expect to spend between 3,900 and 4,400 USD for a mint-condition timepiece. At around 2,400 USD, pre-owned pieces are much more affordable.
With a 40-mm case, the Grand Carrera Calibre 6 RS is this line's smallest and most elegant model. It takes advantage of the rotating disc system for its small seconds at 6 o'clock. There's also a date display at 3. The result is an extremely tidy dial in your choice of black, white, or brown.
Be sure to have some 2,800 USD on hand for a new stainless steel watch. You can save quite a bit by purchasing a pre-owned timepiece: They cost about 1,100 USD less. Two-tone models made of stainless steel and yellow gold tend to sell for around 4,300 USD. Once again, used watches offer an affordable alternative, changing hands for approximately 3,000 USD.