Hoist the mainsail and watch the boom: TAG Heuer has used their new (but very retro) Carrera Chronograph Glassbox as the basis for a revival of one of the coolest tool watches from their expansive back catalogue, the sailing-focused Skipper.
Produced in various guises from 1968 to 1983, the TAG Heuer Skipper is one of the 163-year-old watchmaker’s most underrated models. Exactly 40 years after it disappeared from the TAG Heuer catalogue, the beloved Skipper is back, as a special variant of the Carrera Chronograph Glassbox that was unveiled at Watches & Wonders Geneva earlier this year.
Although later versions of the Skipper were based on the Autavia, the first examples of the watch were based on the Carrera. Indeed, the Skipper owes its genesis to earlier regatta timer watches that Heuer produced in collaboration with Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as those provided to the crew of the America’s Cup boat Intrepid which the New York Yacht Club fielded against the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Dame Pattie back in 1967.
Intrepid went on to win the event by a decisive four races to nil – in celebration of which Heuer produced the Skipper chronograph with a 30-minute subdial that was adapted to count-down the 15-minute regatta ‘pre-start’ in three colourful five-minute segments, TAG Heuer explains. It’s a distinctive design that paid homage to the Intrepid’s colour scheme as well as one borne from practical considerations.
Now, in 2023, that colourful design makes its return on the Carrera Chronograph Glassbox. The new TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper (ref. CBS2213.FN6002) – which is now part of the core Carrera collection – is a preppier take on the Glassbox that’s sure to appeal to fans of yachting and Americana.
Like the OG Skipper, the Carrera Skipper boasts a green, orange and teal 15-minute count-down indicator at 9 o’clock and a teal hour indicator at 9 o’clock, which is printed with a ‘SKIPPER’ designation. Those colours are significant, by the way: the orange is used because it’s eye-catching and alerts the crew that there’s five minutes to go, the green references the colour of Intrepid’s rigging and teal the colour of its deck.
Otherwise, under the hood, it’s exactly the same as the normal Carrera Glassbox – which is to say, very compelling. The dramatically domed or ‘boxed’ crystal and its ‘curved flange’ dial not only looks very cool but aids legibility – important when you’re bobbing about in choppy waters. The deep blue sunray dial also evokes the ocean.
Unlike the original Skipper or the normal Carrera Glassbox, which come mounted on leather straps, the new Carrera Skipper features a unique woven fabric strap that’s much more nautical. Light yet robust, it features a proper steel deployant clasp with push-button releases.
The really exciting bit about this release is that the Carrera Skipper will serve as the ‘flagship’ (we love a pun) for a whole series of further maritime models that will mark TAG Heuer’s return to the world of yachts and yachting, according to the brand. TAG Heuer has long been associated with the worlds of racing and diving, but a return to watersports? That’s pretty cool.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper retails for $9,800 AUD. Find out more about the TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper at TAG’s online boutique here.