With the performance-driven Calibre Heuer 02, which powers the new family of Carrera timepieces, TAG Heuer wanted to create a thinner movement compared to its predecessor, the 01, with increased power, but all the while keeping the same timekeeping precision. The firm ended up creating an entirely in-house-built mechanism comprising 168 components with a number of clear improvements on the 01. Power reserve went from 30 hours to a more than respectable 80 hours. A new, thinner movement – 6.95mm compared to the 01’s 7.3mm – meant it was possible to create a svelter case design, married with better precision and stability thanks to a frequency of 4Hz (that’s 28,800 vibrations per hour).
Then there is the vertical clutch, which increases precision on the start-and-stop functions, as well as the running of the chronograph second hand, and this results in no loss of time when using the chrono function. Also, a column wheel further boosts accuracy, which is noticeable through the smooth action on the pushers.
Lastly, the movement has a bearing on the design of the watch itself. The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 manages to convey a complex layout (“tri-compax”, referring to the three complications, with subdials at 3, 6, and 9), a date at 4:30, and a maximum measure of 12 hours with ease and a laudable lack of confusion. The secret is that the distance between the counters is more than on the 01, allowing for larger subdials and improved legibility – important on a chronograph.
However, if all this technical wizardry is too much to comprehend on a day at the track, you can be forgiven for appreciating instead the three-dimensional skeletonised dial and modern, angular case design that lovingly preserves the long, straight lug of the original Heuer Carrera. After all, not everything can be improved upon.