Tag Heuer Carrera Featuring Caliber 1887 – A Watch Review

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Introduction:

In 2010 Tag Heuer celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding by releasing a new in-house manufactured chronograph movement called Caliber 1887. It was first officially announced to great fanfare at Basel World 2010.

The design of the Caliber 1887 is based on IP (TC78) licensed from Seiko instruments Inc. of Japan. The same design has been used in Seiko’s 6S37 chronograph movement found in Seiko’s Phoenix Brightz and Flightmaster chronographs.

Apparently one of the reasons this particular Seiko design was chosen is because of its use of the oscillating pinion, a technology first patented by Edouard Heuer in 1887, hence the name of the caliber.

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Awards:

Tag Heuer Caliber 1887 won the prestigious “La Petite Aiguille” (Small seconds hand ) for Best Watch of the Year Award (under $5000 category) at the 2010 Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève.

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Movement:

Caliber 1887 is a fully integrated automatic chorongraph movement. Like all high quality chronographs it is equipped with a column wheel which works in tandem with the oscillating pinion to coordinate the start/stop/reset functions. In the case of the Caliber 1887, the oscillating pinion design allows the chronograph function to start within 2/1000th of a second.

The movement is equipped with a bi-directional winding mechanism with double catch lever which Tag Heuer has christened H.E.R. for High Efficiency Rewinder. It is claimed to have 30% higher winding efficiency compared to other traditional winding systems. Seiko enthusiasts will recognise it as the same “Magic Lever” automatic winding system found in Seiko automatic watches.

True to its Swiss heritage, Caliber 1887 is equipped with Glucydur balance and Nivarox hairspring. A fine adjustment system has been incorporated featuring the eccentric adjustment screw.

The decorations and finishing on the movement is what one would expect from a high quality Swiss Made movement featuring Cotes de Geneve, perlage, edge finishing executed to high Swiss standards. The rotor has been “skeletonized” to allow a clearer view of the nicely decorated movement. The blued column wheel is an especially appealing feature.

Technical Specifications:

  • Frequency – 28,800 vibrations/ hr
  • Power Reserve – 50 hours (40 hours with chronograph engaged)
  • 39 Jewels
  • Oscillating Pinion
  • Column Wheel
  • High Efficiency Rewinding (“HER”) system
  • 12-6-9 dial layout
  • Diameter – 29.3mm
  • Thickness – 7.13mm
  • Accuracy – +/- 10secs per day

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Case:

The watch case measures 41.0 mm in diameter. The thin polished bezel gives the impression that the watch is larger than it’s 41 mm diameter. The case thickness is 15.5 mm allowing the watch to fit rather comfortably inside most shirt cuffs. Lengthwise it measures 49.5 mm (lug end to lug end). The case is made of polished stainless steel and has a water resistance rating of 100m.

Watch Specifications:

  • Reference – CAR2110.BA0720
  • Case -Steel
  • Dial – black
  • Bracelet -Steel (5-row alternate fine-brushed and polished steel bracelet)
  • Buckle – Deployant Buckle
  • Movement -Automatic Chronograph Caliber 1887
  • Diameter – 41.00 mm
  • Thickness – 15.5mm
  • Length – 49.5mm lug to lug
  • Lug size – 20mm
  • Caliber – 1887
  • Power reserve – 50 Hours
  • Vibration – 28.800 /h
  • Glass – Domed Sapphire crystal with double sided anti-reflective coating
  • Waterproof – 100 m
  • Functions – Chronograph, Date, Subsidiary Seconds

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Dial:

The dial is matt black with 12 highly polished applied hour markers. Surrounding the main dial is the chapter ring lined with minute markers and 1/4 second markers. At the 12 o’clock position is the chronograph minute counter sub-dial (30 minutes totalizer function). At the 6 o’clock position is the chronograph hour counter sub-dial (12 hour totalizer function). Each of these sub-dials is slightly recessed and is lined with a white silvery border with sub-indices. A small unframed date window is located inside the 12 hour counter sub-dial. At the nine o’clock position is the small running seconds. At the 3 o’clock position is the Tag Heuer insignia and the “Carrera” label.

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Dial Layout:

  • 12 o’clock – 30 minute counter
  • 6 o’clock – 12 hour counter
  • 6 o’clock – Date indicator
  • 9 o’clock – Subsidiary seconds

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Hands:

The hour and minute hands are made from highly polished stainless steel and is shaped in what is traditionally known as matchstick style. The chronograph seconds hand is needle shaped and also highly polished. The hour and minute hands are provided with thin luminescent markers for improved low light legibility.

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Crown:

The crown is knurled which provides a nice grip, an important point for a hand wind operation. It is signed with the Tag Heuer insignia.

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Crystal:

The watch comes with scratch resistant sapphire crystal on the front and back. The front sapphire crystal is curved and coated with Anti reflective layers on both sides of the crystal.

Case back:

The watch is equipped with a screwed-in sapphire crystal display back which provides a clear view of the beautifully decorated Caliber 1887.

Bracelet:

The metal bracelet is Tag Heuer’s signature 5-row alternate fine-brushed and polished steel design found in the Carrera product line. The bracelet is solidly constructed with solid end links, yet very comfortable to wear. The buckle is the deployant type with safety push buttons and is signed with the Tag Heuer insignia. A major drawback to the bracelet design is the use of friction pins. One would expect a Swiss watch in this price range to be provided with the more user friendly threaded link pins.

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Lugs:

The lugs are highly polished with a smooth finish with no sharp edges. The lug width accommodate 20 mm size straps which are attached using spring bars.

Conclusion:

With the new Carrera Caliber 1887, Tag Heuer has achieved the right combination of performance and value unmatched in the Swiss watch industry. It offers a well designed, robust and reliable automatic column wheel chronograph movement manufactured in Switzerland, at a very attractive price point. One will be hard pressed indeed to find an in-house manufactured, fully integrated chronograph with column wheel from another Swiss brand at the same price level.

Resources:

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3 Responses to Tag Heuer Carrera Featuring Caliber 1887 – A Watch Review

  1. Robin Zhan says:

    Dear,
    I’ve just owned one Carrera 1887, but what makes me very unhappy is the accruracy issue. I measured for my watch and the result is +18 seconds per day which is not in accordance with the technical specificaiton.

    So my question is , is it accepatable or reasonable, do I need to send my watch to repair or sth? hoping to see your feedback to my E-mail as soon as possible, Thanks!

    • Danny Tam says:

      Hi Robin,
      Your watch should still be under warranty so you should send it back to Tag Heuer for service/adjustment.

    • jm says:

      i have a carrera 1887, for the past 22 months i don’t have any issue with accuracy, its almost perfect on my wrist with accuracy lost of +1/-1 seconds a day, working like a COSC certified watch.

      Then suddenly i decided to not use it for sometime almost more than a month, then the accuracy problem started, 5 minutes lost per hour.. Good thing i am still covered by the 2 years warranty. It was sent to Switzerland, waited 3 months. Now its working perfectly.

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