It’s hard to fault my Dad’s comment about the Heuer Carrera; it is one of the most attractive and iconic chronographs ever designed and I’ll later go into some depth about the details.Even though increasing interest in all things Heuer, the 2447 really is the model that set the stage for the (TAG) Heuer that exists today. Everything from the current Carrera line to the racing advertising that TAG uses today has roots in this model. I’d argue that there are many other chronographs that owe their designs to this landmark model as well. Therefore, let’s dig in a touch and learn about the details, how this piece was sourced, and how I “curated” the package.
Although it is without a “T” for Tritium on the dial, the piece shown in this article is known as a 2nd execution Heuer Carrera 2447S. Also, it is an early piece. The first execution pieces were made in 1963 for approximately a year and featured a dial in either matte black or flat white. In late 1964/early 1965, the sunburst silver/white dial was introduced. The 1st execution pieces are greatly rare and while they are gorgeous in their own right, the 2nd execution pieces are most often pictured as the foundational pieces.
What’s more,the Heuer Carrera 2447S features a beautiful 36mm stainless case with a 18mm lug width. In today’s terms, this sounds rather small and it seems strange that a watch of this size has so many enthusiastic collectors when lining it up next to other keystone pieces such as the Omega Speedmaster or Breitling Navitimer, however the Heuer is no little piece and it possibly compares more aptly to another mid-60’s release, the Rolex Daytona. I’ll talk more on the Daytona later when we come to the dial and movement. Returning to the case, though, an aspect that really makes it stand out is the angled, chamfered lug-work. There’s really nothing about these in common with the other contemporary Heuer chronographs such as the Camaro or Autavia and I like that. The Carrera lugs are long, thick enough to provide some mass, but thin enough to remain elegant. They have “faces” both on the inside and outside of the lug all while flowing smoothly from the case itself. I own a greatly polished example of this watch and it was fantastic for me to get ahold of a proper example. Keep this in mind, as the subtleties are important on the Carrera.
There are some other niceties related to the case. View it from the non-pusher side and you’re met with some very fine detailing. The lugs flow up to the crystal but there is a beautiful case line that drops down at the heart of the diameter. Here again, my personal example has lost the bulk of this to the polishing wheel and it’s rather lovely to see what it should look like.
The crown and pushers on the Heuer Carrera are perfectly sized for the watch. Basic caps exist and perfectly tactile to use. The crown, in this case, is a signed piece that was likely added during a service many years ago, but fits the watch well and enables for the satisfying daily ritual of winding. While signed crowns were installed on Heuer Carreras, it is likely that a piece of this age came with an unsigned specimen.
As on so many watches, the dial is really where the money is made. In the case of the Heuer Carrera 2447S,absolutely this is true. While I have gushed over what now seems like countless numbers of chronographs, the Carrera separates itself with its absolute simplicity and legibility. In reality, this simplicity is echoed on the manual wind Daytonas of the day and this makes sense as both sourced their pieces from Singer. Where the Carrera has a slight advantage over the Rolex, for my tastes at least, is the lack of various measurement scales. Collectors go gaga for the so-called exotic dial Carreras with tachymeter inner bezels, the pandas and reverse pandas, and those with blue or red script, but for my money, the simple original is best. There is nothing extraneous found on this dial and everything from the hands, the font, the palette, and the hues are perfect. Simple hands, whether they’re the central hour and minute indicators or the thin sub register needles, are wonderfully weighted to match such an elegant dial. The legible applied hour indices, which are essentially shared with same era Daytonas, are augmented with subtle, yet purposeful lume dots on the outer track. Moving outside, an angled minutes track helps draw the eye inwards to the center of the dial.
My next note was to Erik Akin of DECAMP Goods, whose products we reviewed here. I chatted with Erik about the watch I was presenting and he and I brainstormed on a unique watch roll to fit the piece. Erik suggested black Horween and me being a master of the rhetorical,apparently I said yes!A special thanks goes to Erik for working through the creative process with me to create such a complementary accessory for this important watch.
Eventually,I have opportunity to see the Heuer Carrera 2447S in person about a week ago and as I mentioned, it was revelatory to handle such a nice specimen. The crystal thickness, lug detail, and case condition are all fantastic. I photographed the watch the morning before presenting it and loosely put it on my wrist. As you can see, the watch wears well and I really think that the 36mm diameter is an unfounded concern for all except those who normally pull off massive Panerais or U-Boats. The lugs add a lot of size to the watch and hug the wrist nicely. While I suppose vintage chronographs generally work well with most types of dress due to their patina and, typically, less imposing sizes, some are more versatile than others. The Carrera, with its single tone dial, lack of bezel, and paucity of font make it a perfect companion with more formal dress, especially if equipped with something like a crocodile strap. Conversely, when paired with the racing strap you see here, the watch works with everything from jeans to 99% of what passes as business dress. The bottom line is that it looks wonderful no matter how it is employed.