One of the most often heard rallying cries around here is that brands should never be afraid to experiment with color. There are so many blue, black, and white dials out there, there’s something refreshing about bright and less common tones being used in watch dials, and we’ve become big fans of brands who are willing to branch out, even if sometimes the watches themselves don’t actually work. TAG Heuer, hot on the heels of a delightfully purple Monaco, has just introduced a new Carrera in a similarly underused colorway. While it might be tough to imagine a use case for a Carrera with a blood red dial, it looks great in photos, and we’re glad this thing exists.
Within the enormous array of TAG Heuer racing chronographs, the Carrera is the watch that has always felt the least tool-ish. That largely comes down to the classic Carrera case, traditionally sized well under 40mm and with elegant lines more suggestive of a traditional dress watch than a sports chrono, the Carrera appeals thanks to its racing bona fides combined with an aesthetic that never really looks out of place. That’s for a standard Carrera, though. The TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition will look out of place sometimes, because that’s simply the nature of a red dial. It’s cool and fun and looks objectively awesome, but nobody could claim with a straight face that a watch like this is versatile.
Red, for a variety of reasons, is just one of those colors that is challenging to wear on a watch. As a one time red watch owner, I can say that no matter how great you think the dial looks when observed on its own, and no matter how liberally you throw caution to the wind when pairing a watch with whatever it is you’re going to wearing for the day, there are times when you’ll look down at your wrist and just think, “Nope, it’s not working today.” Red has a way of taking over and becoming dominant. If you’re at all inclined to let your watches work under the radar, it’s probably not the color for you.
But that is not how I’d expect TAG to describe the prospective buyer for the new Red Dial LE. This is the very definition of a statement watch. If nothing else, it will be impossible not to notice it from across a room. The dial is finished with a sunray brushing effect, and the three sub-registers are all snailed for some additional visual interest and texture. The most interesting thing about the watch in my opinion is the way it takes something well known and traditional like the Carrera case profile and completely shifts it into avant-garde territory by way of a color choice. A standard Carrera is one of those watches that you could recommend to almost anyone, but turning the dial crimson makes it decidedly more niche.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition uses the Calibre Heuer 02 automatic chronograph movement. This is TAG’s relatively new in-house chronograph caliber, featuring a column wheel (in red on this watch, naturally) and a healthy 80 hour power reserve. The case is 39mm in diameter and is water resistant to a full 100 meters. The TAG Heuer Carrera Red Dial Limited Edition has a retail price of $6,750. Only 600 will be made. TAG Heuer