TAG Heuer has debuted its sailing-inspired Carrera Skipper watch, continuing the brand’s history and evolution within sports timing. From motor racing to skiing, athletes have depended on TAG Heuer timepieces to track the time. In the world of high-level yachting, the beloved Carrera Skipper is a reliable timepiece that not only reflects the sport’s competitiveness but also its prestige.
The Skipper is defined by its vibrant tones and practical elements. The original version was produced in 1968 and could often be spotted on professional and amateur sailors alike. It was fully elevated to its final production model in 1983 — and now 40 years exactly after it departed from the TAG Heuer catalog, it has returned with new, contemporary features. As the first iterations of this classic sailing chronograph were modeled after the traditional Carrera, the new Skipper model takes after the recently launched “glassbox” Carrera, nodding to the brand’s rich heritage.
In order to assure legibility in even the roughest conditions, the watch’s glassbox extends precisely to the edges of the case. A curved flange dial and distinct chronograph counters heighten the dial’s visibility so that from the beginning of a race, through choppy waters, and all the way to the finish line, the Carrera Skipper remains clear and thoroughly dependable. Additional updated features include the Carrera’s sleek 39mm case, up-to-date TH20-06 movement with bi-directional winding, an 80-hour power reserve for extended activity, and a water-resistant textile strap.
Though this revived model includes cutting-edge, modern technical features, its inherent inspiration does not depart from the original model, conceived out of Jack Heuer’s participation in and admiration for the America’s Cup yacht race. To understand the significance of this model, it is important to dive into the history that first brought it to life.
In the mid-1940s, Heuer was commissioned to produce Abercrombie and Fitch branded watches to sell in its New York stores. At the time, A&F was a popular high-end sporting goods supplier and over time, Mr. Heuer formed a close relationship with the brand and a dedicated friendship with Walter Haynes, A&F’s president. This opened up the door for Heuer to become the official timing partner of the America’s Cup boat, “Intrepid,” a 12-meter U.S. yacht competing to defend the title for the New York Yacht Club.
For the 1967 New York Yacht Club race, Heuer issued “Intrepid” with a set of hand-held yachting watches, equipped with clever elements such as a countdown timer and vivid-toned markers. “Intrepid” went on to win the event, and to honor this achievement, Heuer produced the first-ever Skipper, accented with a 30-second subdial that was formulated to count down the 15-minute regatta ‘pre-start through three, five minute-segments. These segments were defined by bold neon orange, green, and light teal segments. The new Skipper revival takes a page out of the original model’s book, still sporting whimsical colors — Intrepid Teal, Regatta Orange, and Lagoon Green. Other features borrowed from the original include the triangle-shaped markers positioned at five-minute intervals, the “Skipper” name at the base of the 12-hour counter and bright orange second hands.
After the Skipper was removed from TAG Heuer’s offerings, it was not until 2017 that the brand saw a revival in interest in the model. When TAG Heuer produced a limited-run collection in conjunction with Hodinkee — a 125-model array paying homage to the original — collectors began searching eagerly for original versions. Some sold for as much as $80,000 at auction. However, the watch will now be a part of TAG Heuer’s core collection, giving all collectors and racing fanatics a chance at getting their hands on the adored Skipper.
The all-new Carrera Skipper will mark TAG Heuer’s return to the yachting world and will be available following its July launch.