Practical debut: TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph X Porsche Orange Racing Watch

Photos by Ed Rhee

Since TAG Heuer and German sports car giant Porsche expanded their decades-long informal relationship into an official brand partnership in 2021, the Swiss marque has released a wave of dedicated Porsche models. They range from a limited-edition celebration of the historic Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 to a unique Porsche-themed version of the Connected smartwatch with exclusive features, but the 2022 Carrera X Porsche Limited Edition stands as perhaps the partnership’s most successful model to date . For 2023, TAG Heuer returns to this spicy modern take on its landmark sports watch, updating the design with blazing new orange accents and an eye-catching new focus on intricate mixed finishes. The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing may not be the brand’s most innovative release of the year, but it offers an aggressive and sporty new style for one of the most capable modern designs with plenty of nods to Porsche’s racing heritage.

While the 44mm black DLC-coated stainless steel case of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing is undoubtedly larger for a modern chronograph, it’s also a textbook example of the fading power of black in action. Overall, this follows the same lines as the standard serial Carrera chronograph, with the series’ characteristic angular beveled lugs and sharp flat surfaces intact. The modern Carrera already wears impressively compact for a 44mm wide watch thanks to its short down-turned lugs, but the use of black DLC visually compacts the design further, introducing a new track-ready edge. This darker canvas also provides a satisfying base for a combination of polishing and sharp linear brushing across the case to play with, resulting in a truly intriguing play of light on the wrist. TAG Heuer creates a series of natural focal points here using fiery orange accents. The crown adds a narrow engraved accent ring in orange, but the engraved ‘Porsche’ text atop the ceramic tachymeter panel is a powerful wrist-attractor and acts as the only exposed Porsche branding visible on the front. Like the main body of the case, the ceramic panel uses a combination of polished, radially brushed, etched and painted surfaces to illuminate its dynamic geometry, and the sense of detail here greatly contributes to the premium wearing experience. At the back, TAG Heuer places the watch with a sapphire display and credits the design for respectably sporting 100 meters of water resistance.

Like the case, the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing dial breathes vibrant new life into existing Carrera elements with the use of a new color and finish. The overall layout should be familiar to fans of previous Carrera Chronograph x Porsche endeavors, with distinctive speedometer-style Arabic minute numerals and signature accent colors throughout. Compared to last year’s yellow colored Carrera Chronograph x Porsche, however, the new Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing features a much more generous application of orange accents – orange accent rings for the main dial and each of the three sub-dials, orange markings on the sub-dial at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock and a luminous orange central chronograph seconds hand to tie things together. This bolder visual approach may not work for all tastes, but it’s undeniably eye-catching and works to give this design a distinct personality, even when spotted around the room. TAG Heuer is also mixing things up on the surface front – instead of the 2022 model’s automotive-style black metallic paint, this new iteration uses a clean, sharply detailed vertically brushed main dial surface, highlighted by multi-layered chronograph sub-dials with recessed blue centers . The brand further de-emphasizes the asphalt grain texture seen on the 2021 Porsche Carrera-themed (and again on the 2022 model) here, shifting it to an emphasis on the 6 o’clock scale in running seconds, but this limited inclusion works to tie the series together in a clean automotive-themed visual shorthand. Overall, this dial isn’t a dramatic departure from previous Porsche-focused versions of the Carrera, but it elevates and refines the existing formula while dialing up the feel of aggression on the wrist.

As with many of its high-end chronograph offerings, TAG Heuer powers the Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing with its in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph. The Heuer 02 has certainly earned its place as the brand’s flagship movement since its introduction in 2018, and it’s still going strong a modern contender with a solid 80-hour power reserve at 28,800 beats, along with the coveted column wheel and vertical clutch chronograph actuation system. The finish here is more or less in line with other current Heuer 02 appearances, with sharp Côtes de Genève across the skeletal bridges, a blacked-out custom rotor inspired by the steering wheel, and a contrasting orange column wheel to tie the movement to the overall design. TAG Heuer completes the watch with a sporty black calf leather strap with a carbon texture and double orange accent stitching to match the dial.

As the official partnership between TAG Heuer and Porsche enters its third year, the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing builds on previous co-branded iterations with a refined and aggressive style that should have no problem turning heads. The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche Orange Racing is now available through select authorized dealers, TAG Heuer boutiques and the brand’s e-commerce platform. The MSRP for the TAG Heuer Carrera stands at $7,050 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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