I confess, I’m a sucker for a colourful dial. Nothing in the horological world says summer or, frankly, pure fun quite like it. And the one vintage Tag Heuer that I have long had a soft spot for (I know, I’m not the only one) is the Skipper. So, when the announcement was made it would be returning, you know I was buzzing. So, let’s get into it.
The original Carrera Skipper ref. 7754 had a deep-blue dial, along with orange and seafoam-green elements. The latter colour was inspired by those found on the Intrepid (the America’s Cup has always been the marquee event for sailing, and, in 1967, Heuer was its official timer; Intrepid, from Newport, Rhode Island, came first that year, and, in 1968, Heuer decided to make a watch that took inspiration from this winning boat).
Some estimate that several hundred of these watches were made, but less than 40 are known to exist today. I can remember trying to bid on one at Fellows Auctioneers many years ago, with a dial that was almost totally destroyed – it went for nearly £30,000.
Before we get in to the new Skipper, we have to touch on the one Hodinkee limited-edition that everyone tends to try and hunt down. In 2017, for the 50th anniversary of the Intrepid’s win, Hodinkee produced 125 pieces of an updated Carrera Skipper. This watch used the brand’s 39mm retro ‘glassbox’ case to create a Carrera Dato-inspired version of the timepiece. From a functional perspective, it has a 30-minute counter and a date window, so it lacks the pure countdown capability of a regatta timer. Still, no one really cared (who uses these things to sail with, anyway?) – ultimately, it was a real looker.
So, after nearly seven years, Heuer has brought this special watch from its archives into serial production, and this new Skipper takes its cues from the ultra-rare 1968 Heuer model.
The watch has been kept as close to the original as possible, while being enlarged proportionally to keep up with the times. On the dial side, the leftmost register is in seafoam-green, and the right counter brings back the tricolored five-minute segments.
Furthermore, the central seconds counter shows off a bright-orange hue, just like the original 7754 did. The bisected and polished hands resemble slightly later Heuer chronographs and also include orange tips. The indices follow the general form of early Carreras, but are certainly larger and more modern looking. Orange lume pips also sit at each hour within the upward domed section of the dial.
From a distance, there’s no doubt it catches the eye. And, at £5,900 a pop, it is priced fairly, and I, for one, am over the moon that it’s back and look forward to spotting them on wrists this summer.
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