We don’t think too many of you will be surprised to hear that here at HODINKEE, we love vintage chronographs. Of all the periods in chronograph design, we think the 1960s were especially rich, with a wide range of watches with colorful, even daring, dial designs, which at the same time retained the elegant case proportions of earlier decades. In that spirit, today we’re proud to announce that we’re introducing a revival of one of our favorite chronographs of all time – in partnership with TAG Heuer. Say hello to the TAG Heuer Limited Edition Carrera Skipper for HODINKEE.
The Origins Of The Heuer Skipper
Thanks to the research efforts on the part of the Heuer collector community, there’s a tremendous amount we know about the Heuer Carrera, and here at HODINKEE, we’ve made our own contributions, including an in-depth look at the origins of the very first Carrera. While these first examples were released in 1963, there was one very special example that was designed and introduced exactly 50 years ago this year.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Skipper reference 7754 is one of the rarest Heuers ever made, with only around 20 pieces known to the market.
In 1967, the America’s Cup was won by a remarkable yacht: the groundbreaking Intrepid. Heuer decided to celebrate the occasion by creating the Heuer Carrera Skipper reference 7754, which is now considered one of the most collectible vintage Heuers in the world. Designed in 1967 and first released in 1968, the Skipper remained in production with Heuer for the next 10 years, with a succession of different cases taken from either the Carrera or the Autavia, but always retaining the outstanding legibility and durability necessary for a regatta timer.
To say that the original Carrera Skipper reference 7754 is rare is, to put it mildly, an understatement – fewer than 20 are thought to have been made and only a dozen are still known to exist today, in varying condition. The watch was so elusive that up until its existence was finally officially confirmed in 2008, collectors and Heuer scholars enthusiastically debated whether the watch had ever existed at all.
The original Skipper 7754 is a watch you rarely see. It’s also a watch you won’t easily forget, thanks to its bold use of color: light green, dark blue, and bright orange are all present. These colors weren’t chosen just because they were eye-catching; the color palette was actually taken from the color scheme of Intrepid, as we discovered when we photographed the original Skipper 7754 and the new limited edition together on the deck of this groundbreaking yacht.
Intrepid was designed by the renowned Olin Stephens, who was the original designer of an astonishing six out of seven America’s Cup defenders between 1958 and 1959. Stephens incorporated a number of then-revolutionary innovations, including making the rudder separate from the keel and a more efficient sail design. An interesting historical note: the light green of the regatta timer dial matches the deck color of Intrepid, which was chosen after a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology determined this was the the color least likely to produce distracting reflections.
Inspiration, Not Imitation
In thinking of which watch to look to for inspiration for a limited edition with TAG Heuer, we knew the Skipper would play a role. But we didn’t want to simply reproduce the original. Our new Skipper is not a carbon copy of the “Skipperera” (as the reference 7754 is known to collectors) but rather, a modern interpretation, incorporating our favorite design elements.
First, the iconic faceted lugs of the Carrera case (perhaps its most distinctive design feature) are still there, thanks to the modern “Glassbox” case, which has a domed sapphire crystal that allowed us to re-create the profile of the plexiglass used in vintage models. We also took great pains to ensure that the distinctive color combination of the original was preserved (and went through an impressive number of dial prototypes in the process).
But we weren’t inspired by just the Skipperera. We also took on the challenge of including a date window, and we did so by paying homage to another one of Heuer’s most daring creations of the period – the reference 3147, or as it was called, the “Dato 45.” A date on a chronograph seems commonplace now, but in the 1960s, it was a risky design innovation and the 3147 is now a cult classic among vintage Heuer collectors.
Using the current production TAG Heuer caliber 18 allowed us to offer the “cyclops” look (here referring not to the use of a date magnifier, but rather to the presence of a single sub-dial) in combination with the bold colors of the Skipper. The chronograph minutes register is divided into 10 minute intervals by the three color sectors, echoing the design of the original reference 7754; 10 minute countdowns are a common feature of many modern regattas.
The result is one of the coolest chronographs we’ve ever seen, and, we think, likely close to what Jack Heuer himself might have offered to the winner of the America’s Cup this year (if each boat didn’t already have its fair share of sponsors!). Now let’s get down the details.
The Particulars Of A Particular Chronograph
Visually, the new Skipper is very much a 7754 meets a 3147. The date register is now at 3:00, rather than at the 9:00 position (as was the case with the “Dato 45” reference 3147) and the chronograph register now counts 30 rather than 15 minutes.
The case is now 39mm instead of the 35mm of the original Skipper, and features pump pushers, and a domed sapphire crystal that TAG Heuer calls the “Glassbox.” The lug width is 19mm. The caliber 18 chronograph movement is self-winding, features a quick-set date, and beats at 4 Hz with a 40-hour power reserve. The chronograph module was provided by Dubois-Depraz and was specially modified by TAG Heuer in order to revive the “Dato” configuration; this module has never been used before.
The TAG Heuer Limited Edition Carrera Skipper is water resistant to 100 meters although, of course, during a regatta one should do one’s best to remain above the water!
Finally, on the crown, dial, buckle, and box, you won’t find the word “TAG” – instead, you’ll only see “Heuer,” as is the practice with the line’s historical models – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Availability And Pricing
The TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper is limited to 125 pieces, each numbered “XXX/125” on the caseback. Each watch will be offered with three complimentary straps: one TAG Heuer blue leather strap with Heuer-signed deployant clasp, one grey NATO, and one orange NATO. The retail price will be $5,900 and the watch is available exclusively in the HODINKEE Shop.
An additional HODINKEE Aged Moss Green Leather Strap is available at a reduced price of $95 (normally $155) with purchase of the Skipper, and will be fitted with a Heuer-signed tang buckle. The discount will be applied at checkout. Click here to reserve your watch.
Come To Our Launch Party In New York City (And Pick Up Your Watch In Person)
This evening we’re going to be hosting a little get-together with TAG Heuer in New York City to celebrate this special watch. If you purchase one of the pieces, you can come pick it up in person. Please note that if you pick up in person and did not pay sales tax based on your billing address, we must charge applicable New York sales tax. Space is limited, and priority will go to those picking up watches, but we’re holding a handful of spots for other folks who just want to have a drink and say hello.
Email email@example.com to reserve a spot and get all the details; if you’d like to pick up your watch in person, please mention this in your email as well. Please note, the event is 21+ and we will be checking IDs at the door. More importantly, an original Carrera Skipper reference 7754 will be among the guests; it is directly coming from the TAG Heuer Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds and looks absolutely amazing. Hope to see you tonight!
TAG Heuer Limited Edition Carrera Skipper For HODINKEE Gallery