TAG Heuer’s decades-long history in sports timing has encompassed everything from motor racing to skiing and from horse racing to the many disciplines of the Olympic Games.
But it is the fiercely competitive world of high-level yachting that resulted in one its best-loved and most distinctive chronographs: the brightly coloured and instantly recognisable ‘Skipper’.
Made in various series from the original version of 1968 to the final full production model of 1983, the Skipper was once a familiar sight on the wrists of professional and amateur sailors alike – and now, exactly 40 years after it disappeared from the TAG Heuer catalogue, the beloved Skipper is back.
Although later versions of the Skipper used the Autavia case, the very first examples (of which only around 300 were made) were based on the celebrated Carrera chronograph.
In keeping with that important aspect of TAG Heuer’s sailing heritage, the new generation Skipper is derived from the recently-launched ‘glassbox’ Carrera, the design of which lends itself perfectly to the creation of a sailing watch that is both good-looking and practical.
Due to its lack of bezel, the way the glassbox extends to the very edge of the case, the ingenious ‘curved flange’ dial and the perfectly placed chronograph counters, the Carrera Skipper is superbly legible in all conditions.
Such a high degree of legibility is especially important when a boat is bobbing on the water during the crucial regatta ‘pre-start’ period before the gun is fired to signal the off.
The new Skipper also gets the Carrera’s robust yet elegant 39mm diameter case, the latest TH20-06 movement with bi-directional winding, an 80-hour power reserve - and, of course, a high-end, resistant textile strap.
But while the 21st century Skipper is technically bang up to date, it owes its unique and unmissable look to the original model that was born from Jack Heuer’s involvement with the world’s most historic yacht race – the America’s Cup.
The new Skipper revisits that distinctive and colourful livery, with a circular brushed main dial in Carrera signature blue (a tone initially inspired by the sea) and sharply contrasting sub-dials – the 12-hour counter being ‘Intrepid Teal’ and the 15-minute regatta counter having segments in Intrepid teal, Lagoon Green and Regatta Orange.
Other features drawn from the historic watch include the prominent, triangle shaped markers positioned at five- minute intervals around the outer curved flange, the bright orange central seconds hand and the inclusion of the ‘Skipper’ name at the base of the 12-hour counter.