TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph hands on – quirky watchmaking done right

If you want a chronograph which goes against the grain while still looking classy, this is the one to pick

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph on a white background
(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

While I've always loved the best watches, they're rarely mould-breakers. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak moving into mainstream consciousness is about as daring as most will get.

Me? I've always enjoyed something a bit more quirky. The Hamilton Ventura excites me thoroughly. Give me a triangle where most would have a round dial any day.

Enter the new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph. This is the quirky watch for boring watch collectors – if you're the kind of collector who spends an hour each morning deciding between your duo of black Rolex Submariners, this is going to feel like a whole new world.

Even before I saw it in the flesh, I was intrigued by this model. I've already dubbed it the Mike Wazowski – green, with one eye – but there's a lot more than a daft nickname to like here. On paper, it's a really top pick, sitting in a 39mm case and powered by a TH20 series movement.

It's not just a watch for nerds, though. In fact, the design here is arguably the better bit. That green dial is simply stunning. Add in a lopsided subdial arrangement and this was always going to take my fancy.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph on a white background

(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

Seeing it in the flesh took it to another level, though. For starters, if you think that green is good in the press images, just wait until you see it first hand. The dial shines like a fine emerald, and really does morph in the changing light.

The asymmetrical dial has the potential to put some users off, but you really shouldn't let it. On the wrist, I didn't even notice it, with the whole dial feeling really well balanced.

For me, this is one of the nicest chronograph implementations out there. Like most watch enthusiasts, I never use the chronograph function. I don't have to time racing laps, so it's really just a nice little quirk. That does make it a little silly to fill the dial with things we just aren't using.

Here, though, there's only a single subdial – Seiko Pogue style, if that's your bag. Think of it more like a nice dress watch with a subdial you probably won't ever use. Oh, and a date window on the other side.

For me, at just £6,000, that's a remarkable offering. Sure, it's not ultra cheap, but it's good for an in-house chronograph. Plus, it's a lot more interesting than the majority of watches out there. And that's worth its weight in gold.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.