By Kien Lee
Since the launch of the Skipper by Heuer in 1968, the watch has seen several iterations until its final production in 1983. Once a familiar sight on the wrists of professional and amateur sailors alike, TAG Heuer now reveals its comeback 40 years later.
Near the end of its first run, the Skipper utilised the Autavia case, which were in its short production, based on the celebrated Carrera chronograph.
Tapping on this 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.
Without a bezel, the glassbox presentation extends to the edge of the case, paired with an ingenious ‘curved flange’ dial and the perfectly placed chronograph counters, the new Carrera Skipper provides maximum legibility.
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, along with a high-end, resistant textile strap.
Aesthetically, it brings to mind the unique and unmissable look of the original model that was born from Jack Heuer’s involvement with the world’s most historic yacht race – the America’s Cup.
The relationship with Abercrombie and Fitch was two decades old by the late 1960s, and it was Jack Heuer’s close friendship with the retailer’s president Walter Haynes that led to Heuer the brand becoming the official timing partner of the America’s Cup boat ‘Intrepid’ – the 12-metre U.S. yacht that was to defend the trophy for the New York Yacht Club against Dame Pattie, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s challenger.
For the 1967 America’s Cup match, Heuer provided Intrepid with a set of hand-held yachting stop watches and equipped her crew with Aquastar wrist watches featuring an ingenious countdown timer comprising a red and white disc that rotated behind a series of five holes.
Intrepid went on to win the event by a decisive four races to nil – to celebrate this occasion, Heuer produced the Skipper chronograph with a 30-minute subdial that was adapted to count-down the 15-minute regatta ‘pre-start in three, five-minute segments.
Each of these segments was a different colour, with vivid orange being used to alert the crew to the fact that there was just five minutes to go; green to represent the colour of the boat’s rigging and light teal to replicate the colour of Intrepid’s deck.
The new TAG Heuer 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.
The new Carrera Skipper joins TAG Heuer's core collection and will serve as the ‘flagship’ for a whole series of further maritime models that will mark TAG Heuer’s return to the world of yachts and yachting.