When I went in the metal with the Carrera Jack Heuer Edition, I briefly touched on the evolution of my feelings for TAG Heuer. Between the years of 2007 and 2013, I really didn’t pay much attention to the brand, although I discovered my indifference toward TAG lasted longer than it should have. So, interestingly, I’ve been reacquainting myself with TAG Heuer in reverse chronological order, from Caliber CH80 back to Caliber 16.
I’ve been developing quite an interest in the 1887 chronographs, which suffered a dramatic introduction to the market. To develop the 1887, TAG Heuer bought the rights to the patented TC87 movement platform from Seiko. TAG started with the Seiko 6S37 column wheel chronograph and heavily modified its architecture, resulting in the 1887 as we know it today. The 6S37, despite not being of Swiss origin, is still a great technical choice, especially for its ultra-efficient double pawl winding system and its reliable column-wheel chronograph mechanism. It’s not quite in-house, but respectable nonetheless and leaps-and-bounds more interesting than the brand’s ETA-based Caliber 16.
The problem is, the watch was touted as a 100% in-house movement and the brand, the CEO specifically, spent a considerable amount of effort clarifying the meaning behind the message once the community discovered the movement originated from Japan. However, TAG never really kept its relationship with Seiko a secret. Since at least 2012, they’ve been sourcing parts from Seiko to combat the restricted suppply of ETA movements.
While the Caliber 16 days were a stain on the Carrera name, the 1887 was a strong move by the brand to redeem its iconic model. Since TAG Heuer flattened the 6S37, the 1887’s polished stainless steel case could take on an appearance more reminiscent of the sizing from the 1960s. In combination with a 41mm case width, this makes for a much more wearable timepiece than the Valjoux-powered Carrera. It’s water resistant to 100m, and the caliber 1887 with its blued column wheel and decorated rotor can be seen through the sapphire exhibition case back.
The 1887 features a beautiful dial, clean and balanced all the way through. At 9 o’clock is the running seconds; 12 o’clock is home to the minutes totalizer; 6 o’clock houses the hour counter as well as a date. An applied TAG Heuer logo rests at the 3 o’clock position. The 1887 comes in two dial variations, silver or black, and either model can be had on a steel bracelet or an alligator strap with a deployant buckle.
The 1887 retails for $6,400, which feels a little steep given than TAG has announced pricing for the CH80 that was introduced this year at Baselworld. At $5,500, the CH80 will likely appear the obvious choice, but since TAG Heuer delayed the release of this new chronograph, I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the prices of either watch change upon its release.