TAG Heuer are really doing it for the fans with this new release. The historic and rare TAG Heuer “Skipper” has been out of production for 40 years with collector-grade pieces going for as much as $120,000 AUD at auction. Not exactly pocket change for most people, but with the new reissue priced at $9,800 AUD, more people than ever can grab one of these.
If the name didn’t tip you off, the Skipper’s story starts with yachting. Due to Jack Heuer’s relationship with Abercrombie & Fitch president, Walter Haynes, Heuer became the official timing partner of the America’s Cup boat Intrepid who won the race in 1967.
The Intrepid is known for its distinct blue colouring on the deck, at least horological fans know it for that. The reason for that is the original Skipper ref. 7754 took literal paint chips from the deck to ensure the subdials matched it.
The Skipper was first produced in 1968 with 300 models in Carrera cases before shifting to the Autavia case before production stopped entirely in 1983.
The New Skipper
The new Skipper sticks to the original Carrera case though it is more in line with modern dimensions taking after the recent “glassbox” Carrera. That means a 39mm case, which is larger than the classic but not so large as to dissuade those with smaller wrists. Other measurements include 13.9mm in height and 46mm lug-to-lug.
The dial isn’t a one-to-one recreation especially as the modern TH20-06 movement allows a switch from a two register layout to a three register layout. Originally, the 9 o’clock subdial was a small seconds indication, now it hosts the 12-hour elapsed hours register. The 3 o’clock subdial remains the same tri-coloured 15-minute regatta-timer register. These two subdials have been updated with added depth rather than the fully flat registers on the original.
At 6 o’clock a new unbordered sector small seconds register was added that shares the previously unused space with a black date window.
As mentioned, the Skipper comes with a modern in-house chronograph calibre TH20-06 with an 80-hour power reserve. You can see it through the exhibition caseback. The column-wheel design ensures there is no stutter when the seconds hand starts, something essential for accurate timing.
These arrive on a blue fabric strap with a leather under secured by TAG’s branded folding clasp with double safety push buttons. Considering the 100m depth rating, the leather is a strange choice, but it would be appropriate for boating or a beachside event.
These are now available worldwide on TAG Heuer’s website for $9,800 AUD or CHF 6,600.