If you clicked on the story hoping for some awesome shots of my hot lap in a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS, I’m sorry to tell you they don’t exist. But now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about the new 1:1 replica TAG Heuer Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche. It’s a weird but very interesting watch made to celebrate 60 years of both the Porsche 911 and the Heuer Carrera. And if that isn’t enough to keep you around, there are some more bits of info (and a brand-new car announcement) for you Porsche lovers.
I was lucky enough to be at Rennsport Reunion 7 – a massive gathering of Porsche collectors and fans held once every three-to-five years – when I got a call for a “hot lap.” Some other folks got to take their laps in the new and coveted 911 GT3 RS; I was just fine to settle into the passenger seat of the GT4 next to the pilot, Timo Bernhard, a former Porsche factory driver. I joked with him that since Romain Dumas (who was piloting another car in our hot lap group) had to put up with me for four days at the Mille Miglia earlier this year, I didn’t want him to have to suffer through two more laps. Bernhard must have drawn the short straw, I said. It was only a bit later that I realized that by riding with Bernhard, I’d ridden with two-thirds of the 2010 Le Mans-winning Audi Sport North America team. He laughed and then punched the gas. My phone barely stayed in my hands, and most of the videos I took were rough, to say the least.
So let’s stick with what I know: perfect replica watches. I’m a pretty newly minted “car guy,” but there are more than a few similarities between deep car and watch nerdery. Knowing all the specs or mechanics of every car (or watch) or getting under the hood is beyond my reach. There are also all the numbers and references, which can be important in understanding lineage, history, and lore but are often confusing, especially to a newbie. One thing I do know is that when the original Porsche 911 first hit the track, it did 0-100km/h in 9.1 seconds.
The GT4 is a bit quicker off the jump – 3.9 seconds total – a pretty hard gut punch of acceleration even in its luxurious and cradling bucket seats. But AAA quality replica TAG Heuer drew inspiration from that original 9.1 seconds for their new “Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche.” Press the chronograph pusher at the top right, and you get a sudden burst of acceleration from the chronograph hand as it races a third of the way around the dial in 9.1 seconds. Acceleration in a car isn’t linear. In the same way, the chronograph hand on the Chronosprint progressively slows to a crawl after that first burst. As it inches toward 55 elapsed seconds, it even looks like it might stop completely before it gets to 60 seconds and speeds up all over again.
While the new 39mm “Glassbox” cheap fake TAG Heuer Carreras have dominated this year’s market for Swiss movement copy TAG Heuer fans – that includes the updated Skipper – the new Chronosprint goes bigger. It measures 42mm by 14.9mm, including the big curved crystal that gives it the “Glassbox” nickname and allows you to read the indices around the flange at nearly any angle at a quick glance. That may be more useful on watches with tachymeters, but here, there’s an adjusted elapsed time scale adjusted for the strange acceleration effect of the chronograph. The larger size does seem to help with the legibility of that domed flange. So, despite generally liking a more vintage sizing, I’d say there’s a potential argument for 42mm here.
Regardless, the high quality replica Tag Heuer didn’t feel too big on my wrist. Part of “feel” is often visual bias, and the watch didn’t look that big to me and a few other people I let try it on at Rennsport. That might be helped by the fact that the new generation of crystals is more distortion-free. The stark silver dial on the steel model also helps with legibility. The pops of color from the subdial hands and markers meant to evoke a redline on a tachometer draw your eye just enough to keep the design interesting to keep looking at. The main unfortunate point is the inclusion of a date window at 6:00 on the dial. Not only does it break up the cleanness of the dial, but by including a date, the lower subdial can’t be sunken like those at 3:00 and 9:00.
The movement is really the interesting part here. The automatic caliber TH20-08 has hours, minutes, seconds, and yes, the date. But how did top quality replica TAG Heuer make the chronograph run in such a strange way? My gut reaction was a snail cam. If the chronograph is functioning strangely by design, it’s almost always a snail cam. And sure enough, there are actually two snail-shaped wheels, creating the decelerating motion for the central hand.