Skipper (noun): person in command of a ship; Barbie’s younger sister; TAG Heuer’s new chronograph with a fascinating history dating to the late 1960s and the America’s Cup.
TAG Heuer’s playbook has included many sports-centric watch models dedicated to motor racing, skiing, horse racing and more. And the Skipper chronograph, first introduced in 1968, had its sights on yachting. Various iterations of the Skipper debuted over the years until the final full production model of 1983. Now, forty years after it vanished from store shelves, a new generation of the Skipper is front and center, this time energized by the recently launched “glassbox” Carrera.
The Skipper’s earliest renditions were based on the well-known Carrera, while later variations took advantage of the Autavia case design. (Collectors take note: only about 300 Carrera-inspired Skipper models were produced, and some have fetched as much as $80,000 at auction, according to the brand.)
There are a lot of similarities between the historic Skipper and the just-introduced model, most noticeably in the bold color scheme of the sea-blue dial with teal, green and orange accents. Like its predecessor, the new watch is highly legible, thanks in part to its updated bezel-free design and the bold pops of color, which direct the eye to the important info this chronograph timepiece provides. In fact, the sharply contrasting sub-dials of the sailing watch – the 12-hour counter being ‘Intrepid Teal’ and the 15-minute regatta counter having segments in Intrepid teal, Lagoon Green and Regatta Orange — are inspired by the 12-meter America’s Cup boat “Intrepid” that defended the trophy for the New York Yacht Club in 1967.
The dial features a Carrera signature blue hie with a circular brushed design with three counters: the 15-minute regatta counter at 3 o’clock in teal, green and orange lacquer, the counter at 6 o’clock above the date indication that features a seconds hand on the blue-dial background, and the chronograph counter at 9’oclock in teal lacquer with “Skipper” visible in an arc at the bottom. Faceted applied indexes are accented with a touch of orange, and rhodium-plated faceted hour and minute hands are treated with white Super-LumiNova® and feature orange lacquered triangle shaped pointers that match the central seconds hand.
Inside, the in-house automatic caliber TH20-06 powers the hours, minutes, seconds, date and chronograph: 1/4 second, 15-minute counter, 12-hour counter. With a column wheel and vertical clutch architecture, this modified TH20-00 here features a 15-minute counter in lieu of the 30-minute counter. It comprises bi-directional winding and a newly designed rotor. It offers 80 hours of power reserve.
The 39mm steel case is water resistant to 100m, with a see-through caseback that provides a great view of the newly designed rotor. It is fitted on a blue fabric strap with a steel folding clasp with safety pushbuttons. The watch is priced at $6,750 and comes with a travel pouch.