The design alone was destined to set new standards. The watch world had never seen a dial as modern, as tidily comprehensible and as readily legible as the face of the Carrera. Jack Heuer, who was responsible for the model’s design, relied on minimalism to achieve this clarity. “We eliminated all inessential extra subdivisions, which resulted in a totally clear, clean and stylistically pure dial.”
Last but not least, the style that Jack Heuer conceived for the Heuer Carrera also expressed his admiration for modern design. He loved furniture by Le Corbusier and Charles Eames. He liked Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture. And he correctly anticipated that the boom in space travel would further strengthen the trend toward straightforward design.
Especially the early puristic Carrera chronographs with their twin and triple subdials rank among the most handsome watches ever built. Customers’ subsequent requests for a tachymeter scale were granted, which made the dial somewhat more crowded. But the tachymeter was soon repositioned onto the inner tension ring and the fifth-of-a-second scale retreated onto the dial.The earliest Heuer Carreras needed manual winding. An automatic caliber for chronographs was not yet available, so Jack Heuer decided to develop one. To finance the necessarily enormous investment, he joined forces with appropriate competitors such as Willy Breitling, as well as Hans Kocher, the technical director of Buren Watch S.A. and Dubois-Dépraz S.A. The Hamilton manufacturer joined this trio later. The unveiling ensued simultaneously in Geneva and New York in 1969, when the illustrious team premiered Calibre 11, the world’s first automatic chronograph movement with microrotor. This pioneering achievement paved the way toward a bright future for Heuer’s chronographs – first and foremost the Carrera – for everyday use and motorsport.
The Carrera’s first collection was already a worldwide success. By the mid 1960s, the catalogue already included the Carrera 12, Carrera 45, Carrera Tachy, Carrera Deci and Carrera Black models. A world premiere followed in the mid 1970s with the debut of the first chronograph hosting a digital date display on a printed ring.