One thing’s for sure: there’s never been a better time be a guy who’s into vintage luxury replica watches, who also has a terrifyingly large amount of disposable income.
Watch auctions have hit record numbers, vintage resale sites are going great guns and for certain brands, wastchbuying ‘pre-loved’ (and premium-priced) is now the only point of entry.
Whether by demand or design, you won’t find 2023 stock of those Swiss made fake watches for love or money.
Tag Heuer has never been in the top-tier of Most Expensive Watches Sold at Auction. (FYI, that official list, counting down from 10, runs Patek Philippe, Patek Philippe, Patek Philippe, Patek Philippe, Patek Philippe, Patek Philippe, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Patek Philippe and Patek Philippe.)
But that’s not to say it hasn’t had its moments – Exhibit A being Steve McQueen’s ‘Steve McQueen’ Monaco watch, engraved and gifted to the actor in 1970, which went under the hammer at Phillips in New York in 2020 for $2.3m.
And there are many, many more coveted high quality TAG Heuer replica watches from the 1960s and 1970s.
One of them is a chronograph known as the ‘Skipperera’ from 1968. The pre-owned watch site Chrono24 currently has one for sale for £95,089.
With its sea-blue face, bright retro-coloured sub-dials and vintage nautical aesthetic, it is a lovely, lovely watch – it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the most lusted-after Heuer models from the era.
And at that price, who among us wouldn’t be tempted?
But wait… today Tag Heuer has announced it is rereleasing that UK perfect copy watches, with some aesthetic and technical upgrades that may actually make it more attractive. It’s certainly more affordable.
The 1968 version was the first in a line of best replica watches that ran until 1983, known as the Skipper. Created at speed to mark victory in the America’s Cup sailing competition, the original took the existing case and hands from Tag Heuer’s Carrera chronograph, and combined them with a modified movement and a new dial that reflected the era’s fondness for colourful pop design. This first Skipper became known by its portmanteau nickname, the ‘Skipperera’.
Various versions of the Skipper were made before it finally fell out of production, forty years ago. Then sometime around the mid-2000s, the original Skipperera became a hot watch – collectors started going nuts for it, stoked by its rarity. By one estimate only 200-300 were produced. When Christie’s sold one at auction for almost £48,000 in 2018 its Lot Essay put that figure significantly lower – at just 20.
This year Tag Heuer has gone big on celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of its wholesale fake TAG Heuer Carrera watches – along with the Monaco, its flagship chronograph. It has already launched several anniversary models, including a reproduction of a sought-after 1960s panda-dial model, with more to come, as well as unveiling a perfectly pitched global ad campaign starring Ryan Gosling as an errant stunt driver.
The 2023 Carreras have all benefitted from technical and aesthetic upgrades – the latter being a particular high-wire act, you mess with the classics at your peril.
It’s certainly not the first time the Carrera line has had a refresh. But the response to the 39mm anniversary models has been overwhelmingly positive – in large part down to a new way of executing the crystal so that it extends to edge of the case and curves around it, creating a larger surface area without upsizing the replica watches for sale, while generally making it very pleasing to handle and comfortable to wear.
The non-limited 2023 Skipper Carrera is based on that original 1968 ‘Skipperera’ and uses the same bezel-free ‘glassbox’ crystal, as well as some gentle design upgrades.
There are now prominent triangle-shaped markers positioned at five-minute intervals around the edge of the 1:1 super clone watches. The sub-dial design has been punched-up, the hands have been made slightly more substantial, the word ‘Skipper’ has moved to the 9 o’clock chronograph dial and a date window has been added at 6 o’clock.
The new model runs on the brand’s latest calibre TH20-06 automatic movement, with an 80-hour power reserve and bidirectional winding. It also comes on a great sailing-inspired textile strap.
The story of the Skipper dates back to 1967 with the American skipper Emil Mosbacher winning the 20th America’s Cup on Intrepid, a 12 Meter Class yacht built from double-planked mahogany on a white oak frame, that had Heuer chronographs on board.
To celebrate the victory, watch boss Jack Heuer commissioned a watch that launched the following year.
Its colours were of their time but were also a tribute to the Intrepid – a metallic blue dial with a green subsidiary seconds dial and the tri-colour mint green, light blue and orange 15-minute countdown register, mirroring the start of a regatta, when four shots are fired at 15-minute intervals, during which the yachts move into position at the starting line.
Today’s Skipper revisits those 1960s colours – though like everything else about the AAA China replica watches, it subtly updates them.
Tag Heuer is now referring to the main dial as ‘Carrera signature blue’, with the additional colours being known as ‘Lagoon Green’, ‘Regatta Orange’ and, yes, ‘Intrepid Teal’.
And very nice it is, too.