A Week With The TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Glassbox’
— Updated on 1 November 2023

A Week With The TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Glassbox’

— Updated on 1 November 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

The fact that, at a conservative estimate, I’ve already written about the TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Glassbox’ chronographs three times in six months (and still remain utterly intrigued by them) should probably tell you something about the direction in which this review will be trending.

Suffice to say, I recently managed to snag the variation with a black dial (a.k.a. the ‘Reverse Panda’) for a whole week’s worth of field testing; and as far as new watches in 2023 go, I remain ebullient about the Glassbox’s execution and what its implications are for the modern Carrera line-up.

Read on for our full TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox review below.

TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox review

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TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Glassbox’ Chronograph





  • True-to-size 39mm case
  • Thoughtful details
  • Incredible wrist presence


  • Date window execution
  • No integrated bracelet option
$9,350 – tagheuer.com

Table of Contents

Design – Score 24/25

TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox review
(Image Credit: @styleternity // Instagram)

Whilst there’s little need to get into a microscopic analysis of what separates this new TAG Heuer Carrera chronograph from its other modern cousins (Full Disclosure: I actually wrote a sponsored feature back in April highlighting the watch’s ‘Glassbox’ domed sapphire crystal) it behooves us to acknowledge that this is a massive departure from the design language that remains popular across the 44mm Carrera chronograph models.

When Jack Heuer unveiled the now-legendary Ref. 2447N in 1963 – the OG Carrera that kickstarted the craze for ‘gentleman racer’ type timepieces – his goal was to create the ultimate companion for competition in events like Le Mans and the titular Carrera Panamericana.

Over time, the particulars of that mission (i.e. toughness, legibility, an intuitive tachymeter scale) haven’t diminished in importance. If anything, a quick side-by-side comparison with vintage Heuer references – such as the 2447NS ‘Panda’ and 3147N ‘Dato’ – makes it clear that TAG Heuer’s watchmakers remain deeply attuned to their heritage, but there’s enough subtle variation in the expression of this awareness to keep the Glassbox from becoming derivative.

Working our way from the outside in: the chrono pushers feature a contemporary ‘mushroom’ shape, while the sleek brushed case sides of something like a 2447N have spun off into large lugs with a pronounced, sword-like flank. Although not strictly a ‘reverse panda’, the sunken registers pop against the dial’s black background surface – channelling that execution’s clean monochrome look and good visibility.

The dial too is noticeably more detail-rich than Carrera watches of the past: with all of the individual chronograph registers decorated using a spiral motif; and baton indexes that curve gently around the edges so as to mirror the Glassbox’s sloped flange.

Pictured: The new ‘Glassbox’ seen alongside a 2447N ‘Reverse Panda’ – one of the primary inspirations on this latest expression of the mainstay Carrera collection (Image Credit: vintageheuer.com)

Thus far, this is all good news for people who don’t necessarily have $25,000 to drop on an original Heuer Carrera in ‘passable’ condition; yet tangential to all this is the controversial – and I use that word loosely – decision to position the date window at 12 o’clock, astride the TAG Heuer logo.

Functionally, this means that reading the date can be difficult whenever the central chronograph hand is in its original position; but, as a number of vintage lovers have already pointed out, is also a hallmark of the 3147N models (a.k.a. the ‘Dato 12s’) made by Heuer during the 1960s.

Whether you regard this as a ‘flaw’ or a ‘quirk’ largely boils down to personal preference; and, for whatever my five cents is worth, I commend TAG Heuer for trying to add value – in the competitive space that is modern luxury watchmaking – by sweetening the Glassbox’s column wheel chronograph with another useful everyday complication.

Watchmaking – Score 23/25

(Image Credit: @styleternity // Instagram)

By now, all of the other WIS types in our office are well aware – and honestly, probably a little exhausted – by my affinity for Carole Forestier-Kasapi. In the three years that the ex-Cartier engineer has been at TAG Heuer (as the brand’s ‘Director of Movements’) her stamp has become increasingly perceptible – with the calibre TH20-00 being yet another example of that growing influence.

A refinement – as opposed to revolution – of the brand’s mainstay Heuer 02, the TH 20-00 fits neatly into the tradition of robust, reliable chronograph movements that have been powering Carrera models since day dot.

That by no means suggests Forestier-Kasapi and her watchmakers have engineered a dull movement: in fact, contemplating all the relevant considerations (especially price) the new Glassbox’s mechanical heart struck me as a piece of solid engineering.

Avoiding the temptation to change the wheel, TAG has instead focused on fine-tuning everything practical about this new family of manufacture-grade movements. In plain English: that means an 80-hour power reserve – made possible with a rotor that literally swings both ways – and the smooth stop/start action of a chronograph that uses a column wheel and vertical clutch componentry.

Wrist Factor – Score 24/25

Up until this point, I’ve talked a lot about the inspiration behind the Glassbox’s aesthetic and the fact that the TH 20-00 lives up to its brief in the most direct of ways; but if you only take one observation away with you from this hands-on review, it’s that this new TAG Heuer Carrera reaches top speed when you’ve got it on the wrist.

In much the same spirit as the original Carrera, the 39mm case wears extremely true to size; and, unlike the Glassbox with blue dial that has been doing the rounds on social media – has a distinct, vintage-inspired character that edges out the latter on personality. Thickness tops out at 13.9mm – a very agreeable measurement that lets you slide the watch under all but the most abnormally tight shirt cuffs without compromising on presence.

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Naturally, everybody’s view on colour will be (by definition) subjective; but the low-key, monochrome palette of this ‘reverse panda’ felt a bit more understated than the blue dial – a sensation I keyed on after having worn the model alongside a mixture of denim, sportcoats and moto-inspired outerwear (pictured).

Equally, comfort proved to be a huge part of the Glassbox’s enduring appeal. The watch itself is delivered to customers on a perforated rally-style strap fitted with a deployant (i.e. steel folding clasp).

Easily adjustable and with a padded shape that complements the signature domed ‘glassbox’ of the watch, the strap gave me so few practical gripes that I ended up imagining what it might look like on a bracelet – a manufactured criticism that shows off this Carrera’s potential with all manner of straps and integrated bracelets.

Verdict & Value – Score 24/25

TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox review

With its thoughtful heritage-informed details, impressively realised case size and undeniable presence on the wrist; the ‘Glassbox’ Carrera is one of this year’s new releases that I wager I’ll continue to have an inordinate amount of time for.

An object that is made up of many subtle, incrementally astute choices; it’s easy to imagine that it will win a huge cross-section of new and existing customers over to the TAG Heuer fanbase. Even if you don’t fancy yourself the typical chronograph wearer (and I, for one, certainly don’t) there is something indefinably universal about the Carrera design DNA: that aesthetic lightning in a bottle that Heuer captured 60 years ago.

At the same time, I can’t be more firm in my belief that this is not a carbon copy of the vintage Heuer chronographs everybody already knows and loves. Instead, I like to think of the Glassbox – especially in this particular colour combo – as the watch Jack Heuer would have made, were he beginning his career in 2023.

So far as symbolism goes: it’s a strong start, from a brand that has plenty left in the tank.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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