TAG Heuer Carrera Muhammad Ali WAR2A13 & WAR2A11 review
We’re finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel guys! Since the infamous 23rd March we’ve all lost track of what day it is, practically lived in our sweat pants and definitely spent too much time sunbathing in the garden. Its safe to say that we have certainly gone the whole 12 rounds with this one.
And with that boxing pun thrown in there it’s my pleasure to share with you today the absolutely KNOCKOUT piece that is the TAG Heuer Carrera Muhammad Ali WAR2A13.
The first variant of this watch was actually the WAR2A11 which was released in 2016 as a special edition piece. It wasn’t until later on in 2017 that Tag released the second version, the WAR2A13. So what the difference you ask, well the only real differences between the two are the colours and numbering.
The WAR2A11 features a black dial and black leather strap. It was classed only as a “special edition” piece which meant that it was not an engraved, numbered limited edition item. However, it is still technically a limited piece due to the fact that Tag only produced a certain amount of these watches depending on how many were ordered by AD’s.
The WAR2A13 on the other hand features a blue dial and is often seen on a blue leather strap. Although, there are versions of this watch floating around with the black leather strap and steel strap. Unlike the WAR2A11, this watch is actually classed as an official “limited edition” piece as Tag only produced 1000. Each watch is engraved with its limited edition number on the caseback. Quite strange considering that both of these watches launched with the same £2500 price tag.
But enough of that, lets get to what we all came for and take a deeper look into this beauty!
DIAL, BEZEL & CASE
Without a doubt the Ali watches draw their core aesthetic inspiration from the 1957 Heuer Ring Master, along with a good dose of the 2014 Carrera Drive Timer. When we combine the two its clear to see that we get the Ali watch as the lovechild.
Straight away we notice that beautifully modernised “ring master” style dial that packs an absolute punch and gives the watch a unique personality.
Although there is quite a lot going on with this dial Tag have done a superb job of balancing it all out to make the watch look and feel quite sleek and simplistic when on the wrist. This is partly owed to the vast Prussian blue space in the centre ring of the dial that allows your eyes that break from all of the features gathered towards the outer rings of the watch.
Those generously sized white numerals also help to divert our attention away from everything else going on with the watch and brings our attention back to the basic time telling fundamentals of the watch. The same can also be said for the sleek looking hands. The crisp white dash that cuts through the pencil styled minute and hour hands really provides them with that much needed contrast to cut through the rest of the dial whilst still keeping a degree of elegance. This white colouring on the numerals and larger hands is treated with a bright lime green Luminova to help read the watch in the dark.
The date window is also very well placed so that it doesn’t look awkward on the dial and again helps to give the dial a more aligned look. To top it off the addition of the Muhammad Ali signature just completes the overall personality of this watch.
As for the colour scheme of the dial, I absolutely love it. The vibrant red on the outmost ring really bring this watch to life. After all, it’s not too often that we get to see much use of red on dials. The duck egg coloured mid ring is also another rarely featured colour which is nice to see. As for the Prussian blue centre ring, it really does complete the colour scheme and keeps everything in balance.
But what’s the significance of having different coloured rings? I hear you ask. Well, as this is a boxing themed watch, they are there to time boxing rounds. The red and black patterned ring are calibrated to time traditional heavyweight boxing matches that traditionally consisted of 15 rounds lasting 3 minutes each, with a 1 minute break at the end of every round. Whereas the duck egg and black pattern on the mid ring is used to time the shorter armature and women’s boxing matches. So how do we actually use it? This is where the Drive Timer inspiration really comes into play. The DT inspired crown at the 10 o’clock position is used to rotate the red ring. We simply align the start of the first boxing round with the minute hand in order to accurately time each round. The mid ring however is a fixed piece.
Drawing on that Drive Timer inspiration, we can easily see how the DT and Carrera DNA has been built into the case and bezel design. The super polished shine and elegantly sharp shaping of the lugs gives this watch a real touch of class. The long, protruding lugs do give the watch quite a longer feel but not in the way that the watch feels bulky and monstrous on the wrist. This is owed to the strict tapering of the lugs that brings some of that slimness back into the watch.
CROWN & CASEBACK
We have two crowns on this watch which makes it one of the more unique looking Tag Heuer watches out there. The first is the traditional crown that is used for winding, time and date setting. Whereas the second is for rotation of the inner bezel as previously mentioned
Both look very at home upon the watch and are definitely in-keeping with the typical design of the Carrera line. Both are engraved with the Tag shield logo, albeit one being skeletonised and the other being filled in. Both of which are riveted to give that extra grip assistance.
I particularly like how the 10 o’clock crown has the thin red band circling it to really tie it in with the overall colour scheme of the watch and really make it apart of the watch.
As for the caseback, Tag have again gone the distance to make it special by etching in a portrait of Muhammad Ali etched in, along with the abbreviated signature and limited edition marker.
STRAP & CLASP
Previously mentioned, the strap for this watch can be interchanged for either the leather (black or blue) or steel strap. As the WAR2A13 we have in stock right now is equipped with the blue leather strap, this will be the one that I stick to reviewing in this blog.
The Prussian blue top side and vibrant red underside of the strap do a fabulous job working collectively to bring the overall look of the watch together very nicely. The blue somewhat reduces the flashiness of the polished steel to the point where the steel becomes appreciative rather than in your face. We had a stainless steel strapped version of this watch in stock previously and as nice as it was I just felt as though it took away from the beauty of the dial and made the watch too flashy. For me personally the colour coordinated straps are the way to go.
The strap is super easy to adjust as its fitted with a sturdy stainless steel deployment buckle that you simply slide along the strap to get your desired fit. It is also perforated to allow for more cooling to the wrist and quicker drying of the strap.
As for durability, it is fairly durable but prone to forming wrinkles and cracks simply due to the nature of the strap itself. It definitely isn’t as durable as some of the other leather Tag straps out there such as the David Guetta strap for example. Nevertheless, the strap still does a good job of holding up and feels good against the skin.
Weighing in at a large 43mm diameter, the watch is technically leaning more towards the heavyweight league. However, it really doesn’t feel this way on the wrist. As previously mentioned, those protruding lugs make the watch feel slightly elongated on the wrist and cause a fair gap between the watch and the strap, giving a more rectangular look to the watch but this is somewhat minor.
For a 43mm watch, the Ali does a superb job of remaining sleek on the wrist. Like all top athletes, we have no “fat butt” syndrome with this watch at all. The caseback sits very flush, barely any protrusion off the wrist at all. The 12mm thickness gives the watch a standard side-on profile too helping to stop the watch from feeling and looking bulky on the wrist.
With a 22mm lug width the strap helps to narrow down the size of the watch a bit more and help to keep that sleek look. As for the finer details, like most standard Carreras, the watch is waterproofed to 100m and houses a well-made automatic Calibre 5.
So what’s the verdict?
It’s a unanimous decision from all judges here that this piece is by far an absolute winner. If you want something that gives a whole new meaning to float like a butterfly, stings like a bee then this is definitely the choice for you. I can honestly say that this is by far the most complimented watch that we have ever stocked.
P.S. if you enjoyed this blog and want to see a closer, more hands on view of the watch please check out our video here.