Once enough collectors discover a vintage reference, prices can really drive up as their collectability rises. Due to the age of a watch, and how perspective has shifted on how to appropriately maintain or service a watch, the available number of collector-grade condition replica watches for sale can be rare. One such coveted, historic, and rare watch is the cheap fake TAG Heuer ‘Skipper’ which has gone for as high as A$120,000 at auction. That, of course, is not in most people’s budgets. But A$9,800 just might be.
It is a fitting canvas for this heritage revival as the design framework introduced at Watches & Wonders this year does a great job of blending vintage and modern style. In a robust-elegant 39mm case, the stainless-steel perfect replica TAG Heuer carries enough of a diameter to speak to the modern marketplace without ostracising collectors with smaller wrists or who generally prefer more classic sizing. With its 100-metre water-resistant case that’s 13.9mm thick and 46mm lug-to-lug, its size caters to the majority of wrists who are eager to get in on the ‘Skipper’ party. Now, some people may more commonly think of the Skipper inside the Autavia case-style. But the reference’s origins began in 1968 – kicking off with only 300 examples made in the iconic and faceted 1:1 fake TAG Heuer Carrera case – thus why this original vintage reference is so sought after. And that is exactly what this Glassbox Carrera offers: the handsome faceted Carrera case, along with a sapphire crystal that, in a way, emulates the bubble-warping aesthetic of acrylic-crystals past.
The dial largely emulates its muse, but is by no means a 1:1 revival. With its modern movement, the Swiss movement replica TAG Heuer‘s dial has switched from a two register layout to a three register layout – and the positioning of the indications has shifted accordingly as well. Whereas the 9’ register was originally reserved for the small seconds indication, this new model hosts a Skipper-branded 12-hour elapsed-hours register at the 9’ position in a tonally matching teal hue. At 3’, however, the same tri-coloured 15-minute regatta-timer register remains – a must considering it is the most iconic signature of the reference. These two registers also introduce a step to their design adding depth, where as the vintage model had fully flat registers. At 6’, previously unused space aside from the Swiss tritium text, we now have an unbordered sector small seconds register that shares the space with a framed white on black date complication. Was the date a must-include here? I personally could have lived without it, or at least would have preferred a more colour-matched disc. I think the ultimate compromise, however, would have been a roulette date wheel of sorts, where each numeral alternates between the three colours of the regatta-timer register.
Other subtle visual deviations include black text for the 3’ and 9’ register, utilising two digits across the regatta-timer and switching 0 to 15, while the outer minutes track is not a contrasting white as seen on the vintage model and is instead a continuation of the sunburst blue. But we still have the orange central chronograph seconds hand and a sunburst finish to the dial.
Affixed to the aaa quality replica TAG Heuer is a blue fabric strap with a leather under, secured to the wrist by its branded folding clasp with double safety push buttons. While the usage of a leather under makes it a little questionable for underwater adventures – remember that 100-metre depth rating – it is definitely an appropriate combo for comfort while yacht-racing or a smart-casual dockside soiree.