For movie lovers, every generation offers up a new take on the manly action star. In the ’60s and ’70s, we had strong, silent types like Steve McQueen. In the ’80s we had muscle-bound, monosyllabic anti-heroes played by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Today the he-men of the Marvel Universe are handsome fast talkers that would not sound too out of place bantering in a Noël Coward play (albeit one where a lot of stuff gets blown up).
The chiseled Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the Avengers franchise, is one example of the modern masculinity. Hemsworth’s heroes are more psychologically complex than McQueen’s roles in Bullitt orThe Great Escape, yet the protagonists that he portrays are still descended from the same school of cool. He also shares an affinity for TAG Heuer timepieces with McQueen (who will forever be linked to the iconic Monaco 1133, which he wore in the 1971 film LeMans).
We spied Hemsworth earlier this month in Sydney sporting the new TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 Chronograph. Despite carrying the historic Carrera name, almost everything about this watch is different from the rest of the manufacture’s offerings. First off, there’s the design. At 45mm, the long, angular lugs on this big boy stand apart from the rest of the TAG family. And the way that the white and red luminescent markers and bold, red chronograph hands stand out against the black, open work dial gives it a bold, graphic look.
Next is the construction. Just as characters like Thor can pop in and out of any film set in the Marvel universe, the Heuer 01 has a modular design, so that different styles, colors and materials can be used to customize the watch. At the moment, you can choose brushed steel lugs with black titanium carbide coated end-pieces, a black titanium carbide coated steel middle case, a grey or black titanium carbide coated steel bezel and a black titanium carbide coated steel or sapphire case-back.
We’d choose the sapphire option so that we could more easily admire the equally polished finishes of the movement. The automatic chronograph mechanism is called the Heuer 01 in honor of the company’s founder, Edouard Heuer. And the movement is based on his caliber 1887 but with a redesigned rotor (coated in black), a column wheel (painted red not blued like in the 1887) and a different chronograph bridge.
And while the Heuer 01 is descended from TAG’s McQueen-era heyday, there’s very little other nostalgia in this watch. Like Hemsworth, TAG’s newest action star is meant appeal to millennials who are looking forward, not looking back.