Barbie was a global cultural phenomenon this summer, but it was also a big horological coup for TAG Heuer.
Ryan Gosling’s turn as Ken brought us plenty of delights—“I’m Just Ken,” that cursed Matchbox Twenty cover, and the phrase Mojo Dojo Casa House all spring to mind—but none tickled watch nerds’ fancy more than the scenes in which he sported three different vintage Heuer watches at once. (You’d think he would’ve strapped a simple, pink Carrera on his wrist and called it a day, but as Ken grew more and more unhinged throughout the film, so did his wardrobe choices.) Though each of the vintage Heuer Carrera chronographs Ken wore has its merits, the one with the most real-world, watch-guy kudos is most definitely his ref. 1158 CHN.
Originally released in 1971, the 1158 CHN is a dual-register, automatic version of the Carrera powered by the brand’s legendary Caliber 12 movement—the second generation of one of the world’s first automatic chronograph movements. It’s because of the Caliber 12’s unique architecture that the watch’s winding crown is present on the left side of the C-shaped case, making the model easy to spot in a lineup. Beyond its largely conventional 12-hour counter, a 30-minute counter, and date window at 6 o’clock, the ref. 1158 CHN’s most notable feature is its case material: It’s made of solid gold, with Ken’s version even sporting a matching gold Milanese bracelet.
Given to Ferrari Formula 1 team drivers between 1971 and 1978, the 1158 CHN is said to be one of former Heuer CEO (and Carrera model inventor) Jack Heuer’s favorite references. Meant for high-end clients, it’s also an example of the “luxurification” of the tool watch that began in the 1970s—indeed, it’s not tough to imagine someone flipping open a watch roll to reveal a Submariner ref. 1680 in yellow gold, a 1158 CHN, and the new Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act III, one alongside the other. It’s the sort of watch that says, “I’m sporty…but also fancy AF.”
Now, Gosling has taken Ken’s gold Carrera out of Barbie Land and straight into the real world. On Friday, the actor sported it at the star-studded Gucci show at Milan Fashion Week. Paired with his black leather bomber jacket and a simple white tee, the gleaming Heuer absolutely stole the show. And while the 1158 CHN oozes enough cool to elevate just about anyone’s style, nobody wears it quite like Gosling.
If you’d like to cop the look but can’t source a vintage 1158 CHN, you’re in luck: TAG Heuer makes contemporary, solid-gold versions of the Carrera that come in and out of the catalog. One of our faves? This Carrera Automatic Chronograph in 3N Gold. Measuring 42mm and sporting a black dial, it’s not a perfect analog for Gosling’s watch—but it’s got more than enough Kenergy to last you a lifetime.