TAG Heuer F1 1-WM

2011 Formula 1 & Geneva Wrap

While the headline of TAG Heuer’s pre-Basel releases was the Carrera Mikrograph and the Carrera MP4-12C, there was also plenty of news regarding other watches planned for 2011. In fact, the clear message that I was left with was that there will be more new models launched this year that perhaps ever before. What we’ve seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg for 2011.

Yes, there will be a new concept watch shown at Basel in March- no hints on what that might be yet- but there is also plenty of action across the rest of the range.

So, here is the wrap-up from Geneva, including some photos of new 2011 Formula 1 models, some early information on the new Link series from Jean-Christophe Babin and a few photos of some of  the Formula 1 cars on display.

2011 Formula 1

The first of the 2011 Formula 1 watches shown at Geneva was the Formula 1 Lady Steel and Ceramic Chronograph, essentially a Chronograph version of the already popular Ceramic Lady Formula 1 series. There will be three versions available in both black and white. The first version is the plain Steel and Ceramic (see the black watch second below), the second is the Diamond-dial version (the white watch below) and finally at the top of the line is the Diamond dial with a Diamond bezel.

Normally I’m not a fan of Chronograph watches in the smaller Ladies-sized cases, but I think that the Formula 1 Chronograph actually looks quite good- especially in white. I understand that TAG Heuer are very happy with the Steel and Ceramic versions, and I still wonder when we’ll see  the combination used on a men’s watch.

There were three new Formula 1 men’s models on display- the Grand Date in orange (44mm- see below), The Orange Formula 1 watch (41mm case, second photo below) and finally a new Calibre S model (44mm case), that offers 1/100th second accuracy. The Calibre S model is styled along the same theme as the Monaco Twenty-Four, with the “24” number at the 12 o’clock position and the Gulf- inspired stripes.

Interview with Jean-Christoph Babin

Many of the key points from my interview with CEO Jean Christophe Babin have already been included in the posts on the Carrera 1887, Carrera Mikrograph and the Carrera MP4-12C. But there were some other topics covered which provided some interesting insights:

On The trend away from Quartz…

I have to say that Quartz has a long life ahead, below USD1000, but it becomes quite challenging with mens’ watches above say USD1500- and in between these points it’s a grey zone. So, yes the steady trend is that above USD1500, men are valuing mechanic over quartz.

It’s quite different for Ladies, even though we see the same trend coming. Many Ladies watches are gifted by Men, and so as Men value mechanical watches more, they will seek out the same for their gift. But Ladies when they buy for themselves usually prefer quartz.

But the demand for mechanical watches overall is a deep industry structural trend driven by consumers”

Why there were no Link Series watches on display in Geneva…

“Yes, and that’s on purpose, because we can’t broadcast too many messages at the same time. Bu the Link series is more alive than ever, and together with the Carrera and Aquaracer it’s one of the three pillars worldwide in terms of volumes and sales. It’s very popular in the US, Japan and it’s our best seller in China- so it’s a major series for us.

Last time it was updated was 2004/ 5, so you can imagine that we’ll update it again fairly soon. Today we are selling the third generation Link design and we’re working right now on the fourth, which could be released anywhere from Fall 2011 to mid-2012 latest.

But like we do with the Aquaracer, it will be a gentle change- not a revolution. It’s an icon that has proved successful over the last 24 years, so we won’t change it too much. Probably as usual, each component will be new and different, but the overall look will still focus on that mix of sports and elegance”.

When the Calibre 1887 will be offered in other Series…

“At the moment, demand is so strong for the Carrera, that even if we wanted to offer the 1887 in other watches, we can’t. So until we can meet the demand for the Carrera 1887 we shouldn’t divert the movement into other cases, because then we create two problems instead of one. Already today we have an issue: yes, it’s good to be desired and for high demand and its OK to wait a bit for a watch that you desire- but you can’t wait a year either”.

On Replacing the Aquagraph…

“Well, to us the Aquaracer 500m is taking over the role of the Aquagraph, but with the benefit of being a Chronograph and a watch. The Aquagraph was a great piece with one limitation that we kept hearing from the Dealers: the lack of a date. OK, on a functional diving watch it’s not crucial to know the date, but the watch was being sold to people who liked multiple functions on a watch and they wanted the date.

So we see the Aquaracer 500m as the evolution of the Aquagraph- its borrows the same bracelet- but now offered as a Chronograph or a watch and now with the date.”

Mastering Time Exhibition

Apart from the watches, TAG Heuer also brough together a dozen or so racing cars from different eras as part of their Geneva show. 2011 is the year of Motor sport for TAG Heuer, with this years theme being “Mastering Time”. Not surprisingly, McLaren dominated the display, with cars including Ayrton Senna’s championship winning 1990 McLaren-Honda, Mika Hakkinen’s McLaren-Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s 2009 car.

Also on display was the Ferrari 312T, which featured the famous Heuer logo on the front of the car. Again it reminded me that while today’s Formula 1 sponsorship focuses on drivers and teams, it’s such a shame that there are no TAG Heuer logo’s featured on modern F1 McLaren’s. Yes, I’m sure that it’s a lot more expensive to get your sticker on the car itself, but nothing is as iconic as seeing the Heuer or TAG Heuer logo on the great old cars themselves, rather than just being a strategic partner of the teams.

So that was the best of the Geneva “Pre-Basel” show, and given that Basel itself is only 5 weeks away, there will be a lot more 2011 news coming soon.

 

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  • Jmash77

    Thanks for the report DC, sounds like it was a good show. I really like the look of the look of that Formula 1 Calibre S, was there any info on pricing?

  • Justin Chang

    Good read as always DC! Rather envious of you – would have loved to see both the MP4/5B and 312T in person…

    It's interesting to see TAG have used the Silverstone hands on their Formula 1 Calibre S. For a modern design watch, the Silverstone's hands seem rather at home on the Calibre S's dial.

    Seeing Senna's name has prompted me to ask a question – 'Will TAG Heuer release another line of Senna watches?'

  • DC

    Thanks Justin,

    Sadly the Senna name has gone across to Hublot. Wait until the Senna movie comes out this year- his legend will go the next level and TAG Heuer should be trying to get his image back as an ambassador…after all, he actually did wear the watches!

    dc

  • Justin Chang

    DC, thanks for the info. Didnt know Hublot picked up his name for their watches…

    TAG need him back as an ambassador as you're absolutely right in saying his name and fame will be elevated to the next level when the movie/documentary hits the big screen!

    May his name never be forgotten…

  • DC

    Yes, they did Sadly. Obviously, Senna had nothing to do with Hublot while he was alive…TAG Heuer need to get him back.

    dc

  • DB10

    Hi David, is the Orange F1 predominantly blue or black? Either it's this PC or I'm going colour blind!

  • DC

    DB10, its black.

    There is nothing more frustrating as going to one of these watch shows and having to take photos through display case glass- especially when there are bright fluro lights pointed at the watches. It makes it very tough to get the colour balance right.

    dc

  • DB10

    Thanks DC. Shame, I was hoping it was blue and orange.

    Keep up the good work. My favourite website!

  • tman

    Another good article ..thanks cal 11

    I am fan of ladies Tag F1 (and f1 family in general), but never bought one for my partner because she prefers something a bit dressy.

    If the author have a bit of time, could you indulge some of us F1 fans with another article dedicating to Tag F1 and outlining the evolution from the early generation to present? (If possible of course)

    Recently I bought my second F1 Tag (originally went in to the shop to look at aquaracer WAF1110 but fell in love with the F1 CAH1110)

    I know there is one article for the 1990's Tag F1 last year, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    Cheers.

  • DC

    Thanks tman,

    Yes, an article on the F1 series is on the list!

    dc