A few months ago, I posted an article on the series of watches that TAG Heuer had released in partnership with the McLaren Formula 1 team.
Several helpful readers pointed out that while the article captured all the Formula 1 linked watches, it missed perhaps the rarest of them all- the TAG Heuer 6000 Chronometer that was given to the 64 owners of the McLaren F1 road car.
Given the fantastic insight and information in the comments posted by Shelton, Erik and Justin, I thought that it was worth summarising their key points into a single post about this rare watch. There were in fact two versions of this watch produced, one of which has never been seen for re-sale since its release 17 years ago.
The story goes that Murray first had the idea for the F1 when he was on a plane returning from the 1988 Italian Grand Prix, a race famous for being the first Grand Prix held after the death of Enzo Ferrari. Up until that point, the McLaren MP4/4 of Senna and Prost had won every one of the previous 11 races. With two laps to go Senna was in the lead and looked certain to win when he crashed into the Williams of Jean-Louis Schlesser while coming up to lap the Frenchman.
The Ferrari’s of Berger and Alboreto swept past to take a 1-2 finish as a final gift to the Old Man. Perhaps it was seeing the hysteria that followed that inspired Murray to create the ultimate road car, maybe to tap into the amazing emotion and love that people have for Ferrari.
The McLaren F1 was launched in 1993 to instant acclaim- although the economic times and the astronomic price of the car meant that only 64 road cars would ever be built.
The McLaren F1 had no optional extras, but buyers did get two presents with the car: a set of golf clubs designed to fit in the car and a watch.
The watch was a special edition TAG Heuer 6000. That a TAG Heuer was chosen is no surprise, not just because of the fact that TAG Heuer was a sponsor of the McLaren F1 team, but also because Ron Dennis was a major shareholder in TAG Heuer itself.
The F1 6000 had a silver dial with applied hour markers and a distinctive leather braided strap. At the bottom lug is the lettering “F1” with “V12” written underneath. The markings “F1/V12″ are identical to the lettering on the steering wheel and/or the signed placard found just below the gear shift panel on the right hand side of the driver’s seat.
Because McLaren did not end up selling as many F1’s as expected, TAG Heuer were left with some spare watches, which it modified and gave or sold to employees or customers. The differences between these two versions are detailed below.
Version 1: Owners Watch
The version of the watch that was given to owners has the script “McLaren Cars” followed by the Chassis Number below the centre stem, as you can see on this example below.
Version 2: Non-Owners Watch
The non-owner version of the watch is identical except for the writing on the dial, which reads:
This version of the watch has the reference number WH5214.FC6031- although I’m not sure whether this is different to the owners version. My thanks to Levente Kovacs for these awesome photos.
TAG Heuer will produce a new watch for owners of the MP4-12C car due to be released next year, which you can read more about here. It would be great to get some shots of the Owners version of the original F1 watch to go with the new MP4-12C watch…so, if anyone is one of the 64 lucky souls who has a McLaren F1 and you’re reading this from your underground lair or yacht, please get the cabin boy to fetch the watch from the glovebox and send in some photos.
Owners watch: Aaron Bhatnagar
Non-owners watch: Levente Kovacs