TAG Heuer McLaren F1 Watch

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   8 September 2010   |   14 Comments  

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 Car

The McLaren F1 is regarded as the purest supercar ever built. Maybe not the fastest, maybe not the rarest (although is very, very rare and very, very fast!), but the purest. And that is down to the vision of Gordon Murray, the genius behind McLaren’s Formula 1 race cars who migrated to the road car side of the business in early 1990s.

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

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.

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