200 meters, Formula 1 grande date

Ultimate Guide to the TAG Heuer Formula 1

The TAG Heuer Formula 1 has a special place in the brand’s history, being the first watch released following the acquisition of Heuer by Techniques d’Avant Garde (“TAG”) in 1986. While Heuer had spent the late 1970s and early 1980s desperately trying to make money from mechanical watches that were designed for a very different competitive environment, the Formula 1 was a watch of its time. It was the first analogue Heuer/ TAG Heuer series to be quartz-only and to this day there has never been an automatic model.

The inspiration for the Formula 1 was the success of the Swatch watch, which had been launched at Basel in 1983. The quartz crisis of the 1970s had forced the Swiss to re-think how to engineer a watch to make money at a much lower selling price- the F1 was priced around 30-50% of the price of an Autavia.

While the F1 was not as cheap as the Swatch, it used the same ideological template: a synthetic case, bright colours, low-cost movements and simple sales packaging to try to tempt buyers back to Swiss watches. And like the Swatch, it was a huge sales success.

The choice of name was also symbolic of the new TAG Heuer, as perhaps the only thing that TAG and Heuer had it common was their link to Formula 1 racing. Heuer had of course been a sponsor of Ferrari during the 1970s, while TAG was the principal sponsor of the Williams team from 1979-1981, before buying 50% of McLaren International at the end of the 1981 season. TAG then funded the development of the Porsche 1.5 litre turbo engine that would power the McLaren- TAG cars to consecutive World Championships in 1984 and 1985.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 - 1Despite the immense success of the Formula 1 series, the watch was discontinued in 2000, having sold more than 3 million units. Brought back a few years later, the Formula 1 remains a key part of the TAG Heuer range focused on the value-end of the market.

Series 1: 1986- 1990

The first generation F1 watches (The watch above is Ref. 380.513) were designed by Eddy Burgener and used an innovative case construction- a mixture of a stainless steel inner case coated with Fibreglass.

The first range was limited to two sizes (28mm and 34mm) of brightly coloured cases matched to plastic straps that you could cut to size.

The design was unlike any other contemporary Heuer or TAG Heuer watch, with the only familiar design traits being the Mercedes-style hands already used on the Diver series.

In 1987 the range expanded to include a stainless steel case and bracelet as well as a range of new colours. The Fibreglass models continued to be sold until 1993/4 and stand out today as the real signature watch of the Formula 1 series.

The first series F1 use a variety of quartz movements. Early watches use either a Harley Ronda SA 705 movement or an ESA 965.312 module, while the majority of the later watches use the ETA 955.412/ 955.414 movement.

First Generation Chronograph

In keeping with the sporting theme of the watch, TAG Heuer added a Chronograph version to the Formula 1 range in 1989 (The blue watch above being Ref. 470.513).

Formula 1 ChronographThe Chronograph was powered by a complex mechanical-quartz movement, which appears to be made by Ronda. The module had an unusual date function on the 6 o’clock register, elapsed minutes at 3 o’clock and Chrono. seconds at 9 o’clock.

These movements were quite fragile and are very difficult/ impossible to service today, which probably explains why they were on sale for less than two years before a second generation Chronograph was launched.

Second Generation Chronograph

The 1991 Formula 1 Chronograph is my favourite model in the F1 range, with an attractive, more classical dial than the First Generation Chronograph and a much-improved ETA 251.262 1/10th Chronograph movement.

From 1991-1995 the dial on this model had “1/10th” under the TAG Heuer logo and “Chronograph” at 9 o’clock. From 1996-98, the dial changed to the layout photo that you see on this watch.

Series 2: 1997-2000

Having gone more than twelve years unchanged, TAG Heuer launched a new Formula 1 series in 1998, dropping the basic watch and upgrading the Chronograph model. The Series 2 Chronograph uses the same case design as the original, but with a distinctly different dial.

The dial has a minute scale on its outer-edge, numeral hour-markets and then a patterned inner circle. It certainly looks more modern than the original model, but seems needlessly complicated. Another change-for-the-sake-of-change was the switch to triangular hands for both the time and Chronograph hands.

The Series 2 Formula 1 continued using the ETA 251.262 movement, and introduced a Rubber-strap option.

Discontinuing the Formula 1

Despite the success of the Formula 1 series, one of the first decisions taken by the new LVMH management team in 2000 was to drop the series. The issue was not a lack of sales, but more that the low-cost F1 didn’t fit with the plans of LVMH to take the brand up-market.

The problem was that while the low-cost ethos of the Formula 1 made sense in 1985, the market had changed to the extent that a watch using mineral glass and a plastic bezel was simply seen as cheap in 2000. Just as the Heuer watches of the 1970s made no sense in the market of the 1980s, the Formula 1 seemed to no longer be relevant at the turn of the century.

The Formula 1 was not the only TAG Heuer series impacted by the desire of LVMH to focus on mechanical movements and push the brand up-market- regular readers will recall that this is the same reason that TAG Heuer chose not to release the Edge series that was developed in the late 1990s.

Series 3: 2004-2007

After a break of four years, TAG Heuer brought back the Formula 1 series in 2004 with an entirely new design and upgraded materials.

The Series 3 Formula One featured a titanium-carbide coated steel bezel, 316L steel case and a sapphire crystal. The dial introduced a totally new look for the F1 series, with metal-look hour-markers and numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Also new were the triangular hands.

What did not change was the basic shape of the case and bezel, which both echo the original. The Series 3 Formula 1 has a 40mm case, bringing the watch into line with contemporary tastes- the original 34mm size feeling very small by today’s standards.

One trademarks of this series was the use of Polyurethane “bumpers” on either side of the case, something that was apparently the idea of Kimi Raikkonen, who was the “face” of the new series.

The overall look of the watch was a chunky, trendy design, which fitted with its positioning as the youthful, less formal watch in the TAG Heuer range. Sure, you might wear your Carrera Chronograph to the office, but when it’s time to either pull on the beanie and shred mountains on a Snowboard, or simply chill out- like Kimi- the Formula 1 is the watch to use. As a side-note, this is the only catalogue in Heuer/ TAG Heuer history to feature the phrase “Chill Out“.

Also new for the series were the movements, with the F1 watch using the ETA 955.112, while the Chronograph version below (with the distinctive tri-colour 6 o’clock register) was powered by the ETA G10.711.

Note that all the Formula 1 watches from 2004 to today have the words “TAG Heuer Formula 1” on the dial, rather than just the model name “Formula 1“as on other TAG Heuer watches. This is thanks to Bernie Ecclestone’s obsession with limiting/ protecting/ exploiting the “Formula 1” brand.

Series 4: 2007-2011

The fourth series is very much an evolution of the 2003 re-design. Out go the Polyurethane bumpers, replaced by “TAG Heuer” branding on the side of the case, as you see above.

The new series was 1mm larger (41mm for both the Chronograph and the watch) and once again used improved materials, most notably the finishing on the bezel which now used raised fine-brushed numbers (vs. engraved and painted numbers).

The distinguishing design detail of the new Chronograph was the over-sized 6 o’clock register, framed by a silver ring.

The watch version uses markers for all hours and added 5-minute numerals to the minute scale on the outer-edge of the dial.

While the Chronograph continued with the ETA G10.711 movement, the watch switched to the ETA F06.111 quartz Calibre.

2008: Series 4 Extensions

Several extensions of the Series 4 model were introduced to keep the Formula 1 current and in fashion- as you’d expect, watches that were purposely trendy have to change more often as tastes evolve.

Grande Date Chronograph- 2008

The Grande Date series (so-called because of the two-digit date window at 12 o’clock) was launched in 2008 with an over-sized 44mm case. While I like the size of these larger watches, the dial design is far too complicated- different sized sub-dials, plenty of colours and patterns and lots of text make it a very busy dial.

The Grande Date Chronograph uses the Ronda 5040B movement.

Grande Date Watch- 2009

More attractive is the Grande Date watch which was launched the following year using the same 44mm case. This model brings back printed numerals to the dial and for the first time used a register at 6 o’clock to show elapsed seconds.

The Grande Date Formula 1 watch uses a Ronda 6004B Quartz movement.

Revised Watch- 2010

In 2010 TAG Heuer released a second version of the Formula 1 watch, which is my favourite of the current range. To me this model has the same spirit as the original- simple, clear, yet still stylish.

This model comes in Khaki and Orange, meaning that just like the original, there are plenty of colour options.

Series 5: 2012-2015

TAG Heuer Formula 1 StealthIn 2012 TAG Heuer launched a revamped Formula 1 series- it was time for the Formula 1 to grow up. While the case shape stayed the same, the range settled on a 42mm case for both watch and chronograph models and the more elaborate designs were dropped. In their place were polished edges, improved quality and a “grown-up” feel. No doubt some of the edge of the original F1 was diluted in these changes, but it did ensure that the range was no longer seen as a cheap, entry level watch.

WAU1112.BA0858 THF1 SEDUCTION HD 2012For the first time, the fifth series also introduced a series of automatic movements, using the Calibre 16 movement. While still based in the traditional Formula 1 case, the use of mechanical movements took the Formula 1 series into a different sector of the market.

Series 6: 2015- Present

TAG Heuer Formula 1- 2015The 2015 model represents perhaps the most significant change in the model’s almost 30 year history, with the watches abandoning the case design used since 1986. In its place is a case based on the 1970s Heuer Autavia, giving the watch an entirely new look, but still a watch with Formula 1 heritage.

While there remain some quartz models in the range, TAG Heuer expanded the number of mechanical movements to include Calibre 5, 6 and 7 variants.

WAZ211A.BA0875 TAG HEUER FORMULA 1 CALIBRE 7 GMT PACKSHOT 2014

Looking back on the TAG Heuer Formula 1

The Formula 1 has been able to establish itself as the sporting, unpretentious model in the TAG Heuer range. The watch that it’s OK to buy in bright Orange and the watch that I’d always choose in quartz, even if TAG Heuer did offer a mechanical version. For many people it was more than this: it was their first “proper” watch.

My memory of the watch is seeing the McLaren team wearing the red version as part of their team uniform for the Grand Prix. Combined with the fact that TAG engines were winning races seemingly every weekend, the watch had real credibility as the Formula 1 watch from the minute it was launched.

As with many low-cost, innovative designs, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 has become more expensive and conservative over time. But the spirit of the original is still there in today’s Formula 1 and there is still a place for the watch is today’s TAG Heuer range, even as the focus of the company switches to complex mechanical movements.

***

Photos

– Series 1 Watches: Watchestobuy.com

– Series 1 catalog: Chuck Maddox

– Series 1/ Gen 1 Chrono: MarkTH

– Series 1/ Gen 1 Chrono Red: Tyler Thielmann

– Series 1/ Gen 1 Movement: bmwfreak

– Series 3 Watch: sixtysix

– Series 4 Chronograph: Wisconsin Proud

  • Yande

    To my eyes, the Formula 1 is just another Swatch watch with a smart marketing name. "Formula One." I'm sure the Swatch Group made millions off this smart marketing. Why? A $20 movement in a plastic case, has Swatch watch written all over it. Fair enough, the company really needed some funds at the time. As far as being a proper watch, well I gather that is only because someone paid a "proper" price for a quartz movement with the brand name, "Tag Heuer" written on it. With respect, smart marketing, without respect,… (with respect) not for my wrist.

  • Tman

    @ Yande , I understand what you are saying. However, people can go on arguing until the proverbial “cows come home” about the cost of the movement vs final price of a watch , even a 5000$ watch sometime uses the same movement as a watch in the sub 1000$ range. What we need to understand is that a watch is more than sum of It’s parts and allocation of value of a watch lies beyond what’s in side of it.

    I agree that good marketing also has a positive effect on the price, however that’s also the case with any other companies. I know a number of people who bought Omegas because of James Bond and “watch on the moon” marketing …without these they probably won’t have paid 3000$ plus for it .

    Having said that,the formula one range has developed in quality over the past decade and surpassed the days when they were made out of plastic and appears to be more matured than the earlier generations. IMO f1s have their place in tag heuer range and rightfully command the price they currently go for.

  • wynonie

    I agree with aspects of what both earlier posters have said. Its not hard to see the F1 series as over-priced, but thats also the case for most high mechanical watches too.

    I've owned and loved an f1 – as a fun, hardy, practical watch they are pretty good and I agree with David's point that they are, for many, an intro to the world of high end watches much like the 1000 series was for my generation.

    I do wonder though if the continued production of F1 is inconsistent with where TH is taking the brand. Can the firm that produces the 1887 starting at $5,000 and the rose gold high end watches for $50,000 also be in the $1,000 market? I guess they think so. There is obviosuly a risk that the brand could struggle at the higher end if it continues to market at the lower end – but I guess they know what they are doing.

    Great piece though DC, as ever.

  • Mark

    I can't say I'd necessarily want one, but I do like the early F1s for their colourful cheerfulness. And not really doing anything any different from the Easy Riders and Jacky Ickxes that occupied the same position in the Heuer range a decade earlier.

    Apart from the first series, the chronographs carry their registers too high up the dial for my taste. And over the years, the dials have become too fussy too. Some of them in the past had very shiny silver registers on a black dial and I always thought that looks cheap. But from the sneak previews David showed us of the 2012 models, it looks like some of those things have been rectified.

  • Dont like plastic watches, never did, Dont know what TAG were thinking about when the came up with these. Leave the cheap look to those who do it best

  • DC

    Thanks for the comments Gents- which I think sum up perfectly the dilema of the Formula 1 series..that trade-off between low-cost/ stylish and the "premiunmess" of the brand.

    Despite the fact that there hasn't been a plastic F1 for almost 20 years, that is how many people still think of the series, and of course we associated plastic = swatch = cheap.

    My view is that the first F1 Series was a stroke of genius..a perfect response to the time and a watch that really introduced the TAG Heuer brand to the world. It wasn't just a new design, it was a totally different type of watch for Heuer/ TAG Heuer: new sales packaging, innovative case and strap material, no chronograph at launch, bright colours, etc.

    The problem is, as many of you have noted, that as the brand started to move into high-end mechanical movements, the cheap and cheerful F1 no longer fitted with how TAG Heuer positioned itself, which is why the watch was discontinued and then relaunched.

    I think there is a place for an entry-level TAG Heuer, but I don't think it could be at the ~USD500 mark…there'd be too many compromises with a watch at that level.

    The new series is more up-market than the current one, and more mature in design. Is it a better watch that the original? Of course. But it does miss some of the innovation, vibrancy and sheer fun of the original. The sort of watch that you could only make when you have no other choice.

    David

  • Limey

    @ Yande. “With respect”, without personal experience, you’ve obviously completely missed the point of the original F1.

    In ’87 I bought one of the first F1’s with the stainless steel case. I had friends with swatches and they’d all fallen apart and were clearly made from cheap plastics.

    My bright orange F1 was my only watch for approx 15 years; it regularly spent many hours in salt water, both in rough surf and at 100 feet (plus) in depth. I repaired my motorcycle wearing it, and it got covered in oil and petrol, more than once. I had the bezel replaced twice by Tag, and have fitted maybe eight replacement straps. I’ve always had the seals replaced with the battery, and that watch has never, ever missed a beat.

    When I was told by Tag service that the parts were getting harder to source, I had the bezel replaced one last time and bought 3 new straps for future use. I still own the watch, although now it’s used sparingly. But with the new ‘plastics’ it still looks like a brand new watch. Most relevantly, my old plastic F1 draws considerably more admiring comments than my Link, Carrera, modern F1 or any other watch I own.

    In the same way that a watch is more than its movement, the plastic F1s were far, far more than a ‘swatch with marketing’. They were overbuilt, colorful, rugged and light-hearted. They were a fun-loving Swiss watch, which made people smile. They had none of the insecurity of a flashy gold Rolex, yet none of the cheap disposability associated with a Swatch. The original F1 was a tenacious little Pit-bull of a wrist-watch and introduced a whole new generation to the Tag Heuer brand.

    If it had merely been a Swatch with marketing, it would have fallen apart and been the last Tag I’d ever bought. This story isn’t unique, as most of the people who admire my odd little orange F1 are also wearing modern Tag Heuer watches, and most of them have similarly fond recollections of their little old bulletproof F1 Tags.

    If that’s not a “proper watch”, then really -I don’t know what is.

  • Ben Burnett

    Hi there, could somebody help. My dad bought my mother a formula 1 in the mid to late 80's and I have discovered it whilst clearing their house. I have checked all other early F1's but they seem to have a different face on the watch? Could this be because the one I have in front of me is a ladies one? This time piece has been serviced so I know it's not fake. Just wondered if someone might know? It has a navy blue strap and bezel with a cream face.

    Thanks

    Ben

  • tman

    @Ben , I am pretty sure I have seen the first gen F1 with blue bazel/strap and white/creme dial before. Some picture of the watch would help someone here to ID it.

  • DC

    Hi- take a look at Scan 54 on the 1988 Catalogue:

    http://www.calibre11.com/tag-heuer-catalogues/?al

    Cheers

    David

  • Ben Burnett

    Thank you Tman and thank you DC. Picture 54 does show the exact watch.

    Thanks again

    Ben

  • Jason

    Worn my F1 daily since 1991, more than 20 years with nothing more than an a battery change every couple of years. Best 500 quid I ever spent. Still love it now.

  • Bob

    I have an F1 from what is described here as "Series 3" that has a blue face – I've never seen one like it before or since. Were there fewer of this particular model produced?

  • DC

    Hi Bob,

    The Blue was there at launch (see Catalog here: http://www.calibre11.com/tag-heuer-catalogues/?al… but not sure how long it was sold for- you're right that you see fewer in blue than you do in white, for example.

    David

  • Russell

    After reading some of the comments here, I have to chuckle a bit. Back in 1989, I purchased My first Tag, it was a Stainless case/Stainless Bracelet F1. I wore it for many years, and I believe that I wore it until it needed the second battery replacement, when I put it away(too small for my wrist and hand). After owning several other makes of watches from Casio to Seiko and everything in-between, last Fathers Day I purchased the 2011 White/Silver faced, stainless bracelet Tag F1. Was it expensive?, not really. Is it as much of a status symbol as some other watches are?, nope. However, this is by far, the most expensive watch that I have, and will probably ever own. I am not a watch whore, and I really don't have a want for a 5,000+ dollar watch. I have had a 30,000 Hubolt on my wrist once, and in all honesty, I would have been afraid to wear the thing in public. The F1 may be at the bottom of the Tag Heuer line, but it is a tag, and it shows the world my passion for the sport that it is named after. I am currently having my old Tag F1 cleaned and serviced to pass to my 20 year old son.

    Just my .02

  • DC

    Hi Russell,

    Thanks for your post- agree with a lot of what you have written. There is something highly desirable about a watch that you can just wear without having to continually worry about the odd bump or scrape.

    Enjoy

    dc

  • cfw

    Hi can u guys give me more info on the series 3, what is the casing size of the ladies watch as well as the strap width?

    regards Francois

  • Chris Warburton

    Hi,

    Nice article. Bumped across this from reading Joe Saward's blog.

    I had a steel F1 as a teen and then bought a 2nd gen chronograph a couple or so years later – both of which I still have and both of which still work perfectly, despite not being particularly well treated over the years. In this time the only failure has been one of the function buttons falling off the chrono at some point (any idea where to get a replacement – will TH still stock them?).

    The little f1 is far too small for me now, but maybe one of my two girls will want it when they're a little older!

  • DC

    Hi Francois,

    Not sure on the bracelet, but the "Series 3" style Lady Formula 1 came out in 2005 and had a 37mm case.

    Thanks Chris- I'm a big fan of Joe's website. TH may stock the part, but eBay is the best place to find parts…or you can try:

    http://watchpart.co.uk/tag-heuer-m-40.html?osCsid

    dc

  • cfw

    After months of searching i finally bought an F1 series 3 wac 1211 and I love it, its midsized and doesnt attracket unwanted attention to it, its practical yet elegant but I must say even though it is a nice watch I dont yearn for it like I do a series 1 first edition in blue, there is just something special about it, and even if people call it 'not a proper' tag I just like to remind them that it is that brightly coloured 'swatch' that saved tag from going under, so it proable not just a tag but THE TAG to own :)

  • cfw

    Hi David do u know where i can buy decently priced F1 rubber straps than can ship to South Africa?

    Regards Francois

  • Chris Warburton

    Thanks for the reply – I've put an enquiry in to Tag Heuer.

    Oddly enough (and this is what prompted me to check this thread again) I met a chap today and noticed he was wearing a well-worn original steel F1. When I commented on it his wife mentioned that she was also wearing hers – they'd both bought them new twenty years ago. What surprised me was that hers was Ladies' Size – I never knew such a thing was made!

  • NickNick

    DC – I'm a massive Ayrton Senna fan and have just seen this wonderful site through Joe Saward's GP blog. You're piece on the Senna watches is absolutely fantastic; huge thanks for the work you've put in and for sharing it with those of us who remain fans of Ayrton. Thanks also for the article on the F1 range. I'm the proud owner of a second gen F1 chronograph, purchased in 1997; the chrono 1/10 200 metres etc. I'd always wanted a TAG because of the brand's close association with both Ayrton and McLaren and still remember how proud I was the day when I bought it and wore it for the first time. There'll doubtless be visitors to this site with TAGs worth a hell of a lot more than mine and will look upon the F1 chrono as merely a relatively cheap ordinary watch with a plastic bezel. However, I still love wearing it all these years later and it looks pristine. The last time I had a replacement battery (couple of years ago) the agent said that, whilst they could replace the battery, they could no longer re-seal it as they had done in the past and it would have to be sent to TAG who would doubtless charge a lot to do so. So, mine's no longer waterproof but still looks great and STILL keeps perfect time, even though it's never had a service, for which I'm sure would also be expensive now. On the subject of Ayrton, I seem to remember reading in Christoper Hilton's book 'Memories of Senna', that the watch that he wore during the 1992 Monaco GP (which he won) was auctioned for £6000 and there's a great story behind it (page 190 of the book if you're interested). I bet it's worth more than 6 grand today!! Thanks again for sharing.

  • DC

    Thanks NickNick,

    I was lucky enough to meet Joe in Monaco in 2010 on the Friday during the Grand Prix weekend- a great weekend.

    The Senna story was easy to write…its always easy when you're passionate about the subject. I remember those Red F1s that the McLaren team used to wear…never equate how special a watch is with how much it cost!

    Wow, GBP6000? A real bargain.

    Thanks for stopping by to comment….hope you keep coming back!

    David

  • BlackBuckOne

    I can only echo the comments by Limey.

    I had my Tag F1 brought for me in 1991. It's had one new glass, 2 bezels, the second I've recently got back with a new battery and it's still a nice looking watch, almost like new and keeps perfect time. I also own several military watches (CWC, Smiths etc) and a Rolex Explorer, yet my old Tag is still as reliable as ever and I keep having to wear it again as the others pack up.

    I shall continue to do so as well after Rolex want £500 just for a service now, double what it was 5 years ago.

  • Niall

    You will never see Rolex, Omega, IWC etc introduce cheap plastic pieces like this. Short-term thinking like this will be the downfall of such a prestigious brand. The competition must be quaking in their boots!

  • Niall, the 1980s was a strange time….

    Cheers

  • Tito

    I remember walking through Macys and seeing the formula 1 on display b/c of the diff colors. They did remind me of swatches.
    All I was concerned w/ were Gucci watches . Now I find myself remembering these watches wishing I purchsed one. The gucci watch broke down like 1990lmao. Never realized I needed to get a watch serviced…I was just a teenager back then.

  • Dave

    I have one of the original F1s (384-513: green band and bezel, red case). This article inspired me to send it into Tag Heuer to get it refurbished. New hands, band, crystal, movement, and crown. Now that I have it back I can't decide if I want to wear it and pass it down to my son when he's older, or sell it to a collector. Any idea what it might be worth these days?

  • Hi Dave- great to hear that you were inspired!

    There are quite a few on these on eBay- usually $300-500 depending on condition and boxes, etc. My guess is you may have spent close to that refurbishing the watch, so if it was me, I reckon I'd wear and enjoy it..

    Cheers

  • Redpig

    Hi, I have tag heuer f1 cah1112 red dial
    this movement use ETA G10.711
    It movement fake or original??? Thank you.

  • Hi- can't tell without a photo to be honest..

  • robinson

    hello there i have a F1 sscase and ssbra. I m wonderig if someone knows where can i get pieces for this watch like color straps or the bezzel.

    • Best place is eBay- they have quite a few of the Series 1 straps

  • JHL44

    a huge THANK YOU to c11 for this article – the information found here was most helpful in authenticating a very good condition Series 3 F1 i purchased from a pawn shop…i can’t even begin to tell you how many google searches and articles i have read during my quest, but this one was hands-down the most informative! again, thank you! in fact, until i found this article, i knew i had an F1, but had no idea how old it was, etc.

    • calibre11

      Thanks for your kind words JHL44- and enjoy your watch!

  • SC

    There are som F1 haters out there who scoff at the F1s Quartz heritage. After doing a bit of research it would seem that a shift to automatic movements does the F1 a great dis service. It should remain Quartz. The original timing instruments for Heuer and Ferrari were electronic. This should be preserved.
    People look at the F1 Quartz as having no pedigree, but if you dig deeper and understand its roots and history, you will see the truth. Quartz is all about ‘now’ and ‘precision’. Something that automatic movements can not accomplish even today. My pride in owning a F1 has upped a notch, along with my subs and speedies.

    • calibre11

      Hi SC, I agree with you- but the market says that we’re wrong! The other advantage with quartz is its ability to withstand shocks. If you did try and drive a F1 car with an automatic watch for a full Grand Prix, I’m not sure what the constant vibration would do to the accuracy- be more confident on the quartz

    • LarryH77

      Nothing wrong with the ETA 955 and 251, although both are highly prone to sticking when their oiled jewels dry up. The 955 also isn’t very resistant to battery leaks.

      Those with the cheaper, disposable F06 and G10 should be avoided, cheeky cost-cutting considering the prices. Switch to all-metal Ronda movements was a step in the right direction but I see they’ve lost interest in selling quartz models in volume.

  • Pondo

    May i add that from 2012 the watches come with a fixed tachymetre bezel instead of the unidirectional bezel from previews models?

    Also kinda wish you had included the original 2012 models CAU1115.BA0869 & CAU1115.BA0858 on the article, i remember when i first saw them i was like wow what a huge departure from the previous ones but still i own one just like i have owned a F1 of every generation before. This is the watch that got me started in Tag Heuer and my favorite watch still.

    Thank you for your article David, i’ve been missing out for not knowing this website before.

    Cheers!

    • calibre11

      Thanks Pondo!

  • I never realized the F1 had such history!

    I got one series 4 (not chrono, you can’t read the dial on these chronos) in I think 2008 and have used it very regularly as my almost daily watch ever since. Still looks almost new.

    I got it over other mechanical options I was considering because I wanted a nice watch that I could wear while riding a mountain bike (avid mountain biker here), going for a swim (avid swimmer here), or even going out for a run (avid runner here), and the watch should be up for it. Never regretted it.

    I have had a few mechs also (Tissot, Mido, Oris…) and I’m always extra careful with them, and I kinda hate that you have to worry so much for a stupid watch (that incidentaly costed you an eye: expensive watches -and I’ve realized anything over $300usd is way too expensive- are a really stupid, market/status driven way to brag). The only thing that beats my F1 are my G-Shocks, but that’s to be expected, they’re explicitly built to be abused. And the only thing that I hate about the F1 is that eventually it’ll need a battery exchange.

    I’m thinking seriously in selling all my watches (except the G-Shocks and the F1) and maybe get a solar diver chrono Seiko (and a not so very small amount of extra cash!). Those things look like they’re very well built, and you get to call all the Omega/Rolex/et al Desktop Diver owners: idiots. But I’m having trouble justifying the effort when right here I have a very nice F1 that has served me so well all this time.

    Hate the new models, they’re no longer F1s.

    And a question to Calibre11: what do you think is the rationale behind the move to mechs? Clearly, obviously and indisputably a mechanical movement is inferior to a quartz one when it comes to shock resistance, wear and tear… After all, that’s precisely why they have always put quartz in the F1s!
    Could it be the same reason for all the desktop divers out there? That most people won’t even go near an inflatable pool on a sunday bbq with their 300+m divers, so the point is moot and they get to charge more because of the “a mech is better” gospel?

    Related, I’ve read in several places that TAG is trying to reposition itself as an entry level brand, with great offerings at lower prices than the rest (just look at the new 01 and 02!), so the move to mechs on the F1s makes even less sense!

    Thanks and great article!

    • calibre11

      Hi Esteban- appreciate these thoughts! I agree with you on quartz, but the market thinks we’re wrong! People associate quartz with cheapness, something that I don’t agree with. As you point out, there are some purposes for which quartz is better.

      I have an interview with TAG Heuer’s CEO coming up shortly. One of the questions I asked him was whether the Smartwatch would be the death of quartz…he tends to agree- i.e. you’ll have mechanical watches and smartwatches