Ultimate Guide to the TAG Heuer 1500

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   15 April 2012   |   40 Comments  

The TAG Heuer range in 1990 was totally unrecognisable from the range offered during the golden era of the 1970s and early 1980s. Gone were the great Motorsport- inspired names- Monaco, Carrera, Autavia, Jarama, Montreal, Silverstone- and gone was the innovative mechanical Chronomatic movement. In their place was a range of watches with numerical names that were organised in a clear hierarchy of good (1000 Series), better (4000 Series) and best (6000 series). This range, with a couple of exceptions, was entirely quartz powered, and instead of the Chronograph being at the heart of the design, the new watches were based around the “Six Features” dive watch template.

A large part of the reason for the move towards this look was the huge success of the original “Six Features” watch- the TAG Heuer 1000 Series, which was introduced in the late 1970s. But by 1990 the 1000 was beginning to show its age, and so TAG Heuer set out to replace the iconic dive watch, with a new model- the watch that would become the TAG Heuer 1500 series.

Design

As the name implies, the design of the 1500 is a hybrid of the 1000 Series (above left) and the 2000 Series (above right). The 1000 Series was very much a “Tool Watch”- a large, thick, 70s- style case with broad shoulders and a deeply recessed dial.  The 1500 picks up several design touches inspired by the 1000 Series:

  • “Mercedes” hands (admittedly a feature of all TAG watches at the time)
  • A combination of circular and rectangular Baton hour-markers (note that the 1500 reverses the pattern used on the 1000- circles at 9 o’clock and 6 o’clock where the 1000 has batons)
  • Triangle-marker at 12 o’clock on the dial
  • Triangular marker on the bezel at the “0″ position (in fact, the steel bezel version above uses six triangles on the bezel)
  • “Jubilee” style bracelet
  • Circular case

But despite these similarities, the end result looks more like a modified 2000 Series, especially with a much lighter case design and thinner lugs.

TAG Heuer clearly wanted the 1500 to be seen as a more sophisticated watch than the 1000 Series, with many models featuring gold highlights and the option of a leather strap- never an option on the Diver-orientated 1000.

Models

Like the 1000 Series, the 1500 was only available as a 3-hand watch- no Chronograph version was ever offered. Buyers did have a choice of bezels, with either a steel bezel with minute-markers (above left) or a black diver-style design (above right).

When it came to case size, there were three options- Men’s size (~40mm/ 21mm lugs- below left), Mid-size (~38mm/ 19mm- below centre) and one Lady’s design (below right).

Unlike the 1000 Series, there was no “over-size” (~42mm) option for the 1500.

Dials

In addition to the usual Black and White dials, TAG also offered a rare “Night Diver” model with a luminous dial, a model only available in the mid-sized case with a black dive bezel. This is my favourite of the 1500 models, probably because it’s the 1500 that is the closest in looks to the 1000 series.

Perhaps the most unusual dial offered on the 1500 (and a contender for the most unusual on any Heuer or TAG Heuer) is the “granite” finish dial that you see below. It’s the trademark dial of the 1500 series, and something that was never offered on any other series.

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