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TAG Heuer 6000 McLaren F1 XP4

As regular readers of Calibre 11 will know, one of the rarest TAG Heuer models is the 6000 Series watch created for the McLaren F1 Supercar. There are two versions of the watch- one for owners of the car and another that was given or sold to employees and clients of McLaren.

But what we have for you today is something very special. The 6000 watch given to the owner of one of the five prototype F1’s- specifically, the fourth prototype known as XP4. These are the most detailed photos of the F1 owners watch ever published, so enjoy these great photos of the watch and the story of the McLaren F1 prototype.

McLaren F1 XP4

It’s no secret that only just over 100 F1 cars were ever produced, but less well-known that this numbers includes five prototypes (XP1 through to XP5), each of which was subtly different to each other and to the final production car. XP4 was the prototype used to stress test the gearbox, as well as to star in the lap of the Top Gear track. Several of the prototypes (at least one was destroyed) were later modified and sold to the public, which explains how the F1 XP4 found is way back to the spiritual home of Mclaren- New Zealand.

Retail magnate Sir Roger Bhatnagar enquired about buying an F1 in late 1993, only to be told of the strong waiting list- but he was given another option: He could buy immediately the XP4 prototype that had been modified for road-worthiness. Apparently McLaren liked the idea of the car heading to New Zealand, given the company’s New Zealand heritage. And so XP4 arrived a few months later in mid-1994.

Fans of the car will notice that the original XP4 is unlike any other F1- note the unique front-end treatment of the indicators and only one rear light on each side instead of the usual two.

Before the car was delivered to New Zealand, the unique front and rear end parts were standardised to the production model parts and the car re-painted blue. After just over 6 years- and not that many kilometres- the car was sold to an American buyer.

TAG Heuer 6000 McLaren F1

Anyhow, enough about the car…let’s look at the watch that came with it- a 6000 McLaren F1 with the Chassis number XP4 printed proudly on the dial, which co-incidentally looks a pretty close match to the colour of the XP4 above.

Sir Roger gave the watch to his son Aaron, who has worn it regularly since 1994. The watch still looks great for 16 years of regular use and is still on its original strap and yet to need a service.

I was delighted when Aaron got in contact and agreed to share these photos and the story of his father’s F1 with Calibre 11 readers. The only other photo I’ve seen of an owners 6000 F1 I posted here, but these are much clearer and more detailed. It’s fantastic to see that the watch has been enjoyed and worn, rather than tucked away in the glovebox.

My sincere thanks to Aaron and I hope that as well as wearing the watch for the last 16 years, he found the occasion to sneak out with the keys to the F1 at least once.



McLaren F1 XP4: Tim Cottingham:

  • Justin Chang

    Our prayers have been answered – we finally have better pictures of the TAG 6000 F1 owners edition.

    Sadly I have read rumours that XP4 has been destroyed in an accident…

  • wynonie

    Great story. Do you know what movement it is? I note its a Chronometer – few and far between for Tag.

    • DC

      Thanks Gents,

      Wynonie, I believe its an ETA 2892-A2, which TAG Heuer has called a Calibre 7 (although there is also a GMT Calibre 7, as found in the Link GMT)

      Justin, I hadn't heard that about XP4…it seemed to still be alive as late as 2008/9


  • Justin Chang

    The rumor initially started when a member of a forum claimed to have spotted a McLaren F1, involved in an accident in the US; believed to be black/dark blue in colour (but unable to substantiate further as it was spotted at night).

    Not long after, another rumor surfaced on a different forum claiming that in mid/late 2010, McLaren's factory was believed to be in possession of a black/dark blue F1 sent in for physical repair. Once again, no substantial evidence surfaced.

    My sincerest hopes would be that XP4 is alive and well as there simply isn't enough of the F1's left to be destroyed…

  • Peloton25

    XP4 was on display at the opening party for the McLaren San Francisco dealership in late October 2010. Here's a photo from the event:

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    I've not heard of any trouble with it.

    Would be very interested to see links to the discussions you refer to Justin.



  • Justin Chang

    Erik, that would confirm that it was purely a rumor. Great news that the XP4 is alive and well.

    I read these two rumor a while back-last year, but couldn't retrace where I read them. Don't believe everything you read 😉