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Up Close- 2014 TAG Heuer Formula 1 Automatic

While we thought that there would likely be some new Automatic Formula 1 models from TAG Heuer at Baselworld 2014, we didn’t expect this- a clean-sheet new F1 design that draws on the heritage of one of Heuer’s most famous models. But this is no re-edition, but instead a new take on the Formula 1 series that will sit alongside the current range.

When we first checked out the Calibre 16 Formula 1 back in September, we noted that the finishing of the clasp was a disappointment, so its pleasing to be able to say that the finishing on the new duo is a nice improvement and one that moves the Formula 1 more into line with other TAG Heuer models.

Since the launch of the current Formula 1 series back in 2012, there has been a demand from collectors for a watch larger than the revised 41mm case- these new models offer exactly that, with the Chronograph clocking in at 44mm.

Design

The new Formula 1 is probably the first time that I can recall an existing model range adopting a totally new and different case design, but keeping the same name. Normally what we see is a modernised take on an existing theme, but the new F1s bears little relation to the Formula 1 case shape that has remained consistent since its launch in 1985.

Having said that, the case is not exactly entirely new either, and is loosely based on the TAG Heuer Autavia, something that I discussed with TAG Heuer’s designer Christoph Behling. Yes, the finishing on the case is different, but the shape is unmistakably derived from the Autavia.

There are two models in the new range- a Calibre 6 watch (41mm) and a Calibre 16 Chronograph (44mm), both featuring a rotating steel bezel- coated in titanium carbide for the “Full Black” watches.

There are two strap options- either a perforated rubber strap (above) or a newly designed stainless steel bracelet. The clasps on both are improved from other F1 models, with the Rubber strap featuring twin keepers and a buckle design similar to the Aquaracer 500m range.

Not surprisingly given the price-point, the watches have a steel caseback, with the familiar chequered flag pattern.

Overall, it’s a very nicely executed design- the stainless steel versions offer a combination of brushed and polished surfaces, and the new model is quite different to any other model in the Formula 1 series.

For me the question is whether the Formula 1 name still fits. Yes, the new watches share a sporty style of the traditional Formula 1, but the new case shape marks this out as a new model in its own right, rather than simply a new variant of an existing series. Still, I guess that the cost of establishing a new second brand of watches at a similar price-point to the existing F1 makes little sense.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 6- 41mm

Kicking off the range is the Calibre 6 Formula 1 watch, featuring a running-seconds counter at 6 o’clock. The counter has an azurage finish, which is black on the black dial model (Ref. WAZ2110) you see here, and a contrasting anthracite on the White-dial model- the only two dial colours at this stage.

 As mentioned above, the second colour in the Calibre 6 range is the White dial watch, reference WAZ2011, also available on either the bracelet or the rubber strap.

The other Calibre 6 model not show here is the Full Black Calibre 6, reference WAZ2112

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 16 Chronograph- 44mm

The second version of the new Formula 1 series is the automatic chronograph, powered by the Calibre 16 movement. There are two models in the chronograph range- a stainless steel case with Black dial (Ref. CAZ2010), or a Black dial with a titanium-carbide coated case- Ref. CAZ2011 shown here.

Price and Availability

The 2014 TAG Heuer Formula 1 Automatic series goes on sale later this year, with the watch models expected in July, and the chronograph models due a couple of months later.

The pricing on the new series is sharp- we hear that the Calibre 6 watch will be priced at CHF1600, the stainless steel Calibre 16 at CHF2,600 and the Full Black Calibre 16 Chronograph at CHF3050.

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  • AussieAlex

    The new case looks great, but I'd like to see a 41mm chronograph with panda dial and a 3-6-9 sub dial layout, with blue highlights and a black bezel insert (ie Siffert colors).
    I guess what I'm saying is I like the case.

  • DM.

    Cool looking watch but I'm not sure how apt it is to continue to call it the Formula 1 either considering how consistent the model had been since its inception. I suppose there is an Autavia/F1 link but well, that's Autavia….

    Still, as predicted by everyone, quartz models are slowly being phased out and this is the next step at the lower end.
    Is that a good or bad thing?
    I still think there is a place for a high end quartz chronograph with proper race timing functionality.

    DM.

    • Yes, that was my thought too- nice watch…but is it a Formula 1?

      I'm 100% with you on quartz still having a place, but it has to be high-end quartz, not the standard quartz to have a place in a TAG Heuer range.

  • TAG ex-Fan

    Surprising introduction but nothing impressive. Given the tier ranking one could argue this shouldn't be interesting, perhaps. But what the heck, tang buckle!??? Come on TAG, everyone deserves a deployant setup!!

    • I know what you mean, but I wasn't that impressed with the deployant offered on the current F1 series, so I'd rather have a tang buckle like this.

  • A. L.

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the article and preview!

    Is it just me or anyone else finds these new models looking less aggressive? The bezel is also starting to look like the Carrera’s, especially the Calibre 16 model. To me they seem to start drifting the designs towards a dress watch more than a race watch.

    By the way David, I have a question about the size on the wrist. Does the 2014 Calibre 16 Chrono look smaller or bigger than the 2013 F1 Calibre 16 Titanium Carbide (CAU2012)?

    Thanks.

    A. L.

  • Scotti b

    Great article. The full black is a nice looking watch. But I’m with you on this one David , Tag should have kept the F1 series for high end quartz. This would have set them apart from the rest of the crowd !!!

  • Nick

    I can't blame LVMH for taking Tag Heuer upmarket, but having an affordable quartz range is great for attracting aspiring watch enthusiasts without the deep pockets to buy an automatic watch and hooking them on the Tag Heuer brand.

    How many of us bought a Fourmula 1 in the 80's/90's and then went on to buy a mechanical Tag Heuer, or several?

    To me Tag Heuer has always been a sports focused watch brand and the Formula 1 range is a building block of that image. I'm not sure these two less sporty watches qualify.

  • Himawan

    Hi David.

    I like the overall design. TG is getting more serious with Formula 1. Agree with you, it’s nothing left from its predecessor’s DNA, and more like Autavia and bulky Aquaracer. With this upgraded spec (and price), where do you think its position amongts other lines? No longer entry level or 1st proper watch? Compared to Aquaracer?

  • Adrian

    Looks good but I still prefer the 2013 F1 calibre 16 CAU2012 model than this one. It looks like a Carrera- wanna-be to me.

  • L.T

    For someone who has been waiting for 5 years for a re-edition of the Autavia (which has just the right balance of looks and specs), the Calibre 6 41mm is just perfect. Great decision by the TAG-H Execs !

  • George C.

    Hi, David, I just saw this article for the first time but has anyone ever mentioned that the case is almost reminiscent of the 1153 Carrera cases from the 70s. Looks cool…

    • calibre11

      Hi George. Yes, similar to the second-generation Carrera…but even closer to the Autavia 😉

  • Andre Lucena

    So, how many quartz chronograph with new Autavia case and old logo were made?