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2015 TAG Heuer Ayrton Senna Edition Carrera & Formula 1

The partnership between TAG Heuer and Ayrton Senna has been formally revived this week with the launch of four new watches bearing Senna’s name- two Carreras and two Formula 1s. The relationship between TAG Heuer and the legendary Formula 1 triple World Champion dates back to 1988 when Senna first joined the McLaren Formula 1 team, which at the time was 50% owned by TAG, the owners of TAG Heuer.

Ayrton Senna McLarenIn more recent years the Senna Foundation has licenced Ayrton Senna’s name and image to a number of watch brands, most recently Hublot, but for 2015, the Senna name returns to a TAG Heuer watch.

Senna and TAG Heuer- A Brief History

Ayrton Senna McLarenSenna’s relationship with TAG Heuer began informally in 1988, when he joined the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team. Not only did TAG (the parent company) own 50% of McLaren, but Ron Dennis of McLaren was a shareholder in TAG Heuer.

Senna wore both a 6000 series and a S/el Digital/ Analogue Chronograph, both of which you can see here. At this time there were no Senna editions- these didn’t begin until he left McLaren in 1994. As we now know, the deal signed in April 1994 between TAG Heuer and Ayrton Senna to create a limited edition 6000 series with his name was likely the last commercial deal signed by Senna before he died on 1 May that same year. After a period of reflection on what to do with the finished watch, TAG Heuer released the 6000 Senna later that year, with a share of profits donated to the Senna Foundation. In all, there were four series of Senna Editions released. You can read an in-depth review of each of these watches here.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ayrton Senna Edition

TAG Heuer Formula 1 SennaFirst up in the 2015 Senna collection we have a pair of Formula 1 quartz chronographs- one with red highlights and the other with flashes of yellow and green. The Senna branding is limited to the bezel, case back and 3 o’clock register, as the rendered image below shows.

CAZ1013 TAG Heuer DialBoth watches have the same 43mm stainless steel case, quartz chronograph movement and “Legends” bracelet..which is probably a good place in the story to pause..what is the “Legends” bracelet?

TAG Heuer Legends Bracelet

TAG-Heuer_Link-seductionThe new Senna watches comes on what we’d currently call the the traditional Link bracelet, despite the fact that they’re not Link watches. So, to avoid confusion between the Link bracelet and the Link series, TAG Heuer now calls the Link bracelet the “Legends” bracelet, which it will offer on several models in its range, including (but not limited to) the Link series.

The rationale is that the majority of the original 1990’s Senna Limited Edition watches were Links, as well as this series being Senna’s preferred model (called the S/el back in Senna’s day). We can guess that TAG Heuer wanted to keep this link (no pun) with the past, but base the new watches on the sporty Carrera and Formula 1 models rather than the Link series, which is now positioned as more of a dress watch.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Senna Edition- CAZ1013

TAG Heuer CAZ1013.BA0833

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Senna Edition- CAZ1012

TAG Heuer CAZ1012

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Ayrton Senna Edition

Carrera Senna EditionsThe second set of Senna models is this pair of Calibre 16 Carreras, one in stainless steel and the other in titanium. But again you might ask…why is this a Carrera? It doesn’t have the traditional Carrera case! Isn’t this a Link series watch?

Well, yes and no. As we’ve explained above, it does have the Legends bracelet, but the case is not from a Link series, but rather it borrows the case from a different current TAG Heuer watch: the Grand Carrera. Below is a composite image of the Grand Carrera (top) superimposed over the Senna Carrera (bottom)

TAG Heuer Grand Carrera Case Senna EditionSpecifically, the Senna Carrera uses the same case as the Grand Carrera Calibre 36, including the bezel, crown and pushers. The only change is that the Senna edition Carrera is 44mm, 1mm larger than the Grand Carrera Calibre 36.

Given we haven’t seen a new Grand Carrera model for seven years, it probably makes sense to move away from the Grand Carrera name, which leaves Carrera as the only “logical” choice, even if it needs some explanation. On the positive side, having a special edition watch that is not in the traditional Carrera case is a positive.

Carrera Calibre 16 Chronograph Senna Edition Steel- CBB2010

2015 TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Senna EditionThe stainless steel model has a beautiful starburst Anthracite dial with red highlights on the dial and crown.

2015 TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Senna Edition

2015 TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Senna Edition

Senna CarreraCarrera Calibre 16 Chronograph Senna Edition Titanium- CBB2080

CBB2080.FT6042_TH_CARRRERA_SPECIAL_ED._SENNA_MOOD_PACKSHOT_2015_HD

TAG Heuer Carrera Senna Edition Titanium

Photo by http://www.jw-oomiya.co.jp

The second model has a flat black dial to match the matte titanium-carbide coated titanium case. This model is the only one to be offered with a rubber strap.

TAG Heuer Senna Calibre 16 Titanium

Photo by http://www.jw-oomiya.co.jp

TAG Heuer Carrera Senna case Back "S"

Photo by http://www.jw-oomiya.co.jp

Senna Carrera

Geneva Motorshow- Senna and McLaren

Mclaren-Honda MP4/4 TAG HeuerThe launch of the new watches is the cumulation of events TAG Heuer has staged in 2015 to both recognise the 30th anniversary of the relationship with McLaren and its reuniting with Senna. Below are a few photos from the 2015 Geneva Motorshow, where Senna’s McLaren was on display.

TAG Heuer McLaren-Honda

Winner of 15 out of 16 Grand Prix in 1988- the McLaren-Honda MP4/4

Jean-Claude Biver and Alain Prost- Senna McLaren

TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver talks with Senna’s 1988 McLaren teammate, the great Alain Prost

Jean-Claude Biver and Alain Prost- Senna McLaren

Prost, Senna and McLaren

Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona Launch

Fernando Alonso/ Senna McLarenOn May 7, TAG Heuer held an event before the 2015 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix to announce the new watches and show off a video featuring McLaren drivers Alonso and Button duelling in the 1988 and 2015 McLaren-Hondas. You can check out the video below, which includes a hologram image of Senna.

Price and Availability- 2015 Senna Editions

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 Senna CBB2010While we don’t yet have dates on availability, expect the watches to be in the stores in a matter of weeks rather than months. The Formula 1 Senna watches are priced at US$1,750 in the US, while the steel Carrera Senna Edition is priced at US$4,150- expect a small premium for the Titanium model.

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Live Steel Carrera Senna Photos by Time+Tide Images

TAG Heuer Forum

TAG Heuer Forums

  • Róbert Timár

    For me they are very nice but they are a tad “no meat no fish” – named Carrera, no typical Carrera case, Link bracelet – too much of the goods. But hey, this is problem only for the WIS, not for the broader public… What I really miss is the narrow underglass turning bezel (like superimposed on one picture of the second page) and – as always – the weekday feature of the Caliber 16, be it the 7750 or the SW500…. Please give me a 40-42 mm Carrera-cased, 7750-day-date-driven chronograph with round pushers, double-function reset pusher (so also for turning the Drive Timer-like bezel) (in other words: 40-42 mm Drive Timer day-date chrono with bezel turning crown placed together with the reset button) and I’ll be in silence for a long time 🙂 or not… 🙂

    • calibre11

      Don’t be silent! 😉

      • Paul A

        Combining the CLASSIC ‘S’ Link with the F1 Legend name in a watch that ooooooooozzzzzzzzzzzzesssssssssss class in sporting watches and that very recognizable Grey Face. A watch that nothing in the TAG Heuer range past or present comes close, it being unique. Nothing in TAG’s range over the last 15 years since the ‘S’ link was introduced looks similar. Great Design TAG.

  • Munir Metassan

    As a Senna fan, these watches are just milking the Senna name. Why dont TH just re-release what Senna actually wore when he was arguably the best driver in F1. Both S/El and 6000 models look timeless. It was what the great Senna wore. It is what Senna fans would rather have on their wrists.

    • calibre11

      Like the idea Munir, but not sure that today’s watch buyer is ready for a two-tone S/el digital re-edition!

      • Munir Metassan

        With clever marketing these days anything is possible. People thought the square cased monaco was a thing of the past. I guess there are two types of watch buyers and TH need to please both in order to maximise sales. The real enthusiasts who will appreciate the relevance of a watch history and “value” and the fad fans who will buy into hype and what clever marketing has thrown at them. The current “Senna” special edition carrera/link/sel mish-mash is so confusing yet with clever marketing it will be flying off the shelves.

  • AirportOps

    I have been waiting for TAG to make a new Senna watch for years! I am not too sure why all the negatives about these. I have both the Senna F1’s on order and can’t wait to get them. These watches, to me, represent a nice blend of old and new. I have the original collection, I don’t need replicas (re-releases) of those!

    Calibre11, I love the sight keep up the great work!

  • Paul

    I love this new Senna Link edition. It gives us the classic ‘S’ Link. Not the current flattened out looking thing. Plus is intergrates the Grey face with Red markings That give it a modern and unique look. Would of prefered a Day thrown in also. probably in the next model. But it does look great. Will buy if the price is right! From Paul

  • calibre11

    Thanks for the feedback on these- I’m looking forward to seeing the steel model in person…and to see whether these are one-offs or the start of a new collection

  • Dipak

    Hi David,
    I last posted a comment four years back on this site (see below) when I was doing my research into finding and buying one of Senna’s Tag Links Limited Edition range between 01/02/03/04.
    I’m a proud owner of the Links 03 and the 04…so happy days and again thank you for the article back then as it made me filter which of the two watches I wanted to own from that range !!!
    Now to put you on the spot….gun to the head type scenario :), I know watch technology is constantly improving but can you make a call between the old Senna Limited Edition Links and these New Special editions watches that are about to be released?
    In particular I’m more curious about the Senna Carrera vs the old Senna Links.
    aside from the identical bracelets.
    What’s your own personal take on functionality/aesthetics/personal connection with the man between these two – in particular the 03/04 Links and the two new Carrera’s :p
    I won’t get offended, if the Links no longer get a look in but am clearly obvious that the new watches would no doubt have vast improvements with time telling function.
    Keep up the good work boss !!!
    Dipak
    4 year ago
    Hi David,

    I am in the process of buying one of these “bad boy” watches.

    Your article is like “information gold” for people like me who are doing their research on purchasing one these watches.

    Great article boss

    Many thanks

    Dipak

    • Dipak

      Dear All
      FYI
      I spoke with Tag UK this morning and can confirm the prices from an authorised dealer. Release date Sept/Oct but they are taking orders
      Tag Carrera Steel Bracelet £3150
      Tag Carrera Titanium Case/Rubber Strap £3500
      Both Formula 1’s £1350
      Enjoy

      • calibre11

        Many thanks Dipak- appreciate the update!

    • calibre11

      Hi Dipak,

      Hard to compare. I’m not a huge fan of the S/el, but the revised Link was more my style. Of the five original Senna series, my favourites in order are:

      1. 6000
      2. 2002 Link
      3. 2001 Link
      4. 2004 Link
      5. 2003 Link

      I would have preferred to see the Senna model use the Link as a base, but at least the carry over of the bracelet works. I love this photo by the guys at Escapement- hard to deny that it’s a good looking watch!

      I’d go for steel over the Black treatment

  • Blkhrse6

    Anyone else disappointed that these were not “Numbered” editions. I also received both of my “Senna” editions in the standard Tag presentation case, that was disappointing as well. I have now seen many with the “Senna” presentation boxes. Hope to contact Tag regarding this. Other than that these are even better in person.

  • Enrico

    Nice to know about the “Legends Bracelet”, DC! I’m a proud owner of the “Pure Link Bracelet”. Another great article of yours. Thank you! Enrico