The 2020 TAG Heuer Formula 1 Fragment by Fujiwara represents the most audacious stretch of the Formula 1 series’ DNA since its launch way back in 1986. The watch looks like a re-edition of the 1970s Autavia, but it’s not- in fact, it doesn’t have any model name on the dial. Being a Formula 1, you might expect the watch to have a quartz movement, but it doesn’t- for the first time, TAG Heuer has fitted a Formula 1 with its flagship Heuer 02 movement. This is not a watch that sits inside the lines of the typical TAG Heuer model design rule book.
The 2020 TAG Heuer Formula 1 Fragment is the second limited edition TAG Heuer designed by Japanese streetwear guru Hiroshi Fujiwara, following the 2018 Carrera Heuer 02.
There’s no doubting that the Fragment F1 is a good-looking watch, even if you knew nothing of Heuer and TAG Heuer’s heritage. But a quick step through the inspirations for the new design shows how Fragment Design has brought together Autavia and Formula 1 elements into something quite different to any existing Autavia or Formula 1 watch.
Since the revised Formula 1 series was launched back in 2015, we’ve pointed out that the F1 now uses a case design inspired by the third-generation Autavia and never has that link been clearer than with the newest F1.
The third generation Heuer Autavia was launched in 1969, with an all new C-shaped case featuring integrated lugs. One of the most iconic of this generation of Autavia was the black dial with red highlights- the look most often attributed to the 1163 “Viceroy” Autavia, even though non-Viceroy Autavias, such as the 11063 shown above used the same colours.
This case shape was first brought back by TAG Heuer in 2003 for the short-lived Autavia Calibre 11 reedition series, before being retired in 2004/ 5. The C-case was too iconic to stay on the shelf for long, and was adopted by the Formula 1 series in 2015 when the series received a major revamp.
Fragment x TAG Heuer
Clearly Fujiwara-san knows his vintage Heuers, because this is the second time that he has reached into the archives to inspire both of his TAG Heuers- first the Fragment Carrera Heuer 02 (based on the Heuer Carrera 2447NT) and now an Autavia-inspired Formula 1.
Fujiwara explained the background of the new watch as follows:
What drew you to collaborate with TAG Heuer?
Hiroshi Fujiwara: I first started collaborating with TAG Heuer when then-CEO Jean-Claude Biver reached out to me a couple of years ago. The brand was interested in my designs which they thought would resonate strongly with their customers, and I had total freedom to imagine the pieces we launched together.
Question: the favorite features points of the model
Hiroshi Fujiwara: The idea was to redesign a vintage-inspired sports watch in an ultra-modern way. I was especially attentive to details such as the bracelet links and the red sapphire case back which is one of my favorite features. I aimed to infuse the essence of historical watch design into this contemporary piece, I call it modern vintage.
Question: What is your philosophy on time?
Hiroshi Fujiwara: Time is very precious to me; I don’t like wasting it so I am constantly multi-tasking. I can watch TV while playing the guitar or catching up on emails at the same time. I can even read two books in parallel. Time flies so I make the most of it.
Question: As a vintage watch collector which designs/era are you most interested in? Any Heuers?
Hiroshi Fujiwara: I don’t collect based on the history or specific era of the watch, rather I am drawn in by the design, first and foremost. That’s how I chose the pieces I like. If I had to highlight a favorite Heuer, I would have to say the original 1963 Carrera, which we used as inspiration for the previous TAG Heuer x Fragment Design collaboration.Hiroshi Fujiwara interview provided by TAG Heuer
2020 TAG Heuer x Fragment Formula 1
With the backstory out of the way, let’s look at the newcomer in more detail. The case is a 44mm steel case, with a combination of polished and brushed finishes. It’s not quite the same starburst case finish of the original Autavia, but it’s close. The fixed bezel has a ceramic tachymeter insert, just like the 1970s Autavias.
And speaking of that 70s Autavia look, the steel hands with their red tips and filled inserts are also faithful to the original.
Where things get a little different is the dial- flat black with two sunken registers (no circular patterning), rather than the panda look of the Autavia. Yes, two registers, because just like the 1972-edition Autavia from 2018, this is a 2-register version of the Heuer 02 movement, losing the sweeping seconds functionality of other 3-register Heuer 02 models.
The dial uses the same design language as the Fragment Carrera- small square hour markers and no applied metal indices. The result is a very open dial- almost too open, with the registers almost floating against the black background. This wasn’t an issue with the smaller Fragment Carrera, but there is plenty of vacant real estate on the larger Formula 1 dial. Busy it’s not.
The other tell-tale Fragment cues are the two Fragment lightning bolts at 12 o’clock and the “Fragment” text at the 4 o’clock position.
The final vintage-inspired touch is the bracelet. It would have been easy for TAG Heuer to give the watch one of its standard calf-skin leather straps that would have looked period correct- but instead, we get a bespoke jubilee-style bracelet (Ref. BA0641) that complements the watch beautifully.
Movement- Calibre Heuer 02
As we’ve covered, this is the first time that we’ve seen the Heuer 02 movement fitted inside a Formula 1 series- and the first time that an F1 watch has featured a clear sapphire case back. The red sapphire is a great touch, bringing a touch of modernity to an otherwise classic design.
And topping things off is the Fragment double lightning bolt etched onto the glass.
Price and Availability
Just as the Fragment design doesn’t look like your usual Formula 1, nor should you expect it to be priced like a Formula 1. Pricing in the key markets is as follows:
- Switzerland: CHF6,000
- Europe: €5,800
- Great Britain: £5,050
- North America: US$6,150
- Japan: ¥660,000
- Hong Kong: HKD 49,400
Think of this watch as a Formula 1 and it’s expensive- but think of it as a bespoke heritage limited edition and it makes more sense. Pricing is the same as the Monaco Heuer 02, a watch with a similar heritage and the same movement, but on a leather strap rather than the more expensive bracelet.
The 2020 TAG Heuer x Fragment Design Formula 1 is a limited edition of 500 watches that will be available to pre-order from www.tagheuer.com and in select TAG Heuer boutiques before going on sale on 27 July 2020.