The use of ambassadors by watch brands is a sensitive and sometimes controversial topic among watch lovers. When selected carefully, the best ambassadors can be an incredibly powerful addition to the brand and many of the very best partnerships have lasted decades. So in the case of TAG Heuer, it was a welcome return when in 2015 the brand announced that once again it would be in partnership with Ayrton Senna…a true Ambassador for the brand.
Not only did Senna wear a TAG Heuer during his glory days at McLaren, but the very last commercial deal he signed before his death was a new partnership with TAG Heuer to launch a range of limited edition watches, the last of which appeared in 2004. The Senna foundation then signed a licensing deal with Hublot, before reuniting with TAG Heuer in 2015.
The 2015 Senna watch collection comprised two Carrera models, both of which used a Grand Carrera case and offered with a Link-style “legends” bracelet, and two Formula 1 Chronographs. The 2016 collection features two Formula 1 models- this time with a 3-hand watch joining the chronograph in the range.
Formula 1 Senna CAZ1015.BA0883
The first model from the 2016 collection is the Senna Chronograph, which uses the standard Formula 1 chrono. 43mm steel case. The unique elements to the Senna edition are limited to the dial, “Senna” aluminium bezel and engraved caseback.
Dial & Bezel
The black and red dial- a change-up from last year’s anthracite dial- is unique in the Formula 1 range. But if that distinction is too subtle, you won’t miss the famous Senna “S” logo on the 3 o’clock register, which houses the running seconds.
There is often confusion about the Ronda 5040D quartz chronograph movement fitted to this model- yes, it is a 1/10th chronograph…or at least it is for the first 59 minutes. For the first hour of timing any event, the 6 o’clock sub-dial indicates 1/ 10th of a second and then after one hour, it switches to become an hour counter. Chronograph minutes can be read from the 30-minute register at 9 o’clock.
The fixed bezel has a bespoke Senna insert, again featuring the Senna “S” and a tachymeter scale.
While the 2015 model featured a titanium-carbide black-coated crown, pushers and bezel, the 2016 model is made from a combination of brushed and polished stainless steel. The case is the same as you’ll find on every F1 Chronograph, with a design based on the third-generation Autavia from the 1970s.
What is unique to the Senna Formula 1 Edition is what TAG Heuer calls the “Legends” bracelet, a.k.a. the distinctive bracelet from the Link series. The rationale for using the Link bracelet is that it was the Link Senna editions that established the Senna and TAG Heuer connection, so using the bracelet on the 2016 editions is a nice way of maintaining a connection to those watches from the early 2000s.
The Senna logo also makes an appearance on the steel caseback, along with the usual chequered flag pattern
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Senna WAZ1012.BA0883
New to the 2016 Senna collection is the addition of a 3-hand quartz watch. And it’s a true partner watch to the Chronograph, with a matching 43mm case, “Legends” bracelet and black and red colour scheme.
Dial & Bezel
The 2016 Senna Edition features a black dial with red detailing- the “Formula 1” text on the dial and the 15, 30 and 45 minute markers joining the 60 minute triangle on the inner minuterie flange. Of course, there is also the red Senna logo, this time appearing at the 9 o’clock position rather than 3 o’clock as on the chrono.
When relaunched in 2015, the Formula 1 quartz watch was offered with a 41mm case, 2mm smaller than its chronograph brother. But in the age of TAG Heuer up-sizing, the 2016 models have grown to 43mm, with the chronograph thankfully staying at the same size rather than pushing up to 44/ 45mm.
On the wrist
2016 Formula 1 Senna Chronograph
2016 Formula 1 Senna Watch
Pricing and Availability- 2016 TAG Heuer Senna Editions
- Formula 1 Senna Chronograph- CAZ1015: US$1,600
- Formula 1 Senna Watch- WAZ1012: US$1,400
If you’re in the market for a Formula 1, then these models are well worth a look as you get the usual Formula 1 value and practicality, but with the added benefit of the Senna connection.