Up Close- TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph 1/10th (Ref. CA1211-RO)

Last Updated on July 18, 2020 by Calibre 11

While the first TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch was a 3-hand time-only watch, the range quickly expanded to include a Chronograph model. And this watch is a fantastic example of the early F1 Chronographs- a 1990 TAG Heuer F1 quartz Chronograph (ref. CA1211-RO). You can read more about the history of the Formula 1 series in our Ultimate Guide, but here is a brief overview of the Formula 1 Chronograph.

This is the second series Formula 1 watch, and the first to come with a chronograph function, via an ETA 251.262 quartz movement. While it’s tempting to think of the F1 as TAG’s “Swatch”, this was no cut-price special- the original price tag on this one shows that it cost US$795 in the early 1990s- well over 10X the cost of a comparable Swatch.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronopgraph Reference 571.513

Wearing the watch today the first thing that you notice is the size- at 36mm it feels very, very small. The first two series of the F1 only came in what TAG called mid-size, and with tastes today pushing well into the +40mm size range, this one feels light and small. In fact the small size is really the only aspect that dates this watch to being from an earlier time. The rest of the design is very clean, functional and crisp- just how I like my watches.

But the best bit about buying a “vintage” Formula 1 today? The price. This almost NOS example with perfect bezel, dial, case, full length bracelet, original sales box plus outer box, all papers, swing tag and original price sticker cost US$300. That’s a lot of watch for the cost of a vintage Heuer bracelet.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronopgraph Reference 571.513

I don’t think that it will replace the vintage Calibre 12 chronographs in my collection too often, but its perfect for the weekends.

My thanks also to David (“dmr33”) at WatchUseek for his background information on the F1.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronopgraph Reference 571.513

Photos- TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph 1/ 10th Second (Ref. CA1211-RO)