My first watch of 2010 arrived this week and its something a little different from the usual 1970s Heuer Chronographs- a 1990 TAG Heuer F1 quartz Chronograph (ref. CA 1211-RO). I’m planning a more detailed look at the TAG Heuer F1 series shortly, so today only a brief overview of this watch.
This is the second series F1 watch, and the first to come with a chronograph function, via an ETA 251.262 quartz movement. While its 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 USD795 in the early 1990s- well over 10X the cost of a comparable Swatch.
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” F1 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 USD300. That’s a lot of watch for the cost of a vintage Heuer bracelet.
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.
Photos- TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph 1/ 10th Second