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

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