Formula 1: TAG Heuer's Entry-Level Collection
TAG Heuer has dedicated the Formula 1 collection to motorsport. Some of these sporty tool watches even feature a chronograph or GMT function thanks to their precise quartz or automatic movements. There are also special edition pieces for collectors.
The First TAG Heuer Watch
The watches in the Formula 1 collection play a special role in the TAG Heuer catalog. Released in 1986, they were the first timepieces to hit the market following Techniques d’Avant Garde's (TAG) takeover of Heuer the year before.
When creating the Formula 1, TAG Heuer's designer Eddy Burgener took cues from the era's popular Swatch watches. He crafted the case out of a stainless steel core and covered it in colorful fiberglass. A wide, gear-like bezel with large Arabic numerals for the minutes added an especially sporty touch. The original collection contained different three-hand and chronograph models powered by quartz calibers from Ronda or ETA.
Since its debut, the Formula 1 has undergone some significant changes. The colorful fiberglass cases became a thing of the past in the late 1990s, when they were replaced by solid stainless steel. What's more, TAG Heuer has been outfitting these watches with modified automatic calibers from ETA since 2012. Holdovers from the original design include the distinctive bezel and water resistance to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft). This means the Formula 1 is at home in the water as it is on the race track.
How much does the TAG Heuer Formula 1 cost?
|Model/Reference number||Price (approx.)||Caliber|
|380.513||220 USD||Ronda SA 705 (quartz)|
|WA1219||340 USD||ETA 955.412 (quartz)|
|CAC1111||560 USD||ETA 251.262 (quartz)|
|CAH1011||1,200 USD||Ronda 5040B (quartz)|
|WAZ2014||1,300 USD||Calibre 6 (automatic)|
|WAZ2011||1,500 USD||Calibre 5 (automatic)|
|WAZ211A||1,600 USD||Calibre 7 TT (automatic)|
|CAZ2015||2,100 USD||Calibre 16 (automatic)|
Especially Affordable: Quartz Models from the 80s and 90s
Models from the 1980s and 90s serve as the entry point into the TAG Heuer Formula 1 collection. You can purchase a colorful timepiece like the yellow and black ref. 380.513 with a 28-mm case and three hands for less than 230 USD. Depending on the year of production, either the quartz Ronda SA 705 or ETA 955.412 caliber powers these watches and provides them with a date display at 3 o'clock. The same movements also tick away inside the 34-mm stainless steel models from the mid-90s. Prices for these timepieces start around 320 USD.
The collection got its first chronographs in 1989. They feature the familiar colorful cases and a quartz Ronda movement. One special feature of these 39-mm watches is the pointer date found on a subdial at 6 o'clock. There's also a second counter at 3 and a minute counter at 9 o'clock. TAG Heuer only produced this exact model for about a year, making it very rare today. At 450 USD, this timepiece is a steal.
TAG Heuer manufactured its successor with the quartz ETA 251.262 from 1991 to 2000. Its movement comes with a subdial at 2 o'clock, which accurately displays the elapsed time to within a tenth of a second. The two other subdials at 10 and 6 o'clock serve as the hour counter and small seconds, respectively. A date display at 4 o'clock rounds out its functionality. You can find well-maintained timepieces selling for around 560 USD.
Since 2004: Less Color and a Bigger Date
In 2004, TAG Heuer's engineers treated the Formula 1 to a facelift. While these models have the same basic design as their predecessors, the bright colors and fiberglass outer case were relegated to history. Their larger, 40-mm cases are made purely of stainless steel with polyurethane bumpers on their sides – an idea that came from former F1 driver and TAG Heuer brand ambassador Kimi Räikkönen . The bezel contrasts nicely with the case thanks to its black PVD coating. The dial didn't even make it through unscathed. Its cleaner design includes applied indices and numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock. Sapphire glass protects the display and only adds to the sense of quality.
Depending on its condition, expect to pay between 510 and 650 USD for a three-hand watch with the quartz ETA caliber F06.111 and a date display at 4:30. Chronographs with the ETA G10.711 sit in the same price range. They have a counter for measuring tenths of a second at 2 o'clock, a minute counter at 6, and a small seconds at 10. There's also a date display between 4 and 5 o'clock.
TAG Heuer returned to Ronda quartz movements for 2009's Formula 1 Grande Date. As its name suggests, this 44-mm stainless steel watch features a large date display. In the three-hand model, this display shares its position at 6 o'clock with the small seconds dial. Well-maintained timepieces often cost around 700 USD.
The chronograph edition has its date display at 12 o'clock. The subdials at 2, 6, and 10 o'clock still serve as the two chronograph counters and a small seconds dial. Prices for these watches range from 590 USD for the stainless steel model with a black dial and rubber strap to 1,200 USD for the version with a panda dial and stainless steel bracelet.
Automatic ETA Calibers Since 2012
TAG Heuer first equipped the Formula 1 with an automatic caliber in 2012. They chose the Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement, which TAG Heuer refers to as the Calibre 16. These watches have a date display at 3, an hour counter at 6, a small seconds at 9, and a minute counter at 12 o'clock. The design of the first automatic models matches that of the quartz-powered Formula 1 chronographs. However, cases made after the 2015 redesign bear a stronger resemblance to the Heuer Autavia from the 1970s. Older models, such as the ref. CAU2011 with a stainless steel case and matching bracelet, change hands for about 1,800 USD. If you prefer the newer case, the stainless steel ref. CAZ2010 demands around 2,100 USD.
The Formula 1 collection has also seen the addition of more three-hand automatic models in recent years. One example is the Formula 1 Calibre 5. This sporty three-hand watch has a date display at 3 o'clock and gets its power from the ETA 2824-2. You can choose from three different sizes: 37, 41, or 43 mm. The smallest version is geared toward women thanks to its diamond-studded dial and bezel and costs roughly 3,400 USD new. Pre-owned pieces sell for around 2,600 USD. The men's models tend to cost between 1,100 and 1,600 USD depending on their condition.
The Formula 1 Calibre 6 is yet another three-hand watch with a date display. However, instead of a central second hand, it displays the seconds on a subdial at 6 o'clock. Prices for this 43-mm stainless steel watch range from 1,200 to 1,400 USD in mint condition. You'll find pre-owned pieces for under 1,100 USD.
The Calibre 7, based on the ETA 2893-2, serves as the beating heart of the Formula 1 Calibre 7 TT . It provides this timepiece with its GMT function, meaning it can display the time in two time zones simultaneously. This is made possible by an additional hand that points to the bezel with a 24-hour scale. To make it easier to tell day from night, the upper half of the bezel is blue (day) and the lower half is black (night). Plan to spend around 1,600 USD for a never-worn watch. Used, this practical timepiece requires an investment of about 1,300 USD.
Special Editions for Cristiano Ronaldo and David Guetta
TAG Heuer regular releases special editions of the Formula 1. In addition to racing-themed watches like the Aston Martin Racing, Max Verstappen, and Red Bull Racing, they've also produced some unusual timepieces. For example, the Swiss watch manufacturer has a special edition dedicated to the English soccer team Manchester United. The Portuguese striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, has also been honored with his own black and green Formula 1 CR7 watch. These timepieces all have one thing in common: they're quartz-powered chronographs. Even their prices are similar, coming in between 1,100 and 1,300 USD.
One exception is the Formula 1 David Guetta. This world-famous DJ is a TAG Heuer brand ambassador and fan of the Calibre 7 TT with a GMT function. Unlike the standard model, the Guetta edition has a black PVD coating and is worn on a black leather strap with a wide cuff. You can purchase this timepiece for around 1,900 USD in good condition.