TAG Heuer’s history with Formula 1 started in 1968 when Jack Heuer, great-grandson of the brand’s founder, signed their first sponsorship agreement with the venerable Swiss racing driver, Jo Siffert. Their logo, proudly shown on Siffert’s car and racing suit, became a prominent sight on the racetrack, influencing many other drivers to don TAG Heuer’s timepieces. In this way, TAG Heuer’s association with F1 was cemented. In 1986, the watch manufacture launched the original Formula 1 collection featuring an innovative fibreglass-coated stainless-steel case, adorned with bright colours and a Swiss quartz movement. The novel appointments resulted from unrestrained experimentation that gave birth to many of TAG Heuer’s other iconic designs. In 2021, the collection is still going strong with 4 new models being released to celebrate the start of the F1 season in Bahrain.
The 2021 line-up consists of three new chronographs and a three-hand model. All sport a 43mm steel case, ceramic bezel, asphalt-textured dial, and of course, vivid colours reminiscent of F1 cars. With the new additions to the Formula 1 collection, TAG Heuer kept its classic bold orange colouration, dating back to the 1970s and Jack Heuer’s famed “Orange Boy” Autavia, and introduced a new lime yellow. Both colours contrast beautifully with the black dial and ceramic bezel, giving the timepieces a cheeky, sporty look, that is at home both on the street or the track. Apart from the intrepidly urban aesthetic, the sharp contrast in colours also work with the Super-LumiNova coated hands and markers to ensure superior legibility in all conditions, giving the wearer the freedom to confidently explore any environment.
Of the four models, the three-hand watch (ref. WAZ101A.FC8305) stands out the most for several reasons. The most obvious difference is the lack of a chronograph complication, resulting in a less cluttered dial. Secondly, while its dial is asphalt-textured like the rest, it abandons the black for a vibrant shade of orange. It also sports a different bezel from the rest. The black ceramic unidirectional bezel has a 60 minute scale to track elapsed time, giving this timepiece a more diver-inspired look. An aesthetic enhanced by a sapphire crystal, protected screw-down crown and 200 metres of water resistance. TAG Heuer made the ref. WAZ101A.FC8305 different from the others in its Formula 1 collection as this is meant to be an online exclusive available only through their web boutique, made in a limited batch of 4,000 pieces.
Moving to the chronographs, in terms construction and materials used, they are virtually identical to the three-hand model, featuring stainless-steel cases, sapphire crystals, black ceramic bezels, screw-down crown, and 200 metres of water resistance. Where they differ is in functionality. Compared to the diver-inspired aesthetics of the previous watch, these timepieces are based off those used by racing drivers since time immemorial. The chronograph complication allows users a convenient way of tracking elapsed time and laps, while the fixed tachymeter bezel provides a means with which to measure speed and distance travelled. Both functions are indispensable for professional racers, and highlight TAG Heuer’s close relationship with racing. The chronographs are available with either orange indexes and a steel bracelet (ref. CAZ101AH.BA0842), or in lime yellow with a bracelet (ref. CAZ101AG.BA0842) or a harness-inspired nylon strap (ref. CAZ101AG.FC8304).
There are two reasons that people religiously follow F1 races and their favourite races: fast cars, and powerful emotions of freedom and exhilaration. The essences of both have been flawlessly distilled by TAG Heuer in these new additions to their Formula 1 collection. Owning one of these bold timepieces goes beyond having an attractively functional tool. To own one of them is to have a piece of racing history, and the unbridled freedom and speed of the F1 driver strapped to your wrist. To find out more about the Formula 1 collection and own one of these iconic pieces of racing history, head over to TAG Heuer’s website.
All images courtesy of TAG Heuer.