Tag Heuer Formula 1 Watches from LSMwatch.com
The Tag Heuer Formula 1 watch holds a unique place in the watcher makers history as it was the first watch to be released by the company after it was acquired by Techniques d’Avant Garde in 1985 and the moniker TAG was officially added to the name. The Formula 1 watch was the first analogue TAG Heuer series to be quartz-only and to this day there has never been an automatic model released. The Formula 1 watch marks a shift in Tag Heuer's business model featuring a synthetic case, bright colours, low-cost movements and simple packaging to try to tempt buyers back to Swiss watches. The name Formula 1 came to represent a symbolic link between the newly merged companies as Heuer had been a sponsor of Ferrari during the 1970s, while TAG was the principal sponsor of the Williams team from 1979-1981, and funded the development of the Porsche 1.5 liter turbo engine that would power TAG cars to consecutive World Championships in 1984 and 1985.
Since its release in 1985 the Tag Heuer Formula 1 has gone on to enjoy immense success selling over 3 million watches through the year 2000 when the original model was discontinued.
The first series of the Tag Heuer Formula 1 watch family featured an innovative construction with a mixture of a stainless steel coated with fiberglass having the option of two different sizes of brightly colored cases matched to plastic straps that could be cut to size for the band. The design of the original Tag Heuer Formula 1 watch was unlike any other contemporary TAG Heuer watches. The only familiar design traits being the Mercedes-style hands of the dial already used on the Diver series of watches from Tag Heuer. In 1987, the range expanded to include a stainless steel case and bracelet as well as a range of new colors while the fiberglass models continued to be sold until 1994.
In 1989, Tag Heuer introduced the first generation of the Formula 1 watch to feature a chronograph function powered by a complex mechanical-quartz movement. The watch showcased an unusual date function on the 6 o’clock register, elapsed minutes at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. The movements featured in this watch were very delicate and hard to service so in less than two years the second generation Formula 1 chronograph watch was introduced by Tag Heuer.
The second generation of the Formula 1 Chronograph was introduced in 1991 highlighting an attractive, more classical dial than the First Generation Chronograph and a much-improved Chronograph movement.
In 1998, after having gone nearly 12 years without updating the model, Tag Heuer launched a new Formula 1 watch series, dropping the basic watch and upgrading the Chronograph model. The Series 2 Formula 1 Chronograph watch uses the same case design as the original, but with a distinctly different dial holding a minute scale on the outer-edge with numeral hour-markets, and a patterned inner circle of the watch.
In 2000 the Formula 1 watch was discontinued by Tag Heuer, the issue was not a lack of sales, but more that the low-cost Formula 1 didn’t fit with the plans of Tag Heuer to define the brand through luxury rather than affordability. The problem was that while the low-cost ethos of the Formula 1 made sense in 1985, but since the market had changed to the extent that a watch using mineral glass and a plastic bezel was simply seen as cheap in 2000.
Four years later in 2004 Tag Heuer released an updated model of the Formula 1 featuring a titanium-carbide coated steel bezel with a stainless steel case and a sapphire crystal. The dial introduced a totally new look for the Formula 1 series, with metal hour-markers and numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock of the watch. Also, new were the triangular hands. What did not change on the watch was the basic shape of the case and bezel, which echo the original.
The Third Formula 1 watch of the series was released by Tag Heuer in 2004 and featured a 40mm case bringing the watch more into line with contemporary tastes as the original 34mm size now felt very small by today’s standards. The case and the bezel of the watch remained unchanged, but the overall look of the watch featured a more bulky yet trendy design which presented it as the youthful, less formal watch in the TAG Heuer lineage.
The fourth series of the Formula 1 watches from Tag Heuer was introduced in 2007 featuring a 41mm case with a Chronograph function on the watch and once again used improved materials, most notably the finishing on the bezel which now used raised fine-brushed numbers. The distinguishing design detail of the new Formula 1 Chronograph was the over-sized 6 o’clock register, framed by a silver ring. In 2008, the "Grande Series" of the fourth series Formula 1 watch was released with a 44mm case.
The fourth series of this watch is still in production today as the Formula 1 watch has been continually re-invented over the years while maintaining its sporty yet elegant design, known for its reliability and resilience while still being an affordable luxury watch.