Let’s put things into context. The TAG Heuer Formula 1 was for a very long time a great looking entry-level quartz watch for your brand. Early on, they had trendy vibrant plastic bezels and very neat dial layouts. A few years back, they climbed up to be the daily quartz beater see we wanted. Following that, TAG Heuer took what I believe was a step backward in regard to both quality and design, while kicking up the price and also including an automatic variant. For 2014 TAG Heuer appears to have started to figure out how to acquire the Formula 1 groove back, but these pieces are all mechanical.You will not hear me complain frequently a watch is mechanical, and in theory I appreciate these automatic watches. I do believe TAG Heuer had a great thing going with an more accessibly-priced entry level range that concentrated on quartz offerings at a price of under $1,000. If you wanted to enter something more lavish and mechanical you had the Link, Aquaracer, Monaco, and of course, Carrera families to do so. Though the Formula 1 set is still technically entry-level for the brand, and there are quartz versions available, I think the consumer is left wit a lot of confusing choices.Perhaps I’m simply being nostalgic that I need the Formula 1 range accessible to the widest possible demographic and also become a wonderful daily game watch for everybody. TAG Heuer has experimented with the Formula 1 set which makes it more mainstream, more manly, and more “racing.” Every one of these steps has had its share of good ideas, but I don’t think that Formula 1 right now is as appealing an offering as, say, a Carrera or a Monaco.
Earlier this year, three sporty Ayrton Senna special edition watches from TAG Heuer were announced to mark 30 years since the champion race car driver won the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time in 1987. More important are the watches themselves, which are cool-looking with a mix of different design touches, in addition to the more explicit Senna logo branding. The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Ayrton Senna Special Edition leads the pack, displaying an evolving look for the still young Heuer-01, and the quartz Formula 1 Ayrton Senna Special Edition models offer more affordable options in three-hand and chronograph versions.
All hands-on photos by Bilal Khan
Ayrton Senna is one of TAG Heuer’s most important ambassadors in the brand’s already strong motorsport connection and was promoting TAG Heuer watches before he died in the early ’90s. Then, back in 2015, TAG brought Ayrton Senna watches back with, again, a Carrera and a couple of Formula 1 models that we covered here.
Let’s talk about the new watches. All three of the new TAG Heuer Carrera Ayrton Senna Special Edition watches share a few elements, like black PVD-coated cases and generous applications of red. While not always the case for co-branded watches, those attracted to the overall look will also need to be pretty ardent Senna fans as his logo (why don’t more individuals have logos?) and/or name appears on the dial, bezel, and caseback of all the watches. Then, there are the Link-style (“S-link”) bracelets – on non-Link-collection watches, of course – that are associated with TAG Heuer watches Senna prominently wore.
Beginning with the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Ayrton Senna, this shows that the relatively recently introduced Heuer-01 is a growing collection with a fluid style and identity. In fact, there are some fundamental differences that distinguish this Carrera Heuer-01 Ayrton Senna from other Heuer-01 watches and even from other Carrera watches, making clear that more thought and effort went into its production than just, say, some new colors and a logo (or three) slapped on. While there is continuity with past Heuer-01 models in the skeletonized dial and thick ceramic bezel, the angular case and lugs of the Heuer-01 (as reviewed here in an early form) have been rounded off significantly.
The long, angular lugs are a defining Carrera feature, at least in my mind, and the change here was likely necessary to accommodate the curvy Link-style bracelet – which is important. It is important because this look is closely associated with Senna, and you’ll find it in some form or another in the various TAG Heuer Ayrton Senna watches. Like the case, it is brushed, black PVD-coated steel and this Link bracelet – with more angular edges than the old Link watches had – looks modern and cool. It is interesting how multiple well-known elements from different TAG Heuer watches have come together without feeling like a collage.
Remember how the Formula 1 used to be purely quartz? The brand new range (which we’ll call the 2015 TAG Heuer Formula 1 to differentiate it from the present models) is currently automatic. And the iconic case shape that we’ve all become familiar with over the years? Possessing a competitive entry-level range is more important than ever for TAG Heuer, so it makes sense to update 1, even though we watched a brand new Calibre 16 Chronograph model as lately as last year.We had a chance to test drive several models from the new range a couple weeks ago in Switzerland to bring you this exclusive first look at the brand new F1.The iconic Formula 1 shape has been the one constants of this show since its launch way back in 1986. Originally coated in Fibreglass (previously), the substances evolved over the decades to include all-steel cases, with Fibreglass eventually dropped from the early 1990s. If you’re a newcomer to the Formula 1, then you really should check out our Ultimate Guide to the TAG Heuer Formula 1 to find out all about the version’s history.The new 2015 TAG Heuer Formula 1 choice abandons the conventional case design for a shape foundation heavily about the second-generation Heuer Autavia from 1969, because you can view below.Of course this is not the first time we’ve seen the Autavia revived- there was the TAG Heuer Autavia Re-edition from 2003- under. Even though the new F1 instance is very similar to the 2003 Autavia, the concluding is very different. Note the way the Autavia below has a beautiful starburst complete on the cap of the situation and polished components? Cost considerations mean this is not possible for the Formula 1.
Remember how the Formula 1 used to be purely quartz? The brand new range (which we will call the 2015 TAG Heuer Formula 1 to distinguish it from the existing versions) is now mainly automatic. And the iconic instance shape that we’ve all become acquainted with over the years? That’s also altered, with a totally new design, albeit one based on one of Heuer’s most famous watches.The Formula 1 has ever been an important watch to the new, being aimed at bringing a younger, sportier buyer into a TAG Heuer for the very first time. Possessing a competitive entry-level array is more important than ever for TAG Heuer, so it is reasonable to upgrade the Formula 1, even though we watched a new Calibre 16 Chronograph version as lately as last year.We had a chance to test drive several models from the brand new range a couple weeks ago in Switzerland to bring you this exclusive first look at the brand new F1.The iconic Formula 1 shape was the one constants of this series since its launch way back in 1986. Initially coated in Fibreglass (previously), the materials evolved over the years to include all-steel instances, together with Fibreglass eventually dropped from the early 1990s. If you’re a newcomer to the Formula 1, then you really should check out our Ultimate Guide to the TAG Heuer Formula 1 to learn about the model’s history.The brand new 2015 TAG Heuer Formula 1 range abandons the traditional case design to get a shape foundation heavily on the second-generation Heuer Autavia out of 1969, because you can view below.Of course this isn’t the first time we have observed the Autavia restored- there was the TAG Heuer Autavia Re-edition from 2003- below. Even though the new F1 case is very similar to the 2003 Autavia, the finishing is quite different. Notice how the Autavia beneath has a beautiful starburst complete on the top of the case and polished elements? Cost factors mean this is not possible for the Formula 1.
The Chronograph has its own strap- a blue base strap with fundamental Orange stripe and two little white stripes.The Chronograph employs the typical steel Formula 1 case back, which includes the chequered flag layout. Sitting behind the caseback is the Ronda 5040D quartz movement. The Chronograph provides the following performance: 3 o’clock enroll- running moments (time),6 o’clock enroll- 1/ 10th second and hour (chronograph),9 o’clock register- 30 minute (chronograph),1/ 10th second AND a hour index on the exact same register? Yes, how it works is that any occasion timed for less than 30 minutes will demonstrate the 1/ 10th next scale. Following 30 minutes which register now displays hours with mark for every single half-hour and the 1/10th timing is lost.The second blue-dial model in the range is a 3-hand watch. As opposed to just being the non-chronograph version of CAZ1014, there are numerous differences between both versions.43mm is a brand new case size for your Formula 1 watch- traditionally, the Chronograph has been offered in a 43mm case, but the typical watch maxed out in 41mm…but no more. The reason for this is a deal with Formula 1 to ensure it is crystal clear that the watch is not sanctioned by Formula 1, but rather is a renowned TAG Heuer brand.Like its Chronograph brother, the watch is water-resistant to 200m. It’s time to forget everything that you thought you understood about the TAG Heuer Formula 1 series, since within the previous 12 months the much-loved F1 has undergone its biggest changes in the model’s 28-year history. Yes, the watch is still entry-level in terms of pricing, but everything else has changed.
That said, the sporty minute-indicator-style of the hour markers and other TAG touches help keep the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Ayrton Senna unmistakably a Carrera. Even the skeletonization style of the dial is different from the standard Heuer-01, and together all these elements constitute a pretty fresh take on the Carrera. Take a look at Ariel’s comparison review of the Carrera 1887 Automatic Chronograph and the Carrera Heuer 01 to get a more in-depth look at the differences and commonalities between these two sides of the TAG Heuer Carrera coin.
With the introduction of a version in ceramic, as well as a welcome 43mm version of the TAG Heuer Heuer-01, it kind of makes me think we could have had a 43mm version in black ceramic, which would have been cool. Instead, we are back up to a formidable 45mm in black PVD-coated, brushed steel (water-resistant to 100m). A domed and anti-reflective-treated sapphire crystal, of course, protects the dial. The dial is horizontally brushed, and it’s cool how the automotive-looking skeletonization pattern incorporates the hour markers.
While the sportier Carrera chronographs, especially those with the five-minute-style hour markers such as this, can be a bit busy, the skeletonization and smattering of colors makes this dial even more so. Note that the chronograph hands are all red, while the hands for the time are silver. Senna’s logo in the running seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock and can be found again on the bezel along with the obligatory tachymeter scale. Honestly, it’s a little tough to see where the date is supposed to be read at first, but it’s at 3:30 with a white background, as on the other Carrera Heuer-01 versions.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 is powered, of course, by TAG’s in-house Heuer-01 movement which we have discussed in detail in previous articles and reviews. It features a column wheel for smoother chronograph operation and runs at 4Hz with a respectable 50 hour power reserve. It’s a good looking movement but you’ll have to try to appreciate it through, once again, the Senna and TAG Heuer logos printed on the sapphire crystal plus the large black PVD rotor – but what did you expect?
Moving on to the more affordable Ayrton Senna Special Edition watches that are in the Formula 1 collection. These are a quartz-powered three-hand model and a quartz chronograph. They share a lot of the same style cues as the Heuer-01 model, with black PVD cases and black dials paired with a lot of sporty red. Vertical red lines on the dials of both Formula 1 models apparently reference the tire marks of a speeding race car. In both cases, the Senna logo (that at a glance reminds me of the Japanese hot spring symbol: ♨) is, once again, in red at 9 o’clock.
So what to make of this Autavia serving as the foundation for your new F1? Our view hasn’t changed since we previewed the new range at Baselworld back in March: it is great to have the identifying Autavia case back in the range, but we wish it had been used to relaunch the Autavia itself rather than to only be absorbed into the Formula 1 DNA. I guess that Heuer collectors will feel exactly the same manner, but the reality is, the vast majority of people will judge the new watch on its own merits rather than worrying about the past.Before we dive into the new selection, lets tackle the obvious question: what happens to the existing Formula 1 array? After all, the Calibre 16 models (under) were only launched last year.For now, the official word is that the 2 ranges will be sold alongside each-other. .although we would expect that to change from the medium-term as the brand new case design takes over.Dismissing that the TAG Heuer Formula 1 choice as solely quartz versions, Angus Davies found an automatic model within the scope. His curiosity piqued, he opted to examine the watch, which comprises the self-winding Calibre 16 movement, in much more detail.Like many guys of my generation, as gray hair began to replicate my sideburns and my hairline started to recede, I lamented, “Things are not what they used to be”. Listening to current-day music, I found myself referring to it as “crap” and stating that “In my day, we had proper songs”. The reality is that history repeats itself and I now seem like the dad I recall in my adolescent youth.Objectivity can sometimes be skewed by the emotional attachment we delegate to past encounters.
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ayrton Senna Special Edition watches are both 43mm wide (water-resistant to 200m) and feature a minute track (and Senna logo) on the brushed steel bezels. No “S-link” steel bracelet here, but they come with black and red rubber straps that mimic that look. The Senna logo again appears on the steel casebacks.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-01 Ayrton Senna Special Edition (ref. CAR2A1L.BA0688) is naturally going to be a bit more than the standard version, and will have USD price of $6,200. The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ayrton Senna Chronograph Special Edition (reference CAZ1019.FT8027) will have a price of $1,650 and the three-hand TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ayrton Senna (reference WAZ1014.FT8027) will be $1,450. tagheuer.com
Consistently striving for brilliance as well as the not ‘give up mindset’ shows in TAG Heuer’s special edition, which foundation itself on the heritage and tradition the two manufacturers have assembled over time. The watch is drenched in the Club’s hues and looks every inch worth the cost it comes at. It is extremely durable, made from steel and coated in black PVD. Together with the black carbide titanium fixed bezel and a slick tachymeter with raised number signs, the all black on black timepiece has an athletic appeal. The circumstance is 43 millimeters in diameter and with this size it has a significant presence on the wrist (further fuelled by the color scheme). The black dial houses a chronograph 30-minute screen adjacent to the 9 index, another’s counter reverse 3 o’clock, both on a hypnotic round pattern. The highlight is that the Manchester United crest using the Red Devil and also the added complication of a 1/10th second counter at 6 o’clock. The 1/10th minute’s ‘red’ hand completes one revolution with every swipe of the chrono minutes hand, which makes this chronograph a visual magnificent cure for any watch aficionado. The dial has the date window positioned at 4 o’clock from a white background and polished black and white hour and minute hands which are Super-LumiNova powered, the two attributes resulting in better legibility. The TAG Heuer emblem is positioned and is boldly observable under the Arabic numeral 12 (completed in red lacquer). The hour indicating design is extremely riveting — although 12 o’clock is denoted in bold red, all other hours are indicated by Super-LumiNova coated indices. Approximately these indices runs on the second track in white, with every fifth minute in crimson.