The brand Tag Heuer is no stranger to anyone. It is often associated with motorsport, or as what we see today on the advertising board with Chris Hemsworth telling you not to crack under pressure. (With their tagline “Don’t Crack Under Pressure”.) But really, what good is Tag Heuer for anyone at all? In this case then, it will be a question of: What good can a Tag Heuer Formula 1 be good for anyone?
Let’s find out.
The Formula 1 Watch
As mentioned, Tag Heuer is a brand that contains a mixed bag of two different buyers. It’s either the motorsport enthusiasts, or the general consumer looking to buy their first entry luxury brand piece and getting hooked onto the brand itself. As for the one I have here, it’s an heirloom piece from the latter cause. It was the very first Swiss entry-luxury watch that my father handed over to me, while my younger brother took up his Victorinox Marverick II Chrono.
The Tag Heuer Formula 1 is a pretty fascinating watch. Given that it’s a Quartz Chronograph, it doesn’t take up any other watch’s design language, from what I know at least. If you haven’t known the origin of the Formula 1 line up already, you can read it on my previous post here.
The language of Formula 1 that I have here, as the model that was worn by Fernando Alonso in year 2008, is all fitted on top and into the 41mm stainless steel case with 11.5mm of case thickness, with an unidirectional titanium carbide coated 60-minutes bezel that shows the well chosen large Arabic numeral font that wearers can easily distinguish with a glance. The lug-to-lug length is just 44mm, which is heck easy for me to wear given that I have a very small wrist of about 5 and a half inches circumference. It is all thanks to the hidden lugs underneath the watch that allows the watch not to stretch further than overkill like most of the modern watches today in the market. With the Formula 1 sitting at 11.5mm of thickness, it sits snug under my long sleeves.
The black matte dial is accompanied by textured-circular sunburst sub-dials that are subtle yet pleasing to see under ample sunlight. Each of the hands and hour markers are well-polished and plays with the light well, giving off a very distinguished look overall that is well-contrasted against the colour of the dial. Each end of the hour markers are filled with lume, and so are the hour and minute hands. Tag Heuer is able to squeeze a date window that can be found on the 3.30 position among the busy dial layout, which is pretty unique and useful for today’s standard, considering it is usually on the 4 o’clock position replacing a marker, and the most basic needed complication of today’s every day watch.
The glass sitting on top of the watch is sapphire crystal, and on mine as you can see, it was badly damaged by my father back in the days with his intense work in furniture manufacturing. While on the side, two standard flushed pushers for chronograph functions and a screw down crown with a Tag Heuer shield sign on top. Of course with a screw down crown, and a ‘Professional’ tag line on the seconds sub dial welcomes a generous 200 meters depth water resistance rating.
Taking a look at the back of the Formula 1, a solid case back with engraved Tag Heuer logo and checkered texture on the half of the case back. Paying homage to the great Formula 1 racing, and of course, on how this watch is being marketed for motorsports. While the left side of the case is engraved with TAGHeuer, not any of my favourite move to be honest, but it can feel empty without it. At the end of the day, it’s all about the branding of this watch that puts it onto today’s market with its latest lineup.
The stock bracelet that comes with it are solid, and not sacrificing the quality in any corner, and even included an extension for people who uses it on the track on their racing suit. But for what I have to say is that, it is just way too long for my wrist, and I opted for leather straps from CheapestNatoStraps and WatchGecko. Though I’d still prefer the quality bracelet, this does the job pretty well for my racing themed watch.
What’s packed in the Formula 1 is the caliber ETA G10.212, a quartz chronograph movement with 4 rubies as jewels that ticks by seconds on the chronograph. On the dial itself has 3 sub dials, top left for minute chronograph, top right for 1/10 seconds chronograph, and bottom is a usual timekeeping seconds, while the centre red seconds hand is the seconds chronograph. Not to be confused with a lot of fashion quartz chronograph that has regular seconds hand at the centre of the dial. A reliable quartz movement that serves great for daily wear I would say, nothing special about the movement too.
As with the size of Formula 1, it is sized perfectly for someone like me. As Melbourne’s weather is unpredictable at all times, I would succumb to wearing long sleeves, sweatshirts, or pulling on layers that makes wearing a diver not as easy because of a thicker case.
The screw down crown with 200 meter of depth rating helps with rainy weather too. Though it is over-killing for a person to opt for a 200 meter rated watch, but of course, it is never gonna be too much.
Why the Formula 1?
If you’re reading this, you might be wondering “Why would anyone purchase this?” or you might just be reading along. Honestly speaking, other than its own design language as a motorsport watch catered for people who are into their first luxury, or an entry gateway for the higher line-up such as the Carerra, Autavia and Monaco, there is nothing special about this watch.
But what it will get you looking into, is the company’s struggle throughout the years. Ever since the downfall of Heuer, and the buyout of the company becoming Tag Heuer, and it surviving the quartz revolution and until today, offering a range of watches that is essentially the effect from the cause.
The Formula 1, too, has a special meaning to me since it is something of an heirloom, and it will continue being passed on from my hands to my younger brother, or my future little Vincents (lol). It was the special connection for anyone who will appreciate a timepiece and its design for what it is, and what story it has to tell before reaching to your hands, and what gateway it will open for someone who’s reading this, or about to make their very first step into the Swiss watchmaking products and going further onto their future purchases later on.
It serves as a stepping stone for anyone who would want a taste of quality and solid timepiece, as I can confirm that this Formula 1 has gone through so much beating as a beater watch for my father, that it is being presented at its state today on my wrist. It serves as a conversation starter for someone who had bought this watch with his months and years of savings and dropping that amount of money to purchase this watch, and feeling great for their very own achievement in their own respective context.
In my case, or in my mother’s case, it was the very gift that my mother has purchased for my father as a milestone celebration for them in business, and in life. A symbol, a memory and a produce of their blood and sweat invested in making the business a success, and for their children to have a decent meal every day. For that, I would love to thank my parents for the effort and sacrifice that they had made.
To close this off, although for anyone who called themselves an enthusiast in the watch world wouldn’t appreciate, nor purchase this piece for their collection, I urge you not to discourage people from purchasing any watch that they wanted, other than cheap rip-off fashion watches. As for some, it can be the perfect every day watch like how it has served my father in his younger days, and for some, it can be their ultimate luxury timepiece in their collection at that moment. Given with all the great specs on paper and an easy quartz slap on and get going, it is a great every day watch for me and many others.