TAG Heuer are as known for their racing ties as they are for their high-end Swiss luxury watches. And that makes a lot of sense, considering they’re currently the official partner of Red Bull Racing and have picked up the title sponsorship of the pagoda at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On the flip side, the brand has never let their seemingly singular-minded racing aesthetic stand in the way of continual innovation. TAG Heuer is a company that adapts to changing times and continually strives to push the envelope and deliver fresh looks and interesting watches to their customers, which is a part of why they have such a powerful fanbase amongst collectors on a global scale.
Of course, there’s one watch that’s been a staple of their catalogue and continues to set the pace for the company: The Formula 1.
In 1969, Seiko shook up the world of luxury watches by introducing the Astron, a fully quartz-powered watch that pretty much blew away its mechanical counterparts in terms of accuracy.
This was known as the quartz crisis, or The Great Quartz Crisis if you’re the dramatic type, which we totally are.
The entire Swiss watch industry was dealt a blow, and each of the watchmaking giants of the time had to find its own path forward. Essentially, Seiko provided a way to more cheaply manufacture amazing watches that were far more accurate than the mechanical watches of yore. If you’re a luxury watch brand with 150 years of mechanical tradition behind you, how do you compete with that?
TAG Heuer’s answer came more than a decade later with the release of the Formula 1 line. Released in 1986 into a world that was becoming inundated with digital displays and $10 gas station watches with gaudy birthday party aesthetics, TAG Heuer saw the opportunity to incorporate the power of quartz movement into their high-end Swiss analog watches, and that became the driving philosophy behind the soon-to-be-famous Formula 1s.
As time passed, most of the Swiss watch giants recovered and went on with their business of making some of the most meticulously crafted machines in human history (although many of these companies looked a lot different than they did before the quartz crisis). It turns out that the demand for a true work of art like a mechanical watch will never go away. TAG Heuer also continued make mechanical watches alongside the Formula 1, but their reputation was changed forever from that point on.
On the one hand, mechanical watch purists often lambasted the company for what they saw as giving in to mass appeal and adopting quartz technology. On the other hand, that quartz technology also helped make the price of entry into the world of Swiss luxury more attainable for people all around the world, and they became a smashing success that still endures today.
Another powerful driving factor behind the watch’s success was, and is, the racing-chic aesthetic that permeates every entry of the Formula 1 series. These watches just ooze that engine-revving, pulse pumping look that sets them apart with their instrument panel-esque dials and sleek designs.
On top of that, there is such a huge variety in the Formula 1 series that you could be in a room filled with people wearing them and find that no two look the same.
So, as expected, we decided to celebrate these magnificent racecar driver dream watches by presenting a curated list of Formula 1s that we have in stock and ready to ship.
Get ready. Get set. Get watches.
Here we have a classic, no-frills example of the Formula 1 in all its glory. The high quality can be seen across every millimeter, from the incredible reflective blue dial down to the quality of the crown, which by the way is a joy to operate.
The black rubber strap is holed for breathability and adds to the high-speed look of the piece. The orange secondhand and racing logo-esque TAG Heuer branding at 12 o’clock cements the aesthetic.
This is a watch you wear to the track on race day. Even while wearing a jumpsuit that’s peppered with sponsorship logos, all eyes will be on your wrist when you step into your racing machine.
Next up is a Formula 1 that is completely different from what you just saw in pretty much every way.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first.
While Formula 1s are famous for being quartz powered, and strictly conformed to that description for decades, there now exist mechanical iterations of the series. This watch happens to be one of those, and is powered by the TAG Heuer Calibre 16 movement, one of the most successful automatic movements in modern watchmaking. So for those mechanical purists out there, you absolutely can get a Formula 1 and wear it as proudly as you would your Omegas and your Breitlings.
You’ll also notice that this is a chronograph with three sub dials and chronograph controls on the side. That’s because Formula 1s come in a variety of flavors, some only having a single sub dial at 6 o’clock, and then the more complex configurations like this one.
The slate grey dial, however, is just as gorgeous as the previous watch’s blue dial, though the resulting look is a little edgier if you ask us. Also, there’s a stainless steel bracelet (TAG Heuer makes great bracelets!) in place of the rubber strap.
Just in case you didn’t believe us that there’s a Formula 1 for every taste, we present to you Exhibit C.
This Formula 1 merges high-octane design with a classy look that’s absolutely dripping with luxury. The mother of pearl dial is elegantly presented with accompanying silver toned markers that only add to the grandeur. The bezel is lined with dozens of glittering diamonds. The green leather strap is the icing on the cake.
The thing is that under all of this incredibly crafted opulence is the core of the Formula 1 design. It’s still a ruggedly built racing machine, but it’s also something that could be worn to a ball at Buckingham Palace.
And that’s what really illustrates why we love these watches so much. They’re adaptable to all tastes and all styles, but at their core they’re still quintessentially TAG Heuer. Uncompromising Swiss luxury watches with a taste for high speeds.
If you’re interested in getting a Formula 1 for yourself, but none of the above look like the right fit for you, browse our in-stock inventory and you’ll be sure to find one that is.