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About TAG Heuer Formula 1 Watches

Inspired by the relationship that TAG Heuer has with motorsports, the Formula 1 collection was launched in 1986. However, the company’s expertise in racing goes back much further to when, in 1933, Heuer’s Autavia became the first stopwatch ever to be installed in the dashboard of a car. And when TAG acquired the Heuer company in 1986, they came with their own racing background.

The Formula 1 line of watches was the debut release of TAG and Heuer together—and it was certainly a departure from the places Heuer had been on its own. The original Formula 1 was modern in its styling and made use of the less expensive quartz movement that the market demanded. The case combined fiberglass and steel to create a watch that was meant to perform under extreme conditions, but it was also comfortable enough to be worn every day.

Formula 1 Series 1

In the first series, designer Eddy Burgener (from 1986-1990) included key features such as synthetic cases and bright colors, similar to the features that were garnering so much attention for the Swatch brand. Two face sizes (28mm and 34mm) were made available and the rubbery-plastic straps could be custom-cut to fit. Stainless steel cases and new colors were added the following year and a chronograph version then followed in 1989.

Formula 1 Series 2

From 1997-2000, the F1 collection appeared cosmetically different, with a new dial including numbers at the hour markings, but with the same case design. The patterned circle inside the dial was more modern and, in some opinions, possibly a bit busy and complicated.

Formula 1 Discontinued

TAG Heuer’s holdings by LVMH steered the company in an up-market direction, and away from the still-profitable Formula 1 collection. This caused the watch series to be discontinued in 2000. But it didn’t take long for the company to realize it had only needed a break—Formula 1 was brought back in 2004 with a completely new design and advanced materials.

Formula 1 Series 3

While the basic shape of the bezel and case were still much the same, the rest of the watch took on a whole new personality. A sapphire crystal, a bezel made from steel coated in titanium-carbide, and a case made of 316L steel. An impressive increase in size (40mm) made the watch appearance more up to date, and black polyurethane cushions on the side of the case added to the sporty look. The chunky design of TAG Heuer’s series 3 Formula 1 was chunky, active and youthful.

Formula 1 Series 4

Evolving from the redesign in 2004, this next series (2007-2011) brought an even larger case (41mm) with a larger chronograph as well. Cushions were replaced with an engraved “TAG Heuer” branding along the side of the case. Several extensions were introduced throughout this series, keeping the watches trendy and stylish: Grad Date Chronograph, Grand Date Watch and another 2010 revision.

Formula 1 Series 5

Series 5 brought about an entire revamping of the F1 (2012-2015), with a similar case shape but an even larger 42mm size. The busy designs from the previous series were replaced with clean lines, polished edges and improved quality, including automatic movements. No longer the entry-level watch it was when it was released in the 80s, the Formula 1 began coming into its own.

Formula 1 Series 6

Finally leaving behind the typical F1 case design, the 2015 model design is based on the vintage 1970s Heuer Autavia. Some quartz movements are still on the low end of the range, but mechanical movements have been upgraded. While maintaining the Formula 1 tradition, the current updated series is all about taking the collection into the future.