There’s a common misconception that to own a luxury watch under $1000 these days; you’d have to be willing to compromise on accuracy and/or performance – not true. Why, you ask? Because many prestigious watch brands today are honing into the needs of the modern-day luxury watch collector. The good news is that you can get your hands on a wristwatch that combines ruggedly handsome good looks, a Swiss-made quartz movement of the very highest quality, and a feature-packed spec list as long as your arm, all for under $1000 quite effortlessly. If you know what to look for!
Do the words “affordable casual sports watch” get your pulse racing? How about if we said you could get hold of one from TAG Heuer’s globally-loved Formula 1 collection? Worn by some of the world’s most famous and successful Formula 1 racing drivers, the timepieces from this reputable line combine cutting edge technology with stealth-like aesthetics. Put simply – they’re perfect for those with a fast-paced life.
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Quartz WAZ1110.FT8023 model in a 41mm stainless steel case and a sleek black PVD coated unidirectional rotating bezel displays the time through a bold and highly-legible three-handed dial display in black.
The luminous coated baton indexes and hands are a pleasant match for a practical date aperture located at 3 o’clock. Equipped with a Swiss-made quartz movement at its center, the 200-meter water-resistant case of this value-for-money watch will enable you to snorkel, take a shower or enjoy a spot of swimming with its supple black rubber strap secured firmly to the wrist.
Subtle yet sporty injections of red color are cast across the surface of the dial. They can be seen at the tip of the second’s hand and in the iconic “Formula 1” lettering itself. TAG Heuer certainly built this impeccable timekeeping tool for those wanting a wristwatch that could straddle that gap between luxury and accessibility comfortably – and the tag heuer formula 1 quartz chronograph watch does it so well.
Aside from its ability to pair well with pretty much every outfit in your wardrobe, TAG’s ingenious approach to material research and development ensures this watch is going to withstand knocks, bumps, and scratches to the tenth degree. A sapphire crystal glass front further supports this gent’s TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch based on durability, since the lens is fortified with scratch-resistant technology.
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 has a special place in the brand’s history, being the first watch released following the acquisition of Heuer by Techniques d’Avant Garde (“TAG”) in 1986. While Heuer had spent the late 1970s and early 1980s desperately trying to make money from mechanical watches that were designed for a very different competitive environment, the Formula 1 was a watch of its time. It was the first analogue Heuer/ TAG Heuer series to be quartz-only and to this day there has never been an automatic model.
The inspiration for the Formula 1 was the success of the Swatch watch, which had been launched at Basel in 1983. The quartz crisis of the 1970s had forced the Swiss to re-think how to engineer a watch to make money at a much lower selling price- the F1 was priced around 30-50% of the price of an Autavia.
While the F1 was not as cheap as the Swatch, it used the same ideological template: a synthetic case, bright colours, low-cost movements and simple sales packaging to try to tempt buyers back to Swiss watches. And like the Swatch, it was a huge sales success.
The choice of name was also symbolic of the new TAG Heuer, as perhaps the only thing that TAG and Heuer had it common was their link to Formula 1 racing. Heuer had of course been a sponsor of Ferrari during the 1970s, while TAG was the principal sponsor of the Williams team from 1979-1981, before buying 50% of McLaren International at the end of the 1981 season. TAG then funded the development of the Porsche 1.5 litre turbo engine that would power the McLaren- TAG cars to consecutive World Championships in 1984 and 1985.
Despite the immense success of the Formula 1 series, the watch was discontinued in 2000, having sold more than 3 million units. Brought back a few years later, the Formula 1 remains a key part of the TAG Heuer range focused on the value-end of the market.
The Formula 1 has been able to establish itself as the sporting, unpretentious model in the TAG Heuer range. The watch that it’s OK to buy in bright Orange and the watch that I’d always choose in quartz, even if TAG Heuer did offer a mechanical version. For many people it was more than this: it was their first “proper” watch.
My memory of the watch is seeing the McLaren team wearing the red version as part of their team uniform for the Grand Prix. Combined with the fact that TAG engines were winning races seemingly every weekend, the watch had real credibility as the Formula 1 watch from the minute it was launched.
As with many low-cost, innovative designs, the tag heuer formula 1 quartz chronograph watch has become more expensive and conservative over time. But the spirit of the original is still there in today’s Formula 1 and there is still a place for the watch is today’s TAG Heuer range, even as the focus of the company switches to complex mechanical movements.