Few brands are as synonymous with auto racing as TAG Heuer. When one thinks of motorsports and the watches that have played a role in their history, one cannot help but conjure up several of the brand’s iconic models, like the Carrera, Monaco, and Autavia. Recently, TAG Heuer unveiled the latest additions to its racing lineage, two new Formula 1 models inspired by the famed Brazilian Formula 1 champion, Ayrton Senna.
Senna — who won three Formula One World Drivers’ Championship in 1988, 1990, and 1991, before tragically dying in 1994 during that year’s San Marino Grand Prix — is a racing legend. In his time, he was best known for driving fast and fearlessly, filling each race with drama and passion, and always working to push himself and the sport just a bit farther.
To honor his legacy, TAG Heuer developed both a quartz-powered and an automatic watch, each featuring bezels with tachymetric scales up to 400 km/h (up from the traditional 240 km/h). These extended scales are a reference to the ever-increasing speeds of Formula 1 racing as well as an homage to Senna’s personal top speed of 340 km/hr, which represented his “driven and daring spirit,” according to the brand.
Formula 1 Automatic Chronograph
The Formula 1 Automatic Chronograph is the mechanical timepiece of the two Senna Special Editions. Its 44-mm polished and brushed steel case is host to rounded lugs with contrastingly sharp, square edges, along with flat-headed chronograph pushers and a large modern crown protected via shortened guards. Yellow, black, and steel accents are found throughout, with yellow in particular highlighting various details of the dial, case, and leather strap. Surrounding the sapphire crystal of the watch is a black ceramic bezel, fixed to the case and featuring the aforementioned 400 km/h scale; this feature is also accented with the logo of Senna Brands, a licensing company led by Bianca Senna, Ayrton Senna’s niece, which collaborated on the models’ development.
The anthracite colored sunray dial is surrounded by a curved, black outer minute ring. The model opts for trapezoidal applied hour markers, which match the style of the hour and minute hands; both the hands and markers feature rhodium plating and Super-LumiNova accenting. Subdials are located at the 12, 6, and 9 o’clock positions for the 30-minute counter, 12-hour counter, and running seconds, respectively, while the brand’s logo and a date window are found at the 3 o’clock position.
Inside the automatic model is the TAG Heuer Caliber 16, which is a brand-finished ETA 7750. The self-winding movement is capable of a 42-hour power reserve and is hidden behind a solid caseback bearing a Senna-inspired engraving.
Formula 1 Quartz Chronograph
The Formula 1 Quartz Chronograph, in its colors and overall styling, is very similar to the mechanical version, albeit with some of its own unique elements. The case of this model uses a brushed finishing, while its pushers appear to be more traditional than modern; the crown and its guard seem to be quite similar to the mechanical version’s, sans the yellow accenting. Surrounding the dial is a smiliar Senna-signed bezel with its 400 km/h scale, using an upgraded ceramic insert rather than opting for a less luxurious material, such as aluminum or steel.
The dial has the same anthracite sunburst center, though here its outer minute ring is somewhat lighter, in a gray tone color rather than the deep black seen on the mechanical version. Additionally, the dial configuration is quite different in the quartz edition, using applied rectangular markers throughout except for the 12 o’clock position, which opts for a large Arabic numeral. As for its subdials, the quartz model has two smaller ones, for the 30-minute counter and running seconds, off center toward the middle of the dial, and a larger 1/10th-second counter toward the bottom of the dial. Also of note are the 4 o’clock date window, as well as the TAG Heuer logo printed in white directly under 12 o’clock.
As its name indicates, the Senna-inspired 2020 special edition uses a quartz movement, ensconced behind what appears to be a laser etched commemorative caseback (in comparison to the mechanical model’s more three-dimensional engraving).
Price and Availability
Both the quartz and automatic watches are available now, either directly through TAG Heuer or via one of its authorized dealers. The Formula 1 Automatic Chronograph will retail at $3,200, while the Formula 1 Quartz Chronograph will sell for $2,100.
To learn more and inquire for purchase, you can visit TAG Heuer’s website, here.