TAG Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 16 Chronograph
At Baselworld 2014 all our eyes, including mine, were fixed on the new Carrera with panda dial and caliber CH80 only to find out that the project CH80 had been set aside so as to concentrate on the development of the caliber 1887, but, like it or not, it drew our attention away from the many new timepieces TAG Heuer has launched this year. During the show, however, I took a close look at all the novelties from this brand: TAG Heuer is among the most prolific brands at Baselworld and it usually doesn't just work on revamping a single collection but, by enlarge, revamps all its line ups either by launching completely new timepieces or just upgrading the existing ones.
But there's a third option that concerns the Formula 1 collection which is the entry being one of the most successful of the brand. TAG Heuer has debuted a new range that is actually not replacing the existing one but, rather, complements it. Among the many new models introduced is the new TAG Heuer Formula 1 Caliber 16 Chronograph that adds to the existing chrono while boasting a "vintage like" look and feel that clearly draws inspiration from the Autavia, an iconic model from TAG Heuer (photo property of Calibre11.com).
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Caliber 16 Chronograph's 43mm wide case is quite original and alternates on top satin to mirror polished finishes on the carrure that create a somewhat cool and well-balanced combination. It also vaguely reminds us of the Omega Mark II's design, proving the design from the 70s is still very much alive and making a come back.
TAG Heuer has embellished this lay-out with a racing touch by adding, here and there, some red accents: red is the central chrono second tip, the three counters scale, the ring along the start-stop button and the “tachimeter” lettering on the stainless steel bezel.
The caliber 16, which powers the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 16 Chronograph, is a mechanical automatic movement, with the balance wheel vibrating at 4Hz, a power reserve of 42 hours and the fast change date. It is not made in-house, but is mainly based on a ETA 7750 and is, in my opinion, very robust caliber.
On the wrist, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 16 Chronograph is big and...heavy. It is good for those who think the other Formula 1 chrono is too thin and sporty as well as too light. What stands out are the finishes: case, first link and bezel create a somewhat beautiful combo and a monolithic set.
But, I feel, there are two weak points: not minding the watch's weight depends on one's tastes as many aficionados look for heavy watches, I would have equipped the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 16 Chronograph with a ceramic inlay on the bezel.
But I do admit that by adopting a ceramic bezel, the watch would have, perhaps, lost its vintage design. The second one is about the clasp: it seems too cheap and anonymous. TAG Heuer has accustomed us with nice and original clasps as it did with the folding clasp provided on the Link collection: why not follow the same trend on the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Calibre 16 Chronograph and, moreover, add the full TAG Heuer brand logo as it is printed or engraved on the dial and case back respectively?
(photo credit: Google, Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®