1991 TAG Heuer Formula 1 ref. CA 1211-RO, second generation produced from 91 to 98.
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 has a special place in the brands history, being the first watch released following the acquisition of Heuer by Techniques Avant Garde (TAG) in 1985. 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 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: hence, the F1 was priced around 30-50% of the price of an Autavia.
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.