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Dreaming of electric tags, my new Formula 1

  1. colonel

    colonel Nov 10, 2022

    I have never really looked at Formula 1 watches before. Maybe because I am into more expensive ranges, and I haven't bought an electric watch since the 90s !!!! However this changed recently when I decided to buy a few electric watches. It's just so convenient not having to set the time and date as you rush out, and knowing that the time is completely reliable. There are other fringe benefits, e.g. not worrying about whether it had been wound - the option of putting on the desk in front of you to see the time, and just putting it on the wrist when popping out.
    What I didn't realise was the quality and design thought that has gone into the Formula 1, particular the evolution of the chronograph. It has an attention to detail I haven't see before at this price range, and really is a watch Tag Heuer can be proud of. A great form vs fun balance.
    Lets hit comfort first, even before design. After many years of wasting money watch collecting, I have realised that comfort is critical to enjoyment and a keeper. Here the 43mm case is on one hand a major boon as everything is so clear. Surprisingly it doesn’t look like a 43mm, it looks more like a 41.5mm, maybe it’s the interplay between the thin bezel, yellow outer band and black face ? anyhow, it is also a major disadvantage, as small wrist people will read and think “too big!”. With watches, the case width is only one aspect of the story, other measurements being even more important. Luckily, with my small wrist, I actually tried it on, and it is perfect. Seiko like, the lug-to-lug is a compactish 48.5mm (my limit for my small 6.7” wrist is generally 51mm) and the rubber strap (and the bracelet) drops vertically before the absolute end of the lug. Together with the just over 12mm thickness, it’s a delight to wear. Also worth noting that the watch has a nice weight it, not too much, but it’s a solid piece.

    Formula 1 watches are strongly racing themed, and I guess it’s personal taste, but this particular colourway is a little more laid back and serious. It also has detail that is not common at this price point.
    The dial is black with has a “3D like” checkered tile finish. As you tilt the watch and light moves, it transitions between inky black and the race end. The thin and relatively subtle yellow outter circle is sporty and shows the minutes clearly. Not going to describe every detail of the dial, but from the sub-dials to the main hands, this has been expertly designed for clarity and impact. It feels like there has been substantial evolution of the design over the many decades of the Formula 1 series. The text is thankfully minimal, and the date integration is nicely done. I don’t buy a watch without a date, and its always nice to see one both clear, and fading into the background when not needed.
    Unusually for a Formula 1, the bezel on my model is ceramic, in a lovely dark grey. The glass next to it is a flat coated sapphire crystal. The watch is matt on the top with polished sides. A surprise for me is that the pushers are recessed and the large comfortable crown is screw down. This gives the watch a 200m diving rating, great for a feeling of robustness and also useful when travelling and swimming.
    The back of the watch is closed, no “Bulova” like sapphire window, and has the Formula 1 checked flag logo.
    The strap is soft and thick silicone and rubber with a push pin clasp. The lug width in an unusual 21.5mm, so 22mm straps should fit.
    The movement is the Ronda 5040D, 13 Jewel version. The bottom sub-dial has an interesting function not described in the supplied manual. It counts 1/10 second intervals for the first 30 seconds, then becomes an hour counter after 30mins. A great function, also not documented in the manual (but can be seen on the Ronda website’s manual), is an adjustment function with sets the position of the hands to an accurate zero, for example if they become off centre during a battery change. Lastly, if the crown is pulled out, the watch is switched off - useful for not draining the battery if unused for extended periods. This is however one watch where I would prefer a Tag Heuer boutique to change the battery, to both reseal properly, and also as there is a pad under the battery which a common-or-garden jeweller might not have.
    Hopefully, I am done now on new watches for a bit!
    Edited Nov 10, 2022
  2. imagwai

    imagwai Nov 10, 2022

    Congrats. I like this model, but have seen a lot of fakes of it doing the rounds on Facebook. Having tried on a friend's similar model recently, I agree that it wears smaller than 43mm although I'd prefer it to be a little smaller still personally. But I'd definitely consider one at this price point.
    colonel likes this.