In Depth Review: The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Red Bull Racing Edition4:30 pm
Watch sponsorships today have become an indispensable part of the marketing landscape in sports. While some competitions have a genuine affinity with the brand (Rolex and the Wimbledon, for example), some are just there for the sake of filling up endorsements. But while we all agree today that the “official sponsorship” concept doesn’t work in marketing anymore, I must confess that one of the main reasons I even discovered the brand ‘TAG Heuer’ in my early years (the 90s), was because of its association with Formula 1 racing – my favourite sport.
The presence of the brand just could not be ignored – from drivers wearing their timepieces in the pit lane to the official timing showing up on the television screen as “TAG Heuer Timing”, the marriage of TAG Heuer and Formula 1 seemed perfect for the brand and the sport. But while writing this article, I learned that the association of the brand wasn’t just limited to them being sponsors. TAG Heuer has contributed significantly more to the world of Formula 1.
Techniques d’Avant Garde or TAG actually owned 50% of the famous McLaren team (driven by Ayrton Senna) and even paid for the development of the engine back in 1984-85. As a result, the McLaren team was renamed as “McLaren-TAG”. Partnership with McLaren continued until 2015 but the differences between the two companies only grew, which eventually led to the end of a 30-year-old engine development partnership.
Coincidentally, Red Bull Racing, with two promising young drivers, were also looking for potential engine suppliers after their fallout with Renault in early 2016. TAG seized the opportunity and brought on famous Swiss engineer, Mario lllien, to help the team develop a new engine – and just how they did it back in 1985, TAG Heuer made the most of this new partnership by investing in the engine of the Red Bull team that you see on track today.
The break-up of McLaren and TAG Heuer after nearly 30 years was sad, but given the much broader opportunity that existed at Red Bull (i.e, association with the youth), you can see why the deal makes so much sense now. Of course, TAG Heuer did make a watch to celebrate this partnership (the reason why we’re here today) and it’s clearly one of the best looking Formula 1 watches ever made by the brand. Let’s go in-depth and see what it has to offer:
The colour scheme is surely inspired by one of TAG Heuer’s most iconic models – the McQueen Monaco which featured a flat blue dial, white sub dials, and red hands; and it’s this very combination that sets the watch apart.
The 3 subdials feature the sweeping seconds at 3 o’clock, 1/10th of a second register at 6 and a 30 minute counter at 9. All the sub dials are done in white and have red-tipped hands.
Two notable differences on this watch are the inner minute flange done in white with black and red markings and a steel marker at 12 instead of the oversized “12” usually featured on other Formula 1 watches.
Overall a very balanced layout with a lot of retro elements. Not overcrowded at all with any “Red Bull” logos, just a clean, sporty design.
The Formula 1 Red Bull Racing edition features the brand’s upgraded 43mm stainless steel case (previously 42mm) with a mix of brushed and polished surfaces, i.e., the upper case and lugs are brushed while the sides, crown, and Chrono pushers are left polished. The finishing touch of the case is the fixed aluminum blue bezel with a white tachymetric scale that adds a lot to the vintage feel of the timepiece.
Having a quartz mechanism powering the watch works in favour of the case, it’s significantly slimmer as compared to an automatic chronograph.
The only “Red Bull” markings are visible on the case back, which features an engraved logo of the Red Bull team. Sitting under that is the Ronda 5040D quartz chronograph movement that’s used in most TAG Heuer Formula 1 quartz watches.
Bracelet & Strap Options:
There are two options of the TAG Heuer Formula 1 – a stainless steel bracelet and a technical blue strap. The bracelet as one would expect from TAG Heuer, is well made and extremely comfortable. It also comes with an additional ‘racing suit’ extension, should you chose to wear the watch while racing.
The blue strap isn’t exactly a NATO but a well-made nylon blue strap with red stitching that matches the colour of the dial. Patterns of stitching were done to mimic the look of a racing suit.
Final thoughts and Price:
The Formula 1 Red Bull Racing watch is definitely a great looking timepiece – a nice choice of colours with a clean-uncluttered dial, along with the vintage white minute flange, will please many TAG Heuer and racing enthusiasts. It looks great on the wrist and the choice of straps already adds to the versatility of this watch. Remember, this watch is a part of TAG Heuer’s entry level series, which is why the price of this watch is also extremely reasonable and surely gives you a lot of bang for the buck. The TAG Heuer Red Bull watch is priced at INR 102,200 for the nylon strap version and INR 113,150 for the bracelet version.
The Formula 1 Red Bull Edition (both variants) are available in India at Ethos Watch Boutiques.
Would you like to add this one to your collection? Let us know in the comments section below!
(Image Courtesy: TAG Heuer and Calibre 11)