As the more entry-level side of TAG Heuer’s sports watch catalogue, the Formula 1 collection has historically struggled to gain the same level of enthusiast affection as its more upmarket stablemates. Over the past several years, however, the brand has made a concerted effort to transform the Formula 1 into a contender in its own right, with high-profile collaboration models, bold designs, and a broad range of available options. For its latest move in this ongoing campaign, TAG Heuer taps into the watch industry’s current “color revolution,” bringing vibrant racing-inspired hues to this sporty quartz chronograph formula. Although they may not be the most revolutionary models in the brand’s current lineup, the new TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Colors collection adds a jolt of energy to the marque’s most youth-oriented collection.
The 43mm-wide stainless steel cases of the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Colors line should be familiar to fans of the brand. The fully brushed c-shaped case design is almost brutally simple on the wrist, with stout unchamfered lugs and prominent rounded crown guards. TAG Heuer’s use of black PVD for the chunky crown and broad pushers ratchets up the sense of visual aggression here, but it’s the heavy, gear-toothed fixed bezel that stands out as the Formula 1’s most distinctive feature. The black PVD edge is a modernized take on a brand hallmark that dates all the way back to the second-generation Heuer Autavia, and TAG Heuer elevates this familiar piece with a new sculptural insert in PVD-coated stainless steel. While other models in the series opt for aluminum or ceramic (generally reserved for automatic models), this new insert adds a raised tachymeter scale in a bold, modern sporting typeface. These brushed numerals lend a sense of depth and solidity to an otherwise straightforward design, and help these new models to feel a touch more upscale than the other quartz offerings in the Formula 1 lineup. The checkered flag engraving motif on the solid caseback is a classic TAG Heuer touch, and the brand rates these models for an impressively robust 200 meters of water resistance.
Of course, the dials are the main attraction for the new TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Colors collection. While TAG Heuer is no stranger to colorful offerings in its current lineup, in person, this trio of colorways is vibrant, dynamic, and almost candy-like, with a far punchier presentation than most of its current catalog. Like anything else, this more colorful look won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s difficult to deny that the end results are eye-catching and unabashedly fun. All three models start with the same basic presentation — tapering rhodium-plated baton hands, a mix of applied rectangular indices and bold Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock, a cutout 4 o’clock date window, and three black azurage subdials. Each of the three dial options takes this dial formula in a slightly different direction, however. The red dial is arguably the most classically sporty of the three, with a Rosso Corsa-influenced sunburst dial surface and contrasting white accents for the central chronograph seconds hand and the accent rungs surrounding the subdials. For the green dial model, TAG Heuer instead opts for a bright emerald sunburst with hints of Kelly green, standing in sharp contrast to the reserved, darker hues that tend to dominate the current green dial trend. Blazing red contrasting accents for the subdials give this one perhaps the most vivid look of the three. On the wrist, however, the yellow dial model is the real standout. This sunny yellow sunburst offers a splashy contrast with the black subdials and matching accent rings, but also works in concert with the red elements of the outer minutes scale and central chronograph seconds hand to deliver the most balanced and attractive look of the three. The central seconds hand itself will likely remain a point of contention among enthusiasts, but TAG Heuer does offset the downsides of a jumping quartz seconds design somewhat with a 1/10-second chronograph subdial at 6 o’clock.
Like many of its stablemates, TAG Heuer powers the Formula 1 Chronograph Colors family with the Ronda 5040D quartz chronograph movement. As the mainstay of the Formula 1 line for many years, the 5040D is more or less a known quantity to fans of the brand and offers reliable, easy-to-maintain performance at a cost well below TAG Heuer’s comparable mechanical offerings. To complete these vivid designs, the brand pairs each model with a dial-matching textured rubber strap. Like the bezel designs, these straps make impressive strides towards elevating the Formula 1 Chronograph Colors family above its counterparts, with a strikingly well-executed fabric-effect pattern that visually punches far above this model’s price point.
While they may not be the most dramatic or revolutionary releases from TAG Heuer this year, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Colors collection brings a vibrant new feel to the long-running series while introducing a handful of more refined visual touches. The new TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Colors line is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph Colors stands at $1,850 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.