TAG Heuer’s legendary Formula 1 watch is reborn in the colors of Kith

By Aurora of GranierMay 8, 2024

Watchmaking

The Good News

An emblematic watch from the 1980s, an obsession for collectors, the Tag Heuer Formula 1 is revealed in a new light through a collaboration uniting the Swiss watchmaker and the lifestyle brand Kith.

This watch has long entered the annals of watchmaking. An obsession of collectors around the world, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 has been making waves since its release some thirty-eight years ago, in 1986. The first timepiece to bear the brand’s name, a revolution in the Swiss industry that is passing quartz but also a design with assertive irreverence, the Formula 1 marks a turning point for Swiss watchmaking that enthusiasts have well understood. Among his lifelong fans, Ronnie Fieg, founder of the lifestyle brand Kith, is now reinventing this watchmaking phoenix with a decidedly disruptive DNA.


Also read: Japan, the other country of watches


Back to the 80’s

The 1980s marked a dark period in the history of Swiss watchmaking. The mechanical watch is losing its footing, being increasingly overtaken by quartz, which came from Japan and is winning the heart of the market at lightning speed. A movement of panic from which certain ancestral watchmaking companies decide to take advantage. TAG Heuer is one of these hotheads.

TAG Heuer

In 1986, the house created by Edouard Heuer in 1860 was reborn under the name we know today, being acquired by the specialist in racing car components, TAG (Techniques d’Avant Garde). For the first time, the TAG Heuer name appears on a dial. This rebirth took place with great fanfare, accompanied by the release the same year of a model which would go down in history: the Formula 1.

The union between watchmaking and motorsport is made sacred by this striking piece which immediately becomes the subject of all attention. What made the Formula 1 so special was above all the use of color. When you imagine someone shopping for a watch in the 80s, it was a sea of ​​gray, black, white and silver that awaited them. And suddenly a rainbow of colors appears, an object that allows the younger generation to express themselves and be part of a cultural movement then present in art, fashion, cinema and music . At a time when nostalgia is omnipresent, I can already say that this new collection will be highly coveted » confides Nicholas Biebuyck, heritage director of the brand.

TAG HeuerTAG Heuer

TAG Heuer

Over the years, this timepiece has become a true cultural icon. Sold some 3 million copies in its classic version, its notoriety is only growing thanks to the collaborations uniting TAG Heuer with the greatest F1 drivers. Irreverent, Formula 1 is dusting off the sector with kärcher, attracting a new clientele. Indeed, if aficionados grasp the historical importance of the object in watchmaking history, many neophytes have entered the world of this Swiss industry thanks to it, including the American Ronnie Fieg, founder of the Kith clothing label.

Reinventing the TAG Heuer icon

In 2024, TAG Heuer entrusts Kith with the task of bringing the design of this great classic up to date. Two years ago, we began a collaboration with designer Ronnie Fieg, who was a long-time fan of Formula 1. It was his first watch – the red and black model – which made him the collector that he has become. It was obvious that his love for the model would lead to a great collaboration”

TAG HeuerTAG Heuer

TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer and Kith are joining forces to reinvent this legend from the past that is still as relevant today, finding the perfect balance between 80s nostalgia and contemporary design. The codes of the original Formula 1 are transcribed and its 35mm diameter dial retains its original aesthetic. “We went in search of the original mold from the first manufacturer in Switzerland”, specifies Nicholas Biebuyck. The hands retain their shape, that of the hours being adorned with a circle displaying three triangles.

But Ronnie Fieg also takes liberties. Say goodbye to the plastic bracelet and make way for a rubber or stainless steel model. The dial glass goes from a plastic crystal to a sapphire crystal, mixing yesterday’s aesthetics with today’s codes. As for the logo, it is also revisited. At 12 o’clock, it reads “Kith Heuer”, while at 6 o’clock Ronnie Field’s family mantra, “ Just us » (understand “we only”), gives the model an even more exclusive character.

10 timepieces to collect

The return of Formula 1 comes with great fanfare. In total, there are ten new models in vibrant colors, displayed in racing red; black and yellow; green, yellow and red – in reference to the 1980s limited edition in partnership with Japanese F1 driver Ukyo Katayama – cream; and matte black. Limited to 250 pieces, these five models are complemented by two timepieces whose bracelet is made of steel and the bezel available in blue or green.

TAG HeuerTAG Heuer

TAG Heuer

To these seven pieces is added that of resistance, a direct reference to the emblematic 1986 model. Steel bracelet, black bezel, design elements contrasting with racing red and an eggshell dial, this model will be sold by Kith and TAG Heuer. The last two models feature a black dial and bright colors. A highly anticipated rebirth revealed in Miami during the Formula 1 Grand Prix, this Friday, May 3 and already available.

Formula 1 watch from TAG Heuer x Kith, 1,500 Swiss francs (a little over €1,500), also available in a box containing all ten pieces and limited to 75 pieces, 18,000 Swiss francs (€18,400). More information here.


Also read: Automatic, complex or quartz movement: how to choose your ideal watch?

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