Friday, December 03, 2004

Tag Heuer Review-Formula One (Corrected)

ETA F06-111 Movement. I had originally stated that this watch had an ETA 955.112. Now that I have a caseback tool that can open this one without scratching it, I can see for myself the truth. Still a good quartz movement, just not the one I thought.

Tag Heuer Formula One Review

This review will be a little different from the others I have done to date in that the subject is that modern evil, a quartz watch. If you have visited here before you probably know that I have a thing for watches. However, while I have owned various quartz watches through the years I can't honestly say that any of them left any impression on me. I guess that I simply never thought of a quartz regulated watch as anything special. My Tag Heuer, however, has changed my mind at least to some degree. Its not that there is anything remarkably unusual about its movement, it is an otherwise ordinary ETA F06-111. I have simply come to appreciate that quartz movements are technically interesting in their own way. I am not going to go into a long technical discussion about the history and engineering behind the quartz movement, but if you would like a good read, check out Prometheus Bound .

The Formula One is Tag Heuer's entry level model. Entry level, however, is a relative term when referring to popularly perceived upmarket brands like Tag Heuer among others. In the case of the Formula One, this amounts to a price that varies between $470 online (from a non-authorized dealer in most cases) to as much as $650 in a watch store like Tourneau. Irrespective of which retail channel one refers to, the price of admission is above impulse buy levels for most people.

The watch itself is really quite nice. It has a heavy stainless steel case with hard rubber or plastic bumper guards around the stem and on the other side of the case. The bracelet is excellent, very solidly made and not a "hair puller." The watch is rated as being 200 meters water resistant and has a sapphire crystal (the best type to ward off scratches) and a unidirectional rotating bezel (needed for serious diving). Like most quartz watches, accuracy is extremely good. Lastly, and this is obviously subjective, I think it looks very handsome, more so than its pictures would indicate I feel. (The watch is available in a variety of different colors-white, blue, red and black I believe.) This particular model is a re-issue of the original Tag Heuer Formula One. The most notable change that I can see is the bezel. The original issue used a plastic bezel, I believe, while the current model's is made more strongly of titanium coated steel.

From a purely practical standpoint, it is hard to call a watch in this price range a bargain or even a good buy. A big part of the reason that people purchase premium brand watches has to do with the image and style that they project. I don't think that there is anything wrong with that at all. Quite the contrary, at a certain point in most people's lives, I believe that it becomes necessary to project a self image of being conscientious, detail oriented and concerned about both your own time and that of others. A nice watch fits in well with this posture. That the watch in question is precise, rugged and attractive only adds to the appeal. If you are thinking of an initial foray into the high end watch market, or just want a good solidly made timepiece, give the Formula One a look.


Blogger mathew said...

ED, Just curious. I notice too that TAG moved away from the F55.112 movement in favor of the trendline F06.111. Can you tell me, was your F06.111 movement signed?

9:37 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

It was not signed. Bone stock ETA movement.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed, the rubber bumpers on your watch, has it deteriorated? mine has and the rubber on crown side has started to fall off. Had it for about 8 years now, any information if a replacement part is available? I heard from Sales Agent in a specialty shop that the whole case needs to be replaced. Have you got information if our 2nd Gen F1 engine/movement be able to fit in a 3rd Gen case (3rd Gen discarded the rubber bumpers)? If the whole case needs to be replaced, then I would go for the 3rd Gen case so as to avoid the "bumper issue" I had, if it the engine/movement does fit. TIA!

1:27 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I have no information about replacement parts or the possibility of a movement swap I'm afraid.

2:04 PM  
Blogger PJ said...

LVMH will replace the whole center housing of the watch for almost $200. Additional bracelet link will be at $50+ a piece. Will take 6 to 8 weeks to have the replacements done

3:33 AM  

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