TAG Heuer has re-issued the sporty Formula 1 Grand Date (ref. WAH1013.FT6026) in the iconic Gulf Oil livery that we all came to love after the legendary Le Mans movie starring Steve McQueen.
The story of the partnership between TAG Heuer and the McLaren Formula One team lasts for almost three decades now.
In fact, the Luxemburg-based Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG) company that supplied the McLaren team with Porsche-built TAG Turbo engines, bought the Swiss watchmaker Heuer in the same year of 1985 when the latter became a sponsor of the British stable.
No wonder that the Swiss brand keeps introducing more and more products under the Formula 1 name. The irony in this particular case is that the Gulf Oil Racing team has never (please, correct me if I am wrong) taken part in F1 racings.
The team limited its efforts to the 24 Hours of Le Mans series and the 1000km Nürburgring.
As to the Gulf Edition itself, it is the same TAG Heuer Formula 1 Grand Date that you can buy in any specialized store, but with its dial decorated with a diamond-shaped pattern and with the famous blue and orange stripe with the Gulf Oil logo.
The Formula 1 Grand Date Gulf Edition is powered by the same Ronda 6004.B quartz movement that offers a big date and a small seconds function.
Built on 5 jewels, the movement offers Ronda’s power-saving system. Activated by pulling out the stem, the system reduces the power consumption of the movement by approximately 70 percent, significantly increasing the battery’s life span when the watch is not in use during (say, during the winter.)
As far as I understand, this particular movement is slightly modified: the large date aperture has been moved from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock position leaving enough space for the oversized “12” Arabic numeral.
I still actively don’t like the white (or, rather, extremely light-grey) open-worked hour and minute hands: both are too short for the watch like they were outsourced from some other, smaller timekeeper as a cost-cutting measure.
Also, the small hand on the subsidiary seconds sub-dial looks too thin and, again, too short making it more difficult for visually impaired to discern its reading.
The large, about 44 millimeters in diameter, the case is equipped with a rugged-looking dial that strongly reminds me of timekeepers sold by Luminox. As usual, the bezel sports whole 12 notches with an additional minute track printed in 05-minute increments.
The brand plans to introduce the special-edition model later this year both on a black rubber strap with a trifold buckle with safety clasp closure and on a stainless steel bracelet.
Current Formula 1 Grand Dates are offered at MSRP of $950 (you can find one online at less than $600) so I guess that this model will initially retail at around EUR 1000 or even less.
Photos: TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Grand Date Gulf Edition specification
Price: Around €1000
Movement: Quartz, caliber Ronda 6004.B, 5 jewels, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, big date
Power reserve: 43 months
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 44.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Dial: Black, blue and orange Gulf stripes plus a grey diamond-shape grid pattern
Hands: Open-worked, white
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black rubber (ref. WAH1013.FT6026) or a stainless steel bracelet. Trifold buckle with safety clasp closure