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You've heard of the contemporary overpriced hype beast versions of the TAG Heuer Formula 1's - now meet the OG legend these were based on - like this full serviced near new-old stock 1991 TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ref. 374.513 diver, on its original Heuer-signed rubber strap - which is every bit superior to the new ones (except, notably, in price).


The TAG Heuer Formula 1 line has been a fixture of the Swiss brand for decades, serving as Heuer’s entry level watch, with a steel 41mm Formula 1 Date setting you back $1,699.99, while a special edition one – for instance, the Mario Kart Limited Edition Tourbillon – costs a mere $27k.  


Yet, in its original 1986 - 1995 production run, TAG Heuer's Formula 1 watches were designed to not only be hardy but affordable, and came in plastic and stainless-steel with a vast variety of colorful color combinations (37 in total!), with unique “double-branded” dials (the Olympics, Kenwood, BP, Indianapolis Speedway, Shell, etc).


And the TAG Heuer F1's sold.  Boy, did they sell.  An oftentimes ingenious marketing campaign didn't hurt, either (find the Heuer Formula 1 advert in the shop here).


Following the recent success of the Omega/Swatch collab, the MoonSwatch, rumors abounded in many circles (watch, fashion, racing, etc - like this one in Esquire) that TAG Heuer should resurrect it's colorful Formula 1 line to compete.  So Heuer – like any other Swiss watch line trying to re-live its glory days – teamed up with a random clothing line, and resurrected the Formula 1 line, albeit at five times (!) its original price point and in quite limited numbers when compared to the PG F1's.  Yikes!  But before the cash grab, there was the original TAG Heuer Formula 1 line, like the example here.


We posit the opposite - the new Kith Heuer's are not a response to the MoonSwatch, but the latter is a much delayed response by Omega and Swatch to the OG TAG Heuer Formula 1's.  The OG Heuer F1's - like the example here - were targeted towards attracting entry-level watch novices that wanted something fun, inexpensive, and decidedly not limited edition. 


And the MoonSwatch of course targets all that the OG TAG Heuer F1's did - fun, relatively inexpensive (in particular when compared to the Kith Heuer watches), and plentiful.  TAG Heuer F1's, much like their more robust Heuer Ref. 980 quartz diver older siblings, made TAG Heuer into the house-hold name brand they are today.  And the Kith Heuer goes against (at the very least) the inexpensive and "not limited edition" aspects.


Heuer’s long connection with auto racing can be traced back well before the Formula 1 dive watch to at least 1962, when a youthful Jack Heuer arrived in the United States to sell the Swiss company’s bestseller – stopwatches.  Motorsports – in particular, Formula 1 – soon came to be sponsored, and then dominated by Heuer timepieces.  


After  the Quartz Crisis (brought on by Seiko, naturally) began to devastate the Swiss watch industry, Jack Heuer would pursue quartz-powered dive watches as his answer to flagging Heuer sales – the idea arose by Jack’s fortuitous attendance at a dive trade show, where the legend says he overheard Rolex Submariner admirers uttering, in essence, “I wish there was a more affordable version of this.”   


After the new highly successful quartz Heuer dive line single-handedly saved the company – and seeing the worrying competition in the same space Swatch’s colorful watches posed – Heuer combined motorsports with diving, and the Formula 1 diver line was born.  It was the first Heuer to bear the “TAG Heuer” (Techniques d’Avant Garde) nomenclature, following Heuer’s purchase by racing company in the mid 1980’s.  Designed for actual use in watersports and diving, it was superior to Swatch’s offerings


The Formula 1 diver line is described in the 1995 Heuer catalog as the “sports watch for the young,” for “today’s fast-moving, hard-playing action generation,” and its design – Swatch aside – was unusual for the era, featuring hooded lugs, faceted cases; more or less, dive watch and motorsport designs combined.  In publicity materiel, Heuer proclaimed the Formula 1 line designed for paragliding, windsurfing, white water rafting and rally racing.  


And it worked - most watch aficionados recall their first watch as a Swatch...or a Formula 1 diver or other Heuer dive watch.


This Heuer Formula 1 comes on its original Heuer-signed stainless-steel bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

Near NOS 1991 TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ref. 374.513 Diver, w/Original Strap

  • DIAL: Heuer-signed black dial, with crisply legible writing and vibrant red dial accents.  "Mercedes" handset in good condition, and date function works as designed.  Lume on dial and handset remains bright, following exposure to strong light.


    CASE: Stainless-steel matte case measures 37.5mm (w/crown, 36mm with) x 40mm; signed caseback features crisp and defined writing.  Bezel is wholly intact, with no damage and crisply-defined numbers and minute markers; 12 o'clock lume pip remains intact. 


    CRYSTAL: Heuer crystal, no scratches, cracks, or blemishes.


    BAND: Original TAG Heuer-signed rubber strap - strap has not been trimmed (common on these) and the rubber has no cracks and remains quite pliable, and will fit anywhere from a six inch to to an approx. 10 inch wrist; this Formula 1 also comes with a black and red nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Heuer Calibre Calibre 1.91 hacking quartz movement, manufactured in 1991.  We have full serviced this watch.


    CROWN: Heuer-signed crown.

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