TAG Heuer Evokes 1980s Nostalgia with the Formula 1 Kith

A fun, faithful reissue.

Originally introduced in 1986, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 was an affordable and cheerful sports watch recognisable to anyone who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. Now TAG Heuer has just unveiled the Formula 1 Kith Limited Edition, a faithful remake of the original Series 1 model, created in tandem with streetwear label Kith. Offered in ten colourful variants, the new Formula 1 is branded “Kith Heuer” in a nod to the collaboration, with the fashion label’s emblem replacing the customary “TAG” in the watchmaker’s shield logo.

Initial thoughts

Historically a brand that was an entry point into luxury sports watches, TAG Heuer has now gone a bit more upmarket. Its re-issues of vintage Heuer chronographs, for instance, are located in a pricier segment. Buyers looking for something more affordable have the Aquaracer or modern-day Formula 1. Now they have another option: the original Formula 1 built to current levels of quality.

Kith’s motto, “Just Us,” sits just above six

The modern-day Formula 1 has evolved enough it no longer resembles the original, so the Formula 1 Kith will be appealing to someone who wants to indulge in some nostalgia. The remake is virtually identical to the 1980s Series 1 model – even the plastic for the case and bezel are made by the same supplier – but with updated specs for additional robustness. At CHF1,500, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Kith is a good value proposition and in keeping with the accessible spirit of the original.

The first TAG Heuer

The Formula 1 Kith will bring back memories for those who grew up in the 1980s. The original Series 1 was often the first luxury Swiss timepiece for a young person then, including Ronnie Fieg, the founder of Kith, helping make it bestseller that sold in the millions of units.

The new Formula 1 is a faithful reissue of the original in both design and some of the materials. TAG Heuer even tracked down the supplier of the original 1980s cases and retrieved the same moulds used to form the plastic cases and bezels for the 1986 model. As with the original, the new Formula 1 has its bezel and some of the cases in arnite, a robust, cost-effective plastic.

That said, the original was a watch made for a budget and was inexpensively made with a stamped steel or moulded plastic case fitted with a plastic crystal and plastic strap. While retaining the same design, the Formula 1 Kith has been updated with modern materials, including a sapphire crystal, synthetic rubber strap, and a more solidly built steel bracelet.

The dial is branded “Kith Heuer”, though it retains all of the elements that defined the original, including the familiar “Mercedes” hour hand and the shield-shaped indices at the quarters. The “Kith Heuer” logo is also found on the rubber strap and case back. This merged logo is notable as in the 38 years since TAG Heuer was born out of Heuer, the brand has never blended its logo with another.

Available in ten different colourways, the timepiece sports a 35 mm case of steel, coated steel, or plastic. Seven of the variants are exclusive to Kith, each named after cities that host the label’s stores, while two are exclusive to TAG Heuer. One shared model will be available from both TAG Heuer and Kith.

A box set containing all ten pieces is also available. It’s limited to 75 pieces, with all the watches delivered in a large presentation box.

Key facts and price

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Kith Limited Edition
Ref. WA121F.BA0023
Ref. WA121J.BT0012
Ref. WA121L.BT0014
Ref. WA126A.BT0005
Ref. WA126B.BT0006
Ref. WA126C.BT0007
Ref. WA126D.BT0008
Ref. WA126E.BT0009
Ref. WA121N.BA0023
Ref. WA121P.BA0023

Diameter: 35 mm
Height: 9.45 mm
Material: Stainless steel, PVD stainless steel or arnite
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200 m

Movement: Unavailable
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Winding: Quartz

Strap: Stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap

Limited edition: Kith arnite models limited to 250 pieces each; Kith stainless steel model limited to 350 pieces each; TAG Heuer arnite models limited to 825 pieces each; A shared arnite model limited to 1350 pieces 
Available in TAG Heuer boutiques and retailers starting April 2024
Price: CHF1,500

For more information, visit TAGHeuer.com.


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Up Close: F.P. Journe Chronomètre Furtif Bleu “Only Watch 2024”

A stealthy, elegant, and interesting sports watch.

Possibly the successor to the Chronomètre Bleu, the Chronomètre Furtif Bleu is a unique creation made for Only Watch 2024 taking place on May 10, but also the template for a next generation of lineSport watches.

The Furtif Bleu retains the familiar silhouette of the lineSport, but is executed entirely in tantalum – notably the bracelet is tantalum – with a fired enamel dial. Additionally, it is equipped with a new calibre that displays the power reserve and moon phase on the back.

Initial thoughts

Despite its name and low-key colours, the Furtif Bleu is a very striking watch, largely because of the contrast between the dark grey tantalum and the blue dial with an orange seconds hand.

In the hand, it is heavy, as expected for the metal, and also silky in feel due to the finely blasted surfaces of the case and bracelet. Close your eyes and it feels like the current lineSport in platinum, though the blasted finish is finer than that on the existing gold and platinum models.

And on the wrist, it is unexpectedly elegant for a sports watch because of its height, which is just 9.5 mm. That’s slightly thicker than the Chronomètre Bleu and noticeably thinner than the lineSport Automatique Reserve.

One of the most notable aspects of the watch is the bracelet, which is entirely tantalum. The nature of the alloy makes it particularly difficult to work, explaining the cost and rarity of tantalum watch cases. Tantalum bracelets are even less common. The only other brand I can think of that made bracelets in the metal was Audemars Piguet, which no longer does.

Not only is the bracelet in tantalum, it is also made in-house at Les Boîtiers de Genève, the case- and bracelet-making division of F.P. Journe, reflecting the brand’s impressive vertical integration despite its relatively small scale.

Also noteworthy is the movement, which is a new calibre. Like F.P. Journe’s recent contributions to Only Watch, the Furtif Bleu is equipped with the first or perhaps prototype example of a soon-to-be-launched calibre.

Here it’s the cal. 1522, which clearly borrows from the cal. 1304 of the Chronomètre Souverain, but is a new construction with new complications on the back, and also the first-ever F.P. Journe movement with a central seconds. Interestingly, it also sports more finer decoration, though it is unknown if this upgrade will be found in the regular production version.

Paradoxically, the Furtif Bleu doesn’t make much sense as an actual sports watch because of the weight and relatively delicate enamel dial. But as a one-off creation it is a beauty and will emerge as one of the most valuable watches of Only Watch 2024, probably ranking somewhere between second and fourth in terms of hammer prices. The estimate is a modest CHF200,000-400,000, but a six-figure result is a certainty.


Translating as “stealth”, furtif refers to the restrained colours and tone-on-tone dial. According to F.P. Journe, the dial is stealthy as it appears uniformly blue and practically illegible at some angles, with the dial markings only revealed to the wearer from the right perspective.  At the same time, the complications are concealed on the case back, intended only for the wearer.

The dial has the orange and blue livery that is now tradition for F.P. Journe’s Only Watch creations

The dial is a fired enamel dial in a deep, slightly translucent blue that echoes the mirrored blue finish of the Chronomètre Bleu. The markings on the dial, the numerals, scales, and logos, are achieved with a laser that etches the enamel surface to create a matte finish. This creates the tone-on-tone effect that is only legible at certain angles.

Like all of F.P. Journe’s dials, this is made in-house at Les Cadraniers de Genève. Besides the novel finish, it’s notable for being the first full dial in enamel in an F.P. Journe watch. Past models that used enamel dials only had them for the sub-dials, as on the Tourbillon Vertical.

The seconds hand is orange while the lineSport logo sit above six

The Furtif Bleu retains the same overall styling as the lineSport models, with a tonneau-ish case and integrated bracelet. But instead of the crown at four that defines the lineSport, this has a conventionally positioned crown at three.

At 42 mm, it is also more compact than the lineSport, which is a uniform 44 mm in diameter for all second-generation models. And thanks to the manual-wind movement, it is also surprisingly thin at just 9.5 mm high. In comparison, the base model lineSport with date is 11 mm.

Although the case and bracelet are fairly simple in design and construction, the tantalum bracelet impressive given the challenges in machining the metal. In fact, the bracelet is possibly the biggest technical achievement of the entire watch.

The cal. 1522 inside is a new calibre that is relatively simple, but notable in a few ways. For one, it’s the first F.P. Journe with a central seconds, a surprising basic feature that the brand has never implemented in any of its past watches. Another is the unconventional location of the twin complications, both positioned on the periphery of the movement and visible only on the back.

The moon phase located at six o’clock on the back is set via the crown

Even though the movement is new, it is still done in the typical F.P. Journe style. All of the bridges and plates are 18k red gold, with everything laid out to be fairly symmetrical.

The movement is clearly derived from the cal. 1304 inside the Chronomètre Souverain, but reworked to accommodate the two indications. As a result, it has a large base plate with all the moving parts spread further out, but the twin barrels arranged in parallel are clearly recognisable as the same as in the cal. 1304.

The nature of the movement means that it could possibly be tweaked for the serially produced version, perhaps replacing the moon phase with something else. This minor modification has been done in past F.P. Journe watches made for Only Watch, most notably with the Split-Seconds Chronograph of 2017.

A significant difference between this and past Only Watch creations is the movement decoration. Many of F.P. Journe’s prior Only Watch timepieces contained prototype movement, the one inside the Astronomic Blue of 2019 was practically unfinished. But this is finished to a notably high standard, to a higher level than the typical entry-level F.P. Journe in fact.

Historically, F.P. Journe was never about movement decoration – invention and manufacturing was the priority for Francois-Paul Journe – but the brand has upped its finishing over the years.

The cal. 1522 shows a greater level of effort put into the finishing, particularly with the rounded, mirror-polished anglage on the edges of the bridges and cocks. The screw heads are also chamfered on their slots and edges, while the visible pins are mirror polished.

The movement does still betray a few rough spots, but they can presumably be cleaned up if requested by the eventual owner. In fact, F.P. Journe will offer the eventual owner of the watch a brand-new case and bracelet after the auction, if the watch suffers any wear and tear during the preview exhibitions in the run-up to Only Watch.

Key facts and price

F.P. Journe Chronomètre Furtif Bleu
Ref. CFB

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 9.5 mm
Material: Tantalum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: Unavailable

Movement: Cal. 1522
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve, and moon phase
Winding: Manual
Frequency: Unavailable
Power reserve: 56 hours

Strap: Tantalum flat-link bracelet

Limited edition: Piece unique
Availability: To be sold at Only Watch on May 10, 2024
Estimate: CHF200,000-400,000

For more information, visit Christies.com.


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