Heuer: The Wristwatch and the Racing Experience

If you think this year will be off to a slow start in Dubai, think again. 2016 Kicks off at top speed at the Autodrome.

If you’ve ever fantasized about taking a bona-fide single-seat racing car or Supercar for a spin around the track, now’s your chance. The race track is hosting the ‘Experience’ sessions this month, including the ‘F1 Experience’, and ‘Saloon Experience’.

During January you will be able to maneuver the Audi R8, Audi TT, Single Seat race car or McLaren Sprint at breakneck speed around the challenging course.

First a qualified instructor will show you the correct racing lines, go over all the technicalities, and then you’re on your own behind the wheel!

Of course, you need to be at least 21 and have a valid driver’s license (for at least four years), and you will also need the right gear.

Besides the helmet, if you want the full experience, you’re going to need just the right wristwatch. That much goes without saying in my book.

In my opinion the only choice is Tag Heuer, and to be a little more specific, a vintage Camaro from between 1960 and 1970. Driving just isn’t the same without one.

The Heuer brand has an interesting history. Founded in 1860, the company was family-owned until 1982 when Jack Heuer had to sell to a consortium, and the brand gained the prefix TAG. But the really exciting times were the 1960’s and 70’s when they were heavily involved with Formula One racing, particularly with the McLaren team and the famous Nikki Lauda, who won the world  title in 1975. The Monza range was created in honor of this achievement.

It was during these years that Jack Heuer was at the helm of the company, and the iconic Autavia, Monaco and Carrera ranges were perfected. The watches made in those years are in high demand at auctions at the moment, and still inspire the modern look and feel of the brand.

If you’re like me, you will be more interested in the authentic vintage variety than the modern counterparts. Many of these older watches contain the Valjoux manual-wind movements, which are relatively easy to repair and find spare parts for, so even if you find a vintage specimen that’s ‘seen better days’, you’ll probably be able to restore it to its original condition relatively easily. A suitably experienced dealer will be able to advise you.

Best of all, many of these classic beauties can still be purchased for well under $3000, and the Carrera and Camaro in particular make for good investments, with second-hand values picking up steadily in recent years.

The Caliber 11 movement from the same era was arguably the world’s first self-winding chronograph (According to Hodinkee) and it was launched in the Monaco, Autavia and Carrera ranges simultaneously.

These days Tag Heuer is still a big name in racing. Their McLaren and Senna labels are more popular than ever.

Late in 2015 the brand’s CEO announced the launch of a new range – The TAG Heuer Connected Smartwatch. Like many brands, Heuer is keeping up with the times, housing the latest Android technology in a 46mm titanium case that looks very much like the mechanical version. But there is nothing mechanical about this range – it’s a full smart-watch, with a Google-powered operating system.

So whether you’re a vintage enthusiast, like me, or prefer your wristwatch a little more current – TAG Heuer has you covered on the racetrack. Think you’ve got what it takes to shave a few seconds off the clock?

 

 

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