iW Fall 2020 - Page 22

In 2003 , TAG Heuer offered two versions of a cushion-cased Autavia , one with the black / orange colors and the other with the white / black / blue Siffert colors .

In 2017 , TAG Heuer offered a new Autavia , modeled after the Rindt model from the late 1960s . After the initial model with the black dial and white registers , we have seen several limited editions , incorporating other color schemes into this same case .
I like these watches , but the case lacks the real connection to either the manual-wind models of the 1960s or the automatic models of the 1970s . Every collector will have their own favorite , but to my eye , the Fragment Formula 1 captures the spirit of the 1970s Autavias , with the color scheme , the hands and bezel , and the case geometry .
There ’ s no “ Autavia ” on the dial , but there ’ s no doubt about the origins of this watch .
How is the watch on your wrist ?
It ’ s a big watch at 44 millimeters , and I have a small wrist , but it ’ s a great fit . The more important measurement might be the thickness , and TAG Heuer has shaved the case to 14.4 millimeters . That ’ s not exactly thin , but it makes the 44 millimeter case very wearable . The bracelet is entirely new , and is relatively thin with a butterfly clasp , which also makes the watch wear smaller .
Why does this watch have the TAG Heuer logo on the dial rather than the Heuer shield ?
I believe that TAG Heuer is reserving the “ Heuer ” shield for re-issues of the heritage models , like the Carrera 160 Years models that we saw earlier in the year . This Formula 1 is not a re-issue of a heritage model , but a new creation for TAG Heuer . So it gets the TAG Heuer shield rather than the Heuer shield .
What are your personal preferences , as far as the re-issues that so many brands seem to be offering in the year 2020 ?
In recent years , there has probably been more hand-to-hand combat in the vintage community on the subject of re-issues , re-editions , homages , tributes and the like than on any other single topic .
We see everything from one-to-one recreations of some of the classics , like Breitling and Omega have done with great success , to watches that carry the name , but bear no resemblance to the original models .
I really like the approach of the two Fragment Design models : take an
iconic model , boil it down to find the essence of the design , then punch up the elements that provide the style and feel of the original period .
On the Fragment Carrera , we see the power of the oversized registers ; on the Fragment Formula 1 , we see the dramatic black paint and the red accents , with the distinctive hands and bezel .
These elements defined the racers chronograph in 1970 and , fifty years later they continue to capture the excitement of racing .
To me , capturing this timelessness is the ultimate success of a re-edition .
Other than the Fragment Design models , which are your favorite of TAG Heuer ’ s heritage-inspired models ?
I like the Limited Edition Skipper that was a collaboration with Hodinkee back in 2017 , and the Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition from earlier this year .
The Skipper captured the colors and spirit of one of the Heuer grails , the original Skipper from 1967 , but took some liberties ( for example , having a 30-minute register rather than the 15-minute count-down register ).
The Carrera Montreal took even more liberties , incorporating the colors and vibe of a wild-looking 1972 Montreal chronograph into a Carrera case . Once again , the traditionalists may frown , but if you like the look of these watches and enjoy the connection with the Heuer heritage , these are fun watches .
If you could only have one of the Fragment models , the Carrera or the Formula 1 , which would it be ?
My first instinct is to dodge the question . The same way that the 1960s Carreras were different from the 1970s Autavias , the choice between the two Fragment models comes down to a matter of the mood and look that you want on a given day .
The quiet elegance of the Carrera is very different from the loud excitement of the 1970s Autavias . Looking at my collection of vintage Heuers , I probably have four times as many 1970s Autavias as 1960s Carreras , so the Fragment probably gets the nod .
If there will be a third Fragment Design chronograph for TAG Heuer , what are you hoping for ?
Fujiwara has done a Carrera and an Autavia , so his third model will have to be a Monaco . It would be fantastic to see what he would do with the extralarge canvas of the Monaco .