TAG Heuer and Kith Partnership Makes a “Culture-Defining” Revival



TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith

Collaborations have proven their worth in creating buzz so the news about TAG Heuer and Kith teaming up for the return of the Formula 1 Series 1 collection (1986) was uplifting and has already gotten tongues wagging. For those who do not know, these gleefully colourful quartz three-handers are reissues of that old series, which an entire generation that grew up in the 1980s and 1990s probably has warm feelings about. It was many people’s first proper watch, so to speak, from a big Swiss name. Formula 1, of course, resonates across the history of TAG Heuer, long before it attained the TAG (the 1986 collection was the first with the TAG badge). All watch enthusiasts will want to know what the story behind this release is, and everyone seems keen on an explanation of the SGD 2,150 price (CHF1,500); it only goes up from there.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith

Starting with the price is a bad idea, in our opinion; what is the watch (or watches) is a much better question to begin with. Value aside, you might reasonably be uninterested, especially since this is a quartz watch and the original was quartz too. The new Formula 1 Kith will be of interest to collectors though because instead of TAG Heuer on the dial, it is a joint Kith Heuer logo; TAG Heuer has dropped the TAG a number of times but it has never offered any other brand a place above it on the dial. That alone is worth the price of admission here, in our opinion. Bear in mind that this quality does not even take into consideration if you might like any of the 10 versions of the Formula 1 Kith limited edition.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith

If you have fond memories of the 1986 models, the new series will resonate and you might be able to make peace with the logo by recalling that TAG itself first appeared right here. So having another name there is not unpalatable (this writer also owned a late 1980s version of this watch); perhaps TAG Heuer will make this a staple of future collaborations (or collabs if you will). Looks-wise, you can tell most of what you need to know from the pictures, except that the contemporary TAG Heuer team sought out the original casemakers to revive this 35mm form factor. The straps are now in rubber and also a steel bracelet, where they were once plastic; the crystal is sapphire though it too was originally plastic. Interestingly for committed originalists, the bezel remains in the signature arnite that owners will recall. It has a very specific feeling to it.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith

Even with all this information though, one does wonder: why does this limited edition series exist? Well, here is TAG Heuer CEO Julien Tornare to explain it:

“The rebirth of the original TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch is something the collector community has been clamouring after for years. One of these collectors was Kith founder Ronnie Fieg, who shared that, like so many others, this was also his first watch when he was younger. It is one of the most meaningful pieces in TAG Heuer’s history. The first to wear the TAG Heuer name, it introduced a generation of collectors to our commitment to making premium timepieces at the intersection of culture and motorsports.” Fieg’s first watch was the red and black version.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 | Kith

This supports the story that Fieg wanted this revival to happen, and thus it makes sense for Kith to take such a prominent position here. It is also a way to appeal to a generation that knows what Kith is but may not know the 1986 watch model at all. To that end, Kith worked on the design details for the new pieces, which are everywhere in the collection but most evident in the seven models exclusive to Kith stores. These are named for and inspired by these seven stores, and each one is limited to 250 pieces. The green and blue models are TAG Heuer exclusives (limited to 825 pieces), while the most conservative black with red accents model is common to both TAG Heuer and Kith outlets, and is the most widely available (1,350 pieces).

Will this Formula 1 Kith episode be a meaningful one? It will ultimately depend on sales, to be blunt, as it did with a certain other famous collab at a rival watch group. It may also be that LVMH wants to experiment with the Heuer name, which would be extremely bold. Just imagine the possibilities…

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