Lewis Hamilton v Max Verstappen / IWC v TAG Heuer: the Formula 1 race where everyone wins



The last race of the 2021 Formula 1 season taking place this weekend, from December 10 to 12, 2021, in Abu Dhabi, and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) tied for first place, the heat is like never before.

IWC Ambassador and seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton

While their rivalry often seems to get personal, the truth is that they are both athletes competing at an incredibly high level. It reminds us of the days of Niki Lauda vs. James Hunt: two different characters, two different styles, but with the same goals.

Even though these rivals may not seem to like each other in public, I think there is a lot of mutual respect between them. A good car doesn’t automatically make you a world champion, so Hamilton certainly didn’t win the title seven times by accident.

TAG Heuer Ambassador Max Verstappen

At the same time, following and sometimes even beating such a champion says a lot about Verstappen’s qualities. While there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground between them or their fans, what they do is what Formula 1 should be.

The battle between Hamilton and Verstappen is, in essence, also a match between the two watch brands that sponsor them: IWC (Hamilton) and TAG Heuer (Verstappen), the two brands benefiting from the battles on the track.

Fly high and fast

What I love about the partnership between Hamilton and IWC is that it seems genuine. While Hamilton is financially compensated for being a Brand Ambassador, it goes beyond that. He seems to like wearing the watches and that makes the connection authentic. I think that’s something consumers are holding onto. They feel if money is the main reason for wearing a certain watch for a brand ambassador, or if it is just a side benefit to pay to do so. For Hamilton, it seems to be the last.

TAG Heuer Monaco Titan

Verstappen lives up to his reputation as a disruptor: he wears a lot of TAG Heuer, but has also occasionally been seen in private watches like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. As this brand is quite far from the TAG Heuer universe, I doubt it will have a negative impact. Especially since the TAG Heuer models that he wears on the track are very noticed and well in phase with the racing scene, like the Monaco Titan he has been doing sports lately.

A perpetual passion

Hamilton seems to have a strong preference for IWC aviator’s watches, especially the Great pilot. He has been seen wearing some of the more distinct versions of this watch in recent years, including the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Edition Boutique and the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition Mojave Desert.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition Mojave Desert

I think it has been a brilliant initiative for IWC to respond to Hamilton’s unique style by making watches especially for him. It illustrates the brand’s intimate relationship with the seven-time Formula 1 world champion. An example is the black Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar in Ceratanium with a matching strap and minimalist dial that the brand designed for him. It is a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, of which Hamilton is a strong supporter.

Lewis Hamilton wearing the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar ‘Lewis Hamilton’ which he co-designed

Quite different is the limited edition of the same Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar that he designed with IWC in 2019. Here, the black case contrasts with a rich burgundy dial and red gold details complemented by a red gold crown. It’s a tantalizing creation that may have upset a few purists, but at the same time caught the attention of a few less traditional potential customers.

This is also the added benefit that Hamilton brings to IWC: it not only gives them more visibility, but also offers the advantage of stretching the brand image in a more fashionable direction without compromising its’ DNA. Or his credibility.

Catering to the masses

TAG Heuer’s strategy was different. The brand has drawn directly from the Red Bull and Verstappen fan base by creating special editions based on the Formula 1 model with them. Although this is TAG Heuer’s entry-level collection, it has its own heritage.

The Formula 1 collection was launched in 1986, making it the first entirely new watch to hit the market after Avant-Garde Techniques Heuer took over, turning her into TAG Heuer. Although considerably less expensive than the brand’s other offerings, it was very much in tune with the trends of its time. It combined bright colors with a distinct design, making it instantly recognizable. A quartz movement made it reliable, precise and easy to handle, delighting many consumers.

Calling a Formula 1 watch might sound a bit pretentious for any other brand, but TAG and Heuer have each earned their merits in this area. Heuer’s story hardly needs to be told: its chronographs had already become the favorites of many racing drivers for decades and the brand was a notable sponsor of the Ferrari Formula 1 team in the 1970s. .

Steve McQueen wearing a TAG Heuer Monaco in the movie Le Mans

Steve McQueen wearing a TAG Heuer Monaco in the 1971 movie ‘Le Mans’

Then there is the mythology Steve McQueen, who wore a Monaco in the 1971 film Le Mans.

The history of Techniques d’Avant Garde, founded in 1977 by Akram Ojjeh, is somewhat shorter. In 1979, she began sponsoring the Williams Formula 1 team, which she did until 1981. She then bought half of McLaren and funded the development of a 1.5-liter turbo engine manufactured. by Porsche, with which McLaren won the Formula 1 world championships of 1984 and 1985. An interesting note is that TAG was also briefly an automaker itself, launching its amphibious TAG Croco (for “cross country”) in 1983, production of which unfortunately stopped after issue 60.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Red Bull Racing Special Edition

Since its introduction, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 has become one of the pillars of the brand’s collection. TAG Heuer continued to develop the model range, updating its concept with each new generation to stay in touch with the trends of the time and its consumer base. While its price makes it an absolute entry-level watch for TAG Heuer, it offers a quality that does not disappoint with a design that stands out.

With the Verstappen Special Editions, fans of the pilot have the chance to own a watch closely linked to the world of Formula 1, to their favorite team and diver.

Does the winner take it all?

While the final race of this year will determine who can call himself the 2021 Formula 1 world champion, the truth is that there are only winners here. While Hamilton or Verstappen might not be happy to finish second, they need each other to get even better than they already are.

At the same time, Formula 1 needs them both as their fights bring the kind of excitement that works wonders for the series’ popularity. Their sponsors and partners, like IWC and TAG Heuer, will also be delighted as the overall coverage this season, with a particular focus on Hamilton and Verstappen, has been invaluable.

So this weekend I’m going to make an exception and be a double wrist with an IWC on one arm and a TAG Heuer on the other. Being Dutch, I would love to see Verstappen win. But above all, I can’t wait to see some good driving to determine who will be the new – or the old – Formula 1 world champion.

Quick Facts TAG Heuer Formula 1 Red Bull Racing Special Edition
Case: 43 mm, stainless steel with aluminum bezel, water resistance to 200 meters
Movement: quartz, 1 / 10th of a second chronograph function
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph Price: € 1,750 / $ 1,850

Quick facts TAG Heuer Monaco Titan
Case: 39 x 39 mm, sandblasted grade 2 titanium, water resistance to 100 meters
Movement: Caliber 11 automatic (based on Sellita SW-300), frequency 28,800 vph / 4 Hz, 40-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph
Limit: 500 pieces
Price: 7,450 € / 7,900 $

IWC Big Pilot Quick FactsTop Gun Perpetual Calendar Watch Mojave Desert Edition
Case: 46.5 x 15.6 mm, ceramic
Movement: Automatic caliber 52615 with Pellaton automatic winding system, frequency 4 Hz / 28,800 vph, 60-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve, perpetual calendar with date, day, month, year and moon phase
Price: $ 34,000 / 35,000 Swiss francs

IWC Big Pilot Quick Factss Lewis Hamilton Edition Perpetual Calendar Watch
Case: 46.5 x 15.6 mm, ceramic
Movement: Automatic caliber 52615 with Pellaton automatic winding system, frequency 4 Hz / 28,800 vph, 60-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve, perpetual calendar with date, day, month, year and moon phase
Limit: 100 pieces

You can also enjoy:

Pilot’s watch IWC Chronograph Top Gun Edition Mojave Desert: for when you feel the need for speed (ceramic)

The real story behind Steve McQueen’s Heuer Monaco: exclusive interview with Le Mans real estate master Don Nunley

3 race-ready chronographs from the 2021 Bell & Ross Alpine F1 collection

Richard Mille and Formula 1: collaborations now cover Ferrari, McLaren, Mick Schumacher, Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikönnen and Romain Grosjean


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