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This is my first post on this forum (first post, first review, first day as a registered member), although I have been reading through a lot of the posts over the last few years. I haven't come across any reviews for the new Formula 1 Calibre S, and even less in the way of pctures on the net, so here's a quick review and some average quality pics. Purchased this from my local AD in down in sunny Australia. I have been looking at the TAG F1's in the shop window for a year or two now, and the new Calibre S movement in this watch pushed me over the line. The semi sporty/formal look of the watch appealed to me, as I already have a relatively formal Tissot PRC200.

Case, Dial and Bracelet:
I like the new style hands that these new F1 models (incl. the Grande Date) have. The new hands are a skeleton stlye, with lumed tips, and the seconds hand is fairly slim. For me, I prefer this over the larger hands on the other F1's. Watch case is the larger size 44mm one, from a couple of the other F1 models. The case itself has the now standard "TAGHeuer" stamping on the left side, with the PVD coated chrono buttons and crown on the right hand side. A nice change in the newer F1's is the brushed numerals on the bezel, they certainly don't stand out as much as the white painted style numbers. Overall the case is very solid and seems put together well.

Being a Cal S movememnt the crown doesn't screw down at all, and due to this it tends to spin very freely when on your wrist. This model still has a 200M water resistance, even without the screw down crown. The chrono buttons have a long travel, and 90% of the people at work that have played around with the watch have not pushed them hard enough, and stare at the dial for a while wondering what is going on. The bezel spins with 120 clicks around, and is nicely tight and lines up well. The dial is a flat black (the only colour currently available in the F1 Cal S), with the subdial areas having a "vinyl record" appearance. Most people looking at it though would be hard-pressed to see the deatil as it all tends to blend in. Unlike most F1's, the TAG logo is monochrome, keeping the face pure black/white, which I quite like. I was happy with the amount of lume on the dial, and it has a nice blue/green scheme going on in the dark.

It's just a standard F1 bracelet, which means it has a fairly tight fold over style buckle. In comparision to the PRC200, the bracelet on the F1 feels a shade less solid.

Movement:
Everyone has seen the Calibre S movement in the Aquracer, Carerra and link watches recently, and there are no suprises here in the functionality on the F1. Hitting the crown resets the big hands for timing, with the sub dials showning 10ths and 100ths when timing stops. In clock mode, the sub dials show each digit of the date, which will take a bit of getting used to for me. The set-up was done by the AD for me, and I would recommend having the booklet handy as the position of the seconds and sub hands on the face indicates different settings.

The seconds hand itself ends to be fairly accurate hitting the markers, although it can miss slightly either side going round the dial. It's no less presise then my PRC200, so I am happy. The minute hand clicks forward every 20 seconds in clock mode, and every 60 seconds in timing mode, and so far I haven't had any alignment issues as mentioned in other threads. One slight oddity in this watch however is the tendancy for the minute hand to wobble a bit back and forwards as it goes round. This is fairly noticable if it gets a bit of a shake while sitting on the 12:00 position, ready to start timing. Being that the hands move back and forth both ways during operation, I am not too worried about this.

Notes:
I believe this is currently at the higher end of the F1 price spectrum, and I had a funny situation with the salesperson when picking it up. According to the AD, in between the time that I placed my order and deposit, and the time that the watch arrived (only a 4 days later in early Oct), TAG had increased the retail price by 20% (in Australian dollars). I don't know if this is 100% correct, but luckily I had my order in beforehand. I hate to say it, but I may have re-considered this watch had I priced it just a few days later!

Overall I could not be happier with the watch so far, and its a standout for me personally in the TAG range (including the Carrera chrono's, and the new aquarace 500M). Hopefully I can report back in after a few months of owning this and let yourselves know how my opinions have changed.

Cheers.
 

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Good review. How much did you pay out of interest?? I've been waiting for this watch to arrive in the wild for a while. I think the Cal S movement suits the young image of the Formula 1.

On prices, I think any time I've ever walked into a large TH dealer, somewhere like Peters of Kensington in Sydney, or even the Tag Heuer boutique store on King St, I hear about TH raising their prices, usually anywhere between 10% and 30%. If I add up every price increase I've heard about in the last 4-5 years, it'd be well over 200%. I don't actually believe it, because that doesn't match the reality on pieces I've been keeping an eye on over the years. Perhaps it's a pressure sell tactic, or in the event you've already bought, a feel-good or guilt tactic ("be grateful we sold you one of our watches to you at that price"). Perhaps it's TH just trying to fool current or potential customers into believing the brand is more exclusive than it actually is. They've really started charging some insane prices in the last 2-3 years for what are some pretty average watches using pretty cheap, unimproved ETA movements. The only Tag I've been considering lately has been the Link Cal 36. With the El Primero movement, it's probably the best value piece TH make these days, even before you knock 25-35% off the price.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think you are right there Kirium, it would seem unessesary to increase the price on such a recently released watch... It was quite a scene in the store as about 3 staff members huddled around the computer trying to finalise the sale, looking up and re-entering product numbers, until eventually they came to the above conclusion. The manager also had a quick remark to the salesperson about doing such a "good price", worthy of day-time emmy?

As you also said, it has been very tough actually finding this watch in any stores here in Oz. I ordered this one sight unseen, after getting a feel for its looks from an F1 Grande date. One of the AD's here was quoting an 8 week delivery time direct from Switzerland, not to mention the obligatory "we can't move on the price if we have to order it in". I have PM'ed you some of the other details, as I am not 100% sure if they are exact.
 

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VERY good looking watch. I love the way TAG is upgrading while fully respecting their models roots and heritages. Much like classic and respected auto makers.

Thanks for the review. Congrats for the purchase.
 

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..is this finally an automatic F1?
TAG's official line is "electro-mechanical", of which the mechanical aspect seems to refer to increased number of motors/parts etc. required to move the hands in each direction for the chrono duties. The fancy thing is that when you hit the crown to change to chrono mode - the hands will take the quickest path back to the 12:00 position, either clockwise or anti-clockwise.

There is still a battery in this watch, which will need replacing eventually (18 months according to the manual).

You would be suprsed though by the number of different versions of this story I got from different places when looking at this Cal S movement.
 

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is this a totally in-house movement ? is it repairable at all ??

I don't really get the mechanical aspect of it, since any quartz that is not an LCD watch will have motors and hands... it seems to me as a very complicated movement, but still a quartz... wrong ?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Given the information I currently have, the Cal S has been designed and patented in-house at TAG. And yes, it is still very much a quartz watch at the end of the day.

A couple of bits of info from the TAG site on the Calibre S...

"Exclusive and patented TAG Heuer movement, Time and chronograph display using central hour, minute and second hands, 1/100th of a second chronograph: simple and additional timing; split time, Perpetual “retrograde” calendar until 2099 "

"Comprising 230 highly complex mechanical components and five bi-directional micro-engines that are mechanically independent yet synchronized, the Calibre S is far more complicated than a traditional 30 to 40 component quartz movement. In short, the Calibre S is a mechanical movement with the precision of quartz."

As for some of the other questions, I would love to hear some other thoughts from the forum.
 

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Wow - that is a great looking F1, and a nice review. The only thing that I am disappointed by, and perhaps I overlooked it, is the fact that there is no date.

Mike.
 

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Wow - that is a great looking F1, and a nice review. The only thing that I am disappointed by, and perhaps I overlooked it, is the fact that there is no date.

Mike.
actually the 2 "hands" that are also the chronograph mechanism register the date when not used in chrono mode, it has a perp calendar to 2099...
 

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actually the 2 "hands" that are also the chronograph mechanism register the date when not used in chrono mode, it has a perp calendar to 2099...
Gotcha! I am use to seeing a date window!

mike.
 

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Nice review on the watch. The Calibre S is clearly an "in-house" movement for Tag and the perpetual calendar is awesome. My one nit is that the '3' is clipped off by the chrono function. Otherwise, it looks great, and better than the other Calibre S models in Tag's catalog.

When will it hit the states so I can see one live??? It's been rumored since May or June.
 

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If only the '3' wasn't cut into by the gauge, like the '9' isn't.

Other than that, there is nothing I don't love about this one.
 

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I actually like the "cut 3". I REALLY like the fact the Calibre S sub dials aren't symetrical on this model... (hence the cut 3..)
 

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Enrico, I thought you were a fan of classical styling... what about the 'cut 3' do you like? The lack of synmetry kind of bugs me.
 

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Enrico, I thought you were a fan of classical styling... what about the 'cut 3' do you like? The lack of synmetry kind of bugs me.
I am ! the two different sized subdials bring me back to this :




hehehehe b-) very cool :-!
 

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Given the information I currently have, the Cal S has been designed and patented in-house at TAG. And yes, it is still very much a quartz watch at the end of the day.

A couple of bits of info from the TAG site on the Calibre S...

"Exclusive and patented TAG Heuer movement, Time and chronograph display using central hour, minute and second hands, 1/100th of a second chronograph: simple and additional timing; split time, Perpetual “retrograde” calendar until 2099 "

"Comprising 230 highly complex mechanical components and five bi-directional micro-engines that are mechanically independent yet synchronized, the Calibre S is far more complicated than a traditional 30 to 40 component quartz movement. In short, the Calibre S is a mechanical movement with the precision of quartz."

As for some of the other questions, I would love to hear some other thoughts from the forum.
When the movement first came out we discussed it in HEQ. All of TAG's ad talk aside, the movement is a 5 stepping motor quartz chronograph. Instead of round subdials, it uses flyback arcs. The flyback arcs are dual purposed to use as a date complication and as the 1/10ths and 1/100ths minute counters when in chrono mode.

No other company besides TAG uses this movement and it is not listed in the Eta or Ronda catalogs. It is probably built by TAG by using a variety of sub contractors. (This is the way the Swiss watch industry has done a lot of production for the past century or two.)

It is fun and clever and uses a lot of mechanicals to accomplish this mechanism... but so do other quartz chronographs. The flyback feature may add to the complication but there are already a number of mechanical components in quartz chronographs.

On maintenance, assuming no abuse this should operate for years. I have no reason to believe it's life would be much different than most similar quartz movements. So change the batteries for 20 years and then assess if you need a service... :)

One of it's unique factors is the use of the hour and minute hands to indicate hours and minutes when in chronograph mode. The lack of tiny subdials makes this one of the most useful analog chronographs since the Lemania 5100.
 

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On maintenance, assuming no abuse this should operate for years. I have no reason to believe it's life would be much different than most similar quartz movements. So change the batteries for 20 years and then assess if you need a service... :)
I really never found an answer on the longevity of a quartz movement, given that it never suffered any battery leakage. Now, when this movement dies... Will it be available for replacement, or serviceable ??
 

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I really never found an answer on the longevity of a quartz movement, given that it never suffered any battery leakage. Now, when this movement dies... Will it be available for replacement, or serviceable ??
We don't know how long well built quartz movements last because the oldest are only 40 years old. In general quartz movements are not repaired if they die because it is so much cheaper to replace the movement. (In fact this is becoming true of mechanical movements too.)

In the far future the most likely path would be to use a donor watch with a working movement.

But if you really wanted to fix the movement, you can. Aside from the stepping motors (coils), the crystal, and an electronic module, it is just a mechanical drive train. Individual parts are available for the Eta movements, including electronic modules. TAG is more difficult to get individual parts I am told.

For example, the most complex Eta 5 stepping motor chronograph can be bought new quantity one for about $175. You can't do a whole lot of repair on things for $175...
 

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Very very cool Alfa, Enrico. My brother used to own a silver Spider circa 1972 and it was a blast. Not practical but a ton of fun.

Not sure I get the connection to the asynmetry of the dials but that's a-OK. Great pic.
 
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