Originally launched in 1986, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 was the first watch that marked Heuer’s historic acquisition by Techniques d’Avant Garde (“TAG”). Inspired by the success of the Swatch watch in the quartz era when Japanese watches ruled the market, the Formula 1 was made for the times. It was the first analogue Heuer/ TAG Heuer series to be quartz-only and was available in bright fibreglass and stainless steel cases, priced much lower than the Autavia.
Designed by Eddy Burge, the first generation of Formula 1 watches offered three-hand and chronograph models powered by quartz calibres from ETA. The collection’s name had an obvious reference to TAG and Heuer’s illustrious history with motorsports. The Heuer company was not new to chronograph manufacturing. Some of the pieces in the company's catalogue then dated back to 1882. While TAG had sponsored the Williams team from 1979-1981, Heuer supported Ferrari in the 1970s. While most race track heroes—from Bruce McLaren to Mario Andretti to Gilles Villeneuve—sported the Heuer Autavia in the 1960s, Carrera too was a prominent fixture amongst drivers who prefered elegant watches with great legibility.