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chrgod

Review of Tag Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph replica

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This has been on my list for about two years, but I have not picked it up before now.. With the rather strong dollar and financial crises going on, I figured it was about time to stay out of the cool chronographs and settle for a "budget rep".

The Tag Heuer Formula 1 series is the "bread and butter" of the Tag Heuer line. It is a series with youthful styled quartz-watches who appeal to the "Fast and the Furious" generation.

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The line was introduced in 1986, right after the "Techniques d' Avant Garde" takeover of old Heuer and changed it towards a more fashion-oriented style. Sure, the line of relatively cheap quartz-watches is the cause that many watch snobs look down on Tag Heuer.

The Formula 1 Chronograph was updated in 2007, with a new dial style. Selling for less than 1000 USD, it must be one the cheapest chronographs from one of the big Swiss manufactures.

The replica of the new F1 Chrono has been on the marked for some months, and there is a good review of it

here

.

This time I decided to shop from a new vendor. Since my girlfriend "needed" a new bag ( just as I "needed" a new watch) I wanted to try out "Watcheden", which had a great selection of both bags and scare cheap replicas. His 168 USD list price is including shipping and using an RWI -code you also get a 20 USD reduction, so his price is equal to 128 USD on other sites. Transaction went smooth, good communication when the first bag we chose was not available.

FIRST IMPRESSION

This is how the watch arrived:

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Standard replica packaging, with a nice "Sapphire" sticker on the dial.

First impression was good. Fine size, feels solid, cheap band (like the gen) and solid clasp. On the downside, it is a tiny bit of play in the bezel. It turns easily enough though, with distinct clicks. Having mostly black dialed watches, I was happy with the choice of the white dial. It felt different from all my other, automatic watches. Beeing a quartz, it is thinner and I was way less concerned about the watch being defect when I unpacked it.

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The band feels cheap, but does the job. The clasp is different from the genuine.

The bezel and crown guards are covered with Titanium carbide on the genuine. On the replica I guess it is some sort of high quality plastic for the bezel. It feels good enough and have not gotten any scratches yet. The crown guards scratches easily though. After one week, I already have some scratches.

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Scratches on the crown guards.. Guess the genuine holds up better.

DIAL

Dial style is well executed. The big subdial@6 is running seconds, the subdial@10 is chrono-minutes and the last one is for 1/10 of a seconds on the chronograph.

Text on the dial is crisp and good. On the genuine the white is more silvery, and the "FORMULA" text is bolder. There are a circular pattern on the two upper subdials.

The Chronograph seconds hand on the new F1 Chronograph has a rather special shape, it is well replicated on the gen, and has the correct length. However, one of the biggest flaws on this replica is the size of the running seconds hand. It is much smaller than on the genuine, and does not touch the seconds track.. This buggers me a bit, but I was aware of this.

Date window is very good, and one of the best parts of this dial. Very often, the date is slightly off or the sides of the date window crudely cut.

One litte detail is that the lume dots on 2,5,7 and 7 should have a black border on the withe dial. Oddly enough, on the genuine, the red and orange dials do not have a border around these lume dots. The black dial has a white border. On this replica only the hands has lume (rather good lume), on the genuine the hour dots are also lumed.

It is also a small lint on the dial, just above the "R" in "Professional". This is as one can expect from a replica, no matter the price..

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Nice shape and color of chronograph seconds hand. Small size on running seconds hand. Crisp text, though! The date window and font is very good! True ETA-font!

Another reoccurring flaw on Tag Heuer replicas is slightly greyish rather than bright white text on the dial. My Carrera has this. On the F1, the white parts of the TAG Heuer logo is grey. However, it is not very noticeable. On a macro like below, it looks way worse than it is.

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Slightly greyish logo. The polished hour markers are a bit dirty, usual on a replica. Notice the red "60" on the seconds track, cool.

CASEBACK AND SIDE ENGRAVING

The caseback is well done. True engravings that are sharp, and with no spelling mistakes! Tag Heuer has the dial style referenced in the model number. The "CAH1113" actually is the orange dial Formula 1 chronograph, while this white model is CAH1111. Buy the orange one if you think this is important

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Caseback. The protective plastic is still on.

New for this model is the "TAG Heuer" engraving on the side of the case. A nice touch, which is well replicated.

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Engraving on the side. Maybe not as sharp as on the genuine, but looks good.

MOVEMENT

The genuine has an ETA quartz movement 251.262 or G10.211. This movement powers quite a few Swiss Chronographs, among them a Swatch, Porsche Design and Breitling Colt. The chronograph seconds hand ticks in 1-seconds increments and 1/10s of seconds are counted by a separate subdial when you stop the watch.

But enough talk, time to pop the caseback and find out what powers this beauty!

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Hmm... It does not look like anything I have seen before..

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But yes, it appears to be an ETA-quartz!

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The hole with an arrow next to it is likely the stem release. I thought I should pop out the movement and remove the lint on the dial, but it did not release as expected. I just left it as it.. Better safe than breaking anything.

REPLICA VS GENUINE

"ruelcortez" has already done a very good comparison in

his review

. But I will nick two of his pictures here.

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Replica versus genuine. More silvery white in the genuine, longer seconds hand and borders around the 5&7 lume dots. Picture by "ruelcortez"

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Replica versus genuine. The difference in the clasp is obvious. Mine has a polished fliplock. Picture by "ruelcortez"

All in all, I find it an excellent watch for the price. The only thing that buggers me is the short seconds hand.

For the first time in close to five years, I will likely put a quartz into regular rotation.

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Wristshot

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Family picture!

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Thanks for the feedback!

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For me the biggest flaw is the different shape of the small chrono hands...

Francisco.

Yes, in fact the chrono subdial hands are slightly different from the gen. However, I categorize this in the "only visible when comparing side by side" category.

Cool watch! Thinking of ordering the same in black. Is Watcheden the same guy as Rolex2u?

Yep, according to RWI, Watcheden and Rolex2u is the same guy. ( Not the same as Rolexaward, though!

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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chrgod,

Thanks for taking the time to review this watch. From what you've reviewed, it seems that there's more work that needs to be put into the detail of this model. One thing that has always bothered me on reps is that most seem to fail to get a fine enough brush finish. That one extra step would make a world of difference in my mind. I guess that's part of the difference between a $100+ rep vs a $200+ rep, though this may not be the case with some models that I haven't examined more closely. Overall, it's a good 5' rep.

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Chrgod, how is this replica holding up? I asked Morlock the same question. Is it still in pretty good shape? I'm on the fence right now, undecided if I should buy the rep or the gen. When I feel ready to buy the gen the thought of being able to buy two really nice replicas for the same price has stopped me from making the transaction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I bought the Orange dial and I've been wearing it everyday for a month now and still looks great. No chipping on the crown guards! Only downside is the SS bracelet is too big for my wrist (6.5 inch). I've already removed 4 links and still loose. I ended up giving it to my brother and I'll just get a new one with the rubber strap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So my question is, does anyone know if there is a source for original cases, dial and sub dial hands? Since it has the same movement as the original can you create a Franken F1?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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