Sunday, 22 November 2020

HISTORY: TAG Heuer 2000 Exclusive (1999-2009)

 

The 2000 Exclusive came at a time when TAG Heuer was in the throes of becoming part of the LVMH group and looking to become more, ahem... exclusive. So what we have is a sort of 'higher end' version of the venerable 2000 Series, complete with a new more angular and chunky bezel. The 2000 Exclusive is rather 'new money' in it's approach with the big '12' and lots of gold bezels, but elegant it is not. Perhaps wary of competing with the Alter Ego series there are very few diamond 2000 Exclusives and (initially at least) a less than enthralling array of dial colours on offer. On the upside we do have a number of limited editions, some of which were very limited indeed.

One of the things I like about the 2000 Exclusive is the way they have kept the date 'level' even when it's at the '4' position, to my eyes it looks much better than the usual 'wonky' approach which always looks like it's been forced in wherever they could fit it. One downside of these watches though is the raised inner edge of the bezel which is highly polished and as such attracts a lot of little scratches, so if that's a deal breaker for you then maybe look elsewhere...

Interestingly, the 2000 Exclusive was never sold on any kind of strap (except the Aquagraph which was available on rubber) and I don't think I've ever seen where anyone has switched one onto a strap either. Perhaps this is a testament to the design and build quality of the bracelet, which is one of the nicest TAG Heuer have ever made in my humble opinion.


Please note, as usual exact case sizes are the subject of some speculation, I have gone with a generic 38mm for men's models and 28mm for ladies pieces. The 2004-2005 catalogues give the sizes for some models as 37.5mm and 27.2mm, but elsewhere we see sizes such as 39mm and 29mm.


1999 CATALOGUE

The 2000 Exclusive makes its debut in the 1999 catalogue, although only three pieces are shown - all three handers; a men's quartz, a ladies quartz and a men's automatic. One presumes that this didn't showcase the entire range, but merely a 'selection' to show the basics.



WN1112.BA0311: 38mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1351.BA0313: 28mm, black/gold dial, gold/steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN2111.BA0311: 38mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)


2000 CATALOGUE

The 2000 catalogue shows two of the watches from the previous catalogue wearing new bracelets, seemingly this is the case across the board now and the old 2000 bracelet appears to have been dropped for the Exclusive range. From this I would assume we can reasonably surmise that any watches with the old style bracelet originate from 1999/2000? 

There are now a wider range of watches on display including for the first time quartz chronographs.


CN1110.BA0337: 38mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
CN1111.BA0337: 38mm, silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
CN1150.BA0337: 38mm, black dial, rose gold/steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN1112.BA0332: 38mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1150.BA0332: 38mm, silver dial, rose gold/steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1311.BA0333: 28mm, silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN2110.BA0332: 38mm, silver Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
WN2111.BA0332: 38mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
WN1210.BA0336: 38mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


2001 CATALOGUE

A lot of previously shown models are duplicated in this catalogue, but there are plenty of new pieces and also colour options are shown beneath the watches pictured.


CN1151.BD0347: 38mm, silver dial, gold/steel bezel on a two tone bracelet (quartz)
CN1152.BD0347: 38mm, black dial, gold/steel bezel on a two tone bracelet (quartz)
CN2112.BA0339: 38mm, blue Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)


WN1110.BA0332: 38mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1111.BA0332: 38mm, white dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1212.BA0336: 28mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN1353.BD0342: 28mm, silver dial, gold/steel bezel on a two tone bracelet (quartz)
WN1354.BD0342: 28mm, black dial, gold/steel bezel on a two tone bracelet (quartz)
WN1350.BA0333: 28mm, silver dial, gold/steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN2112.BA0332: 38mm, blue Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
WN1312.BA0333: 28mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


2002-2003 CATALOGUE

2002 sees a further, gradual expansion of the product range, including the addition of the first solid gold 2000 Exclusives for men and women.


CN1112.BA0337: 38mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
CN2110.BA0339: 38mm, silver Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
CN2111.BA0339: 38mm, black Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)


WN1153.BD0341: 38mm, silver dial, gold/steel bezel on a two tone bracelet (quartz)
WN1154.BD0341: 38mm, black dial, gold/steel bezel on a two tone bracelet (quartz)


WN5140.BG0351: 38mm, silver dial, solid gold bezel case and bracelet (chronometer)
WN1340.BG0352: 28mm, MOP/diamond dial, solid gold bezel, case and bracelet (quartz)


2004-2005 CATALOGUE

The 2004 catalogue marks the point where the 2000 range splinters further with the introduction of the 2000 Aquaracer, and the beginning of the end of the 2000 Exclusive range. Undaunted, TAG Heuer started to introduce coloured dials into the ladies range along with the ultimate dive watch, the '2000 Aquagraph' which is clearly modelled after the 2000 Exclusive with the bezel in particular bearing a strong resemblance and is included in the 2000 Exclusive section of the catalogue as a consequence.

This catalogue also features a new range of bracelets, refreshing watches that we've already seen, but this is also the last catalogue to feature a full range of 2000 Exclusive watches as the range is rebranded Aquaracer and nearly all the 2000E models are expunged in the process.


CN2110.BA0361: 38mm, silver Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic) 
CN2111.BA0361: 38mm, black Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
CN2112:BA0361: 38mm, blue Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)


WN111C.BA0359: 38mm, silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN13IC.BA0360: 28mm, silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1310.BA0333: 28mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN2110.BA0359: 38mm, silver Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
WN2111.BA0359: 38mm, black Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
WN2112.BA0359: 38mm, blue Clous de Paris dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)


WN2310.BA0360: 28mm, pink guilloche dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
WN2311.BA0360: 28mm, blue guilloche dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)


CN211A.BA0353: 42mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (automatic)
CN211A.FT8001: 42mm, black dial, steel bezel on a black rubber strap (automatic)
CN211A.ER004: Box set containing watch head, both straps and changing tools


2006-2007 CATALOGUE

As previously mentioned with the 2006 catalogue the 2000 name disappears completely along with nearly all the watches. The only carryovers are the Aquagraph (which drops the 2000 prefix) and the two (pink and blue) automatic ladies watches introduced last time around, though these are now categorized as 'Aquaracers' in the catalogue.


2008-2009 CATALOGUE

This is the final entry for the Aquagraph, which is itself the last remaining vestige of the 2000 Exclusive model line. Design cues live on in the Aquaracer series however, in particular the strong, angular bezel which appears to influence the look of such models as the CAF1112.



NON-CATALOGUE MODELS


CN111B.BA0337: 38mm, grey dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
CN111E.BA0337: 38mm, black/silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
CN111F.BA0337: 38mm, black/silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


CN111G.BA0337: 38mm, blue/silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
CN111H.BA0337: 38mm, silver/black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN1110.BA0311: 38mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1111.BA0311: 38mm, white dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1113.BA0332: 38mm, silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN1115.BA0332: 38mm, taupe dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1116.BA0332: 38mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (Palau L/E)


CN111C.BA0337: 38mm, silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (FIS Alpine Skiing L/E)
CN111D.BA0337: 38mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (Seychelles L/E)
CN1119.BA0337: 38mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (FIS Alpine Skiing L/E)


WN111A.BA0332: 38mm, taupe dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (Rangiroa, Tahita L/E)
WN111B.BA0332: 38mm, grey dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) 
WN111F.BA0332: 38mm, black dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (Mt Hood L/E)


WN111G.BA0359: 38mm, silver/diamond dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN111M.BA0332: 38mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (Cayman Islands L/E)


WN131D.BA0360: 28mm, blue dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (Seychelles L/E)
WN131H.BA0360: 28mm, white/diamond dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN131J.BA0360: 28mm, silver/diamond dial, diamond/steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN1151.BA0332: 38mm, black dial, gold/steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN1152.BA0332: 38mm, white dial. gold/steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)
WN131K.BA0360: 28mm, MOP dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


WN5141.BG0351: 38mm, silver/diamond, gold/diamond bezel, case and bracelet (automatic)
WN1351.BA0333: 28mm, black dial, gold/steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz)


2000 AUSTRALIAN SUMMER OLYMPICS WATCHES


During my research for this post I came across a poster for a series of watches celebrating athletes competing at the 2000 Olympic Games. I was already aware of the Marion Jones and James Tomkins watches and had photographs / part numbers in hand, and I managed to find a photograph of the Susie O'Neill watch but no part number... as for the others, well no luck so far, if I do manage to find something I will amend the post accordingly.


CN1116.BA0337: 38mm, silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (Marion Jones L/E)
XXXXXXX.XXXXXX: 38mm, silver dial, steel bezel / bracelet (quartz) (Susie O Neill L/E)


CN1118.BA0337: 38mm, silver dial, steel bezel on a bracelet (quartz) (J.Tomkins L/E)


LIMITED EDITION WATCHES

CN111C.BA0337: FIS Alpine Ski World Championships Limited Edition - 700 pieces
CN111D.BA0337: Seychelles Limited Edition - ? pieces
CN1116.BA0337: Marion Jones American Limited Edition - 150 pieces
CN1118.BA0337: James Tomkins Australian Limited Edition - 30 pieces
CN1119.BA0337: FIS Alpine Ski World Championships Limited Edition - 300 pieces
WN111A.BA0332: Rangiroa, Tahiti Limited Edition - ? pieces
WN111F.BA0332: Mt Hood, Oregon Limited Edition - 800 pieces
WN111M.BA0332: Cayman Islands Limited Edition - ? pieces
WN1116.BA0332: Blue Holes, Palau Limited Edition - ? pieces
WN131D.BA0360: Seychelles Limited Edition - 2000 pieces
XXXXXX.XXXXXX: Colin Jackson Limited Edition - 100 pieces
XXXXXX.XXXXXX: Daniel Kowalski Australian Limited Edition - 30 pieces
XXXXXX.XXXXXX: Susie O'Neill Australian Limited Edition - 80 pieces
XXXXXX.XXXXXX: Shane Kelly Australian Limited Edition - 80 pieces



Now, at the start of this post I mentioned that I had rarely seen a 2000 Exclusive on a strap, since they were only sold on bracelets and few people seem to switch them out. But no sooner had I written that than MZZLeather posted a photo on Calibre11 of his WN2110 Automatic on a purple leather strap. I thought it looked fantastic and with his kind permission here you can see how great the 2000 Exclusive looks off its usual bracelet and on a bespoke strap made by MZZ Leather himself! 

I have to say that silver Clous de Paris dial is the perfect 'blank canvas' for any colour of strap, and it kinda makes me reconsider my thinking about silver dials being a bit dull!


Click HERE to view the TAG Heuer History Menu Page

Friday, 20 November 2020

BUYING EXPERIENCE: TAG Heuer Formula 1 Quartz Ladies Watch

 
365.508

You may remember a little while ago I wrote a 'Not Buying Experience' post about this very watch. As you might recall, my first issue was that the seller had (0) feedback, and my second that they were in America so customs charges were to be expected. They had also set the carriage to the UK at something like £112, which was just hilarious, however even they saw the error of their ways there and changed the listing to utilise Amazon's worldwide postage service which brought it down to a much more agreeable £16.74.

There was still the undisclosed customs charges to worry about though, on top of the £286.74 I ended up paying for the watch, and while I had mentally prepared myself for an absolutely worst case scenario of maybe £80, I was still a little way off as the label below shows...


Hmm, £102.15 in taxes! That's quite a lot isn't it, really... oh well, it's not like I could get a classic NOS raspberry Formula 1 locally, so it is what it is. But even so... it doth grieve me slightly!

Putting that aside, what I actually got is pretty cool. The watch really does look spanking brand new (as indeed it should) and the packaging is in good condition. The oddly 'slanted' box is excellent, the cardboard sleeve not quite as perfect but perfectly acceptable for 30 years old and the booklet is intact, present and tidy.

The watch itself gives me some cause for concern - I'm not sure it's quite as vibrant as my wife is expecting, so I hope it's not a disappointment come Christmas morning, but we did establish that the colour is in fact raspberry and not the 'hot' pink we originally thought, so hopefully not.


That aside it seems to be running well and the hands and dial look fantastic, there's certainly no problem with legibility with those white hands, although obviously the tritium lume its past its best (about five years past it really) but still works, if somewhat dimly.

I did check with TAG Heuer to see if the strap was still available and indeed it is, although I was slightly panicked when they said there was '1' available. Of course, they meant there was one 'strap reference' available for that watch, while I (stupidly) thought they meant it was the last fuscia strap left in the world!


You might be wondering why a) the box is such a peculiar shape, and b) why the box is so big when the watch is so small. Well, as far as the first question goes, I can only imagine it's some expression of avant garde design... and as for the second question, the box is used for both male and female watches and has a sort of removable cradle to make the case smaller for women's watches. 

The white part with the logo and the F1 McLaren on it is card and opens to access the plastic base and watch and that whole part slides into the orange/transparent plastic sleeve. The instruction booklet goes underneath too, though there's no particular place for it to go, but it fits all the same.

All in all though, it seems my faith in Sodeia Watches was not misplaced and they have delivered exactly what they promised. I see they now have three (positive) feedbacks, one of which was for a minty looking full gold 1000 Series (980.017) with the original box - very nice!

So there we have it, the most expensive classic Formula 1 I have purchased so far (by quite some margin, most have been less than £200) and quite possibly the last, since I don't feel a desperate need to add any more to my collection and I think my wife probably has enough now as well. I think it's definitely time to start saving up and move onto something else.


Wednesday, 18 November 2020

SPOTLIGHT ON: Heuer 3000 Automatic (LWO 283) Chronograph

132.206

When I visited the TAG Heuer museum in La Chaux de Fonds back in September 2018, one of the watches which made the strongest impression on me was a two-tone Heuer 3000 chronograph. I instantly resolved to add a 3000 Series to my collection, but it proved harder than I expected and it took over a year to find a full sized one in the UK at a sensible price. That first one was a two-tone three hander, which I liked very much, but I still hankered after a steel chronograph.

A year later I managed to acquire a steel 3000 but it was another three hander, and boy did I have problems getting a couple of links to make the bracelet long enough for me to wear! Despite that, I absolutely fell in love with it and it remains one of my absolute favourite watches to this day... but of course the search for the elusive chronograph continued.


I have (very) occasionally seen 3000 Series chronographs for sale on eBay, but they are usually on leather straps (3000s were never officially sold on anything other than bracelets), almost always two-tone or gold and uniformly from Japan or the United States (and as such subject to import taxes). The watch you are looking at here is also situated in the United States, but crucially steel and on its original bracelet and that was more than enough to pique my interest.


Naturally, I would prefer a 'TAG Heuer' version of the watch (even though I know the 'Heuer' badge makes it at least 50% 'better'...) but given how difficult these are to find I would probably have made an exception in this case, and while I have recently discovered just how financially punitive importing from America can be (more on that to follow) to secure a watch such as this I think I would have been willing to take the hit. 

So what was the problem?


The problem, unfortunately, is that this watch was being sold for spares and repairs and furthermore the seller suspects that there may have been water ingress into the case. I must say it was very commendable for him to own up to that, as many an unscrupulous seller would have left that particular detail out of their description and hoped for the best.

Despite that, this watch sold for £540 (with bids from 13 different people) and with import duties and VAT it would have cost me at least £700 and that's before we even talk about getting it working again, which I'm guessing would have cost at the absolute minimum something like £350 and possibly quite a lot more depending on how messed up the watch is inside.


So, reluctantly I had to pass on this one, which grieves me quite a bit..but I really don't want to get involved in a watch that could prove difficult and expensive to own, repair and wear. It's such a shame though, because at 39mm this would have looked absolutely fantastic on my wrist. 

Admittedly I'm not 100% sure whether the packaging is original or not, given that this is a Heuer branded watch in a TAG Heuer branded box. But I could certainly believe that this box (which I've never come across before, incidentally) is from the correct period - the mid 1980, and given that both my 3000s have TAG Heuer on the dial but Heuer clasps I don't find it that hard to believe that TAG Heuer might have despatched an unsold Heuer in a TAG Heuer box.


While the 3000 Series is clearly still influencing the modern TAG Heuer Aquaracer, you might also see something of a similarity to another legendary watch and that similarity actually extends beyond the simple aesthetics. You see, according to this page from 'WatchLegend.com' the Heuer 132.206 uses the same Lemania/Dubois Depraz 2000 chronograph module that can be found in the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak! So if you look at it as a cheap alternative to Audemars Piguet's most celebrated model then at a thousand pounds it's a good option.

But for me, there comes a point where I have to take the view that £1000 could be better spent on something more modern, less trouble and which I know can be repaired if necessary. I mean, does TAG Heuer have spare hands, dials, etc available for a watch like this? Especially if the seller thinks there may have been water ingress...

And on top of all of that, the seller doesn't give the size of the bracelet, and I don't want to go through all tht again. So.... no regrets, keep looking; maybe one day a working piece will turn up with a full size bracelet and a reasonable price tag, maybe?

Monday, 16 November 2020

ON THE WRIST: TAG Heuer Formula 1 'Carbon Effect Dial' Quartz Chronograph

CAZ101AC.BA0842

TAG Heuer Boutique / Meadowhall, Sheffield, 17th Aug 2020

This was probably the new release that I was most looking forward to seeing up close and personal and while it didn't disappoint me exactly, it certainly didn't grab me by the throat and thoroughly convince me to buy it like I hoped it might. It didn't help that the salesman misheard me and pulled out the bracelet version instead of the rubber strap model that I was hoping to try... but once he'd pulled it out of the cabinet I figured I'd better just go with it since I was going to be trying on quite a few pieces here today and I didn't want to rub him up the wrong way from the start what with them having to sanitize each piece before putting them back!

Strangely, my first reaction to the watch once I got it on the wrist was that it looked 'small', which was odd because at 43mm it isn't and in fact it was exactly the same size as the Aquaracer I was wearing. I can only assume it's an illusion caused by the bright yellow chapter ring against the carbon effect dial, which appears slightly thicker than it really is from some angles because it is reflected in the polished recess that surrounds it. 


You may be surprised to learn that the watch has a ceramic bezel (a step in the right direction for sure), which means you don't have to worry about those pesky scratches. On the other hand it does add to the cost of ownership; this one is currently listed on the TAG Heuer website at £1650, which is £200 more than the new Formula 1 Red Bull Special Edition. On the plus side, when this eventually turns up on Watchfinder pre-owned in a few years at least the bezel won't be scratched up...!


The carbon fibre textured dial (as opposed to 'carbon fibre' dial, an important distinction as the dial is not made from carbon fibre but merely patterned to resemble the lattice weave of layered carbon) looks great and all round the watch is very bold, colourful and rather 'in your face' which is exactly what a TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch should be.

It is perhaps the Formula 1 'Senna' for those with no interest in Ayrton Senna (there are some, apparently), as it carries a similar aura with that bright yellow chapter ring and the carbon fibre dial screams 'motor racing'... come to think of it I don't think there's ever been a 'Senna' watch with a carbon fibre dial, at least not under the TAG Heuer banner (believe it or not for a period of time the 'Senna' name was licensed to other brands besides TAG Heuer before returning to the brand that Ayrton actually wore in 2015), but of course I could be wrong - please let me know in the comments!

CAZ101AC.FT8024

Going in to this I honestly believed that the CAZ101AC was going to be my next watch, but it just didn't trigger that 'got to have it' feeling in my wallet pocket. I don't think it was because I tried on the bracelet version either, although the woeful pressed clasp (yes, that again) didn't help matters. It seems slightly incongruous that they have upgraded the bezel to a ceramic but left in place this penny pinching eyesore, and this on a watch that cost £1650. Truthfully that clasp shouldn't be on any watch costing more than £400, sure it 'works' but it conveys zero feeling of luxury and like the plastic movement holders that TAG Heuer insist on using are an unnecessary own goal providing easy pot shots for the TAG haters out there on the internet.

Having said all that, looking at these pictures the watch still tempts me to give it a second look. Maybe once this current lockdown is over and the shops are open once again, I need to to do just that? And this time I will make sure I try it on the rubber strap, as I intended in the first place.


CAZ101AC.BA0842 on the TAG Heuer website

CAZ101AC.FT8024 on the TAG Heuer website