Tag Heuer Formula 1 GMT review WAZ201A, WAZ211A
So here we are again. Still on lockdown, still standing in those mad supermarket queues, still waiting for a superhero to pull the world out of this madness! CUE BATMAN!
What a lovely little article to bring a smile to your face during such a crazy time. But I know what all of you watch fanatics are really thinking when you hear the word Batman…
BOOM! The Tag Heuer Formula 1 GMT! Ok… so perhaps I’m wrong. Most likely you had the more iconic Rolex GMT-Master II in your mind, but hey, I have to work with what Ive got here – which is this lovely Tag Heuer F1 GMT David Guetta WAZ201A.
This interesting piece is a 2015 special edition release of TAG’s 2014 WAZ211A. The watch is designed to pay homage to TAG’s DJ ambassador, David Guetta, in a bid to remind everyone that TAG is still young, hip and absolutely daring.
Straight away when we look at these two watches side by side we can see that TAG really have put some effort into making sure the WAZ201A portrays some special edition-esque about it that fits Guetta’s party lifestyle. Rather than just simply slapping the David Guetta logo onto the original WAZ2011A and trying to pass it off as something different.
Originally the DG watch was priced at £1850, £155 more than its older brother that still retails at £1695. However, as the WAZ201A is a special edition piece, it is no longer available for retail sale. The only way you can bag one is through second-hand means where the value is around £1100-£1200.
Being a special edition piece it’s no surprise that the DG is priced slightly higher than the WAZ211A, thanks to some of the extra features that have bumped up the manufacturing costs. So without further ado let’s explore these feature in a more detail and see how this watch has been tailored to the hectic life of an international superstar.
I love the dial on both of these models, but the DG is my favourite. The blue faceted hands and indices just top it for me. I feel that they give the watch much more well rounded look that brings the whole colour scheme together so nicely.
Telling the time on this watch isn't difficult at all. The hands and indices are big enough to read from a fair distance. However, the absence of the large 12 and 6 numerals on the dial, when compared to the WAZ211A, are something that I miss. Nevertheless, we can see that TAG have tried to rectify these issues by replacing the 12 with a logo-shaped marker and have made the 6 and 9 o’clock markers slightly longer than all the rest to increase readability.
As for the GMT hand TAG have kept the same design as the original to clearly distinguish it against the regular hands that mark the 1st time zone.
Moving on to the smaller markers and numerals that run around the outer track of the dial, this gives the watch that true F1 feel. It certainly creates a well balanced contrast and gives our eyes that much needed break between the copious amounts of black and blue.
Speaking of which, I was initially quite sceptical about how well this watch would read in the dark due to the blue colouring on the markers. In my experience coloured markers don’t usually hold the lume as well as the plain ones do. Then I remembered that this watch is built for an international DJ that plays pretty much all of his shows in dark nightclubs – so the lume has to be good, right?
Right! Surprisingly the lume holds up very nicely. As with a lot of their modern watches, TAG have used a two-tone Luminova scheme whereby the blue markers have a turquoise glow to them and the white GMT hand glows lime green. This really helps us to identify that second time zone much easier in the dark.
As for the date window, I feel that its presented very well and easy to read when on the wrist. Its surrounded by a thin white box to help draw your attention to it. This allows for the date window to actually become a part of the watch rather than having it fade into the background and go unnoticed. A nice touch here by TAG.
Another small attention to detail is the wording on the dial. TAG have replaced the original “CALIBRE 7 GMT” writing with “ DAVID GUETTA EDITION” written in Guetta’s logo style font. I feel that this is a cool little nod to remind you of the exclusivity of this watch and home in on the David Guetta aspect of the watch.
BEZEL & CASE
The riveted bezel has caused some confusion amongst this piece as it gives the impression that the bezel is bidirectional and can be utilised as a 3rd time-zone indicator. However, this isn’t the case, the bezel is actually fixed.
Why? Well, presumably TAG wanted to keep the aesthetics of the watch true to the F1 generics, hence the riveted bezel. But it seems that they didn’t want to stray too far away from the typical features of the F1 line that are usually fixed and unidirectional bezels. Therefore in this case it seems that TAG have just opted for the easier fixed bezel.
Nevertheless the bezel does a great job at helping us to easily flick between those two time-zones, and just like the Rolex GMT that batman colour scheme really does distinguish that day/night crossover – a must-have feature for any frequent travelling DJ.
And speaking of DJ features on this watch, its no coincidence that TAG decided to ditch
the plain steel design for a black titanium coated version that reflects a bit more Guetta’s touch. Anyone else remember that song? I AM TITAAAANIIIIUM *bass drop*.
For me, the swap out of this colour scheme is superb. As I mentioned earlier, it really does help to give the watch that much more cool and well-rounded look.
CROWN & CASEBACK
In-keeping with the F1 DNA, TAG have fitted this watch with an easy grip crown; and trust me it’s absolutely necessary. Why? Because the protrusion of the bund strap makes it harder to get a full grip on the crown without having to flex it back – praise the easy grip. As for the crown itself, like all F1 crowns, it rotates superbly and cuts like butter.
The bund strap again causes a bit of an obstruction when it comes to the caseback. TAG have gone to the effort of beautifully engraving a special edition feature into the caseback that is unfortunately hidden by the bund. Nonsensical perhaps? Let’s see…
STRAP & CLASP
Although the bund strap causes a couple of obstructions it can actually be removed which eradicates these small issues. WOO. So hold on, why even have a bund strap in the first place?
According to David Guetta himself, the bund acts as a professional wristband that better fixes the watch to the DJ’s wrist and makes it more comfortable to wear during long performances. So there you have it.
But for those of you wondering about the origins of this unusual strap; it was originally designed for war purposes to protect the wearers wrist from the temperature of the metal in extremely hot/cold temperatures.
So lets have a look at our strap in more detail.
It’s safe to say that the bund strap on this watch is definitely the most distinctive feature that sets it apart from the traditional steel strap on the WAZ211A. Its quite a shy away from what we expect a typical F1 strap to be.
The 1970’s style strap is made from a high quality grade calfskin which you can immediately detect when touching the strap. The top layer of leather is noticeably hardwearing without losing any flexibility – great for strap durability. As for the underside it’s divinely soft and smooth, an absolute pleasure to wear - no irritation, no snagging, perfection. Looks like David was right after all.
The strap uses a traditional buckle system. To which the holes and buckle are both robust, easy to use and well designed; perfect for anyone looking for quick adjustment at any time.
Slightly bigger than the original 41mm WAZ211A, the special edition’s case measures in at a more hefty 43mm. However, that does increase to a whopping 50mm when we take into consideration the bund strap.
Now, I know that 50mm sounds horrifically big and to be honest it does look and feel quite large on the wrist but this can be eradicated by simply detaching the bund section of the strap.
It does however change the way that the watch wears on the wrist. With the addition of the bund, the watch is able to really contour to the shape of your wrist and really envelope it. Meaning virtually no gaps and a very sturdy wrist-to-watch connection.
The thickness of the watch itself is 12.5mm but again with that bund attachment we see it raised by a couple of mil. Because of this the watch becomes more protruded and takes on a sort of “forced perspective” feel to it whereby the watch feels way bigger than it actually is.
The same thing can be said about the band width. Without the bund we see the band width measuring in at 21mm, whereas with the bund we see an increase to around 34mm. For me this is the main aspect that gives the watch its larger feel because we are missing that pause in the aesthetic where the strap provides a counterbalance against the larger case to thin the watch out.
As for the watch movement itself we have an automatic piece fitted with an ETA 2893-2 movement that TAG have modified to fit their Calibre 7 spec. It operates very smoothly and feels well refined. Its definitely a contender to some of the other big names out there
Not to forget, it is still waterproofed to 200m so remains a practical piece as well. Great for when someone spills a beer over your wrist at one of those foam after-parties.
So what’s my overall opinion on this watch?
I love the watch for what it is. I much prefer the special edition over the original just purely for its visuals. That and the fact that I’m a sucker for special editions. However, I will point out that I did quite quickly find myself removing the bund. It made my wrist get quite warm and just made the watch a little too big for my personal preference. No issue though, it’s easy to remove and put back on so long as you have a spring bar remover.
Overall, the watch is a very fun, different looking piece, runs like… clockwork and is perfect for any international DJ.