TAG Heuer Formula 1 Max Verstappen CAZ101U review
We’re finally starting to see some progress towards the finish line with all the insanity going on in the world, and to celebrate this victory we’d like to share this absolute WINNER with you which is the TAG Heuer Max Verstappen CAZ101U. So first things first, who the heck is Max Verstappen!? Well, Max is a Belgian-Dutch Formula 1 racing driver who drives for the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team. He is a top notch driver and most famous for being the youngest Grand Prix winner in the history of Formula 1. To which it’s no surprise that TAG Heuer jumped on the opportunity to collaborate with such an iconic sportsman.
Since 2016 Tag have teamed up with Verstappen to produce 4 different special edition watches. All of which have been super successful. In 2016 we saw the release of the first collaboration which was the CAZ101B, or better known as the “Dutch Pride” watch. This quartz F1 watch was a limited edition piece of 500 and was only available for sale in Max’s stomping ground, the Netherlands.
A year later in 2017 a second quartz F1 Verstappen watch, the CAZ101G, was unveiled. This time being referred to as the “No.33” as a nod towards Max’s infamous 33 race number. As prior, this watch was again limited to a set amount of pieces, this time 533.
Following suit, 2018 then treated us with a reveal of the third quartz F1 Verstappen watch which is the watch we are going to be reviewing today – the CAZ101U. Originally priced at £1895, Tag decided to ramp up production on this one and produce a whopping 1300 pieces.
Finally in 2019 Tag broke pattern and introduced a 333 piece mechanical watch to the Dutchman’s line-up, the CAZ2018.
Of all 4 watches, the CAZ101U is my personal favourite. I’m sure that most would prefer to go for the automatic variant but the CAZ101U just pops for me. It's so fun to look at and wear. So without further ado lets get a deeper look into what this watch has to offer. DIAL Starting with the main event, the dial, we can see that TAG have really put some effort in to making the dial of this watch pop. Since owning it we have received hundreds of compliments on just how lovely it looks. Straight away we can’t help but notice the beautiful colour scheme going on here. We have a super cool contrast between the black and synonymous Red Bull Racing red. Both work together so well to give the watch a lovely personality, it’s not so often that we get to see this cool shade of red on watches.
The copious amounts of black and red are broken up nicely by the little hints of white that we get from the numeral and hand markers. These dashes of white are positioned in all the right places to just help to bring our attention nicely back to the time telling fundamentals of the watch and prevent the core features from being swallowed up by that dominant colour scheme.
Overall the dial is fairly busy, but it’s packed full of those classic features that we expect to see on a TAG Heuer F1 chronograph watch – all of which are vital complications needed to the needs of a world class F1 driver. We have a really well positioned date window on this watch and a typical 3 sub dial set up that shows us the seconds, minutes and hours passed when using the chronograph feature. Each sub dial is well colour coordinated with the rest of the watch and ever so slightly dipped into the main dial to make each one stand individually in its own little circle.
Now as this is a chronograph watch its all about the accuracy of time telling.Therefore its quite important that the hands and indices carry a high degree of readability. Admittedly, the hands in the sub-dials are leaning more towards the small side and can be a tad difficult to see at times, however they are helped on by the bright red somewhat.
As for the main set of hands, they are chunkily legible. TAG made a wise move by incorporating the white into the main set of hands as it makes them appear more at home on the dial and makes them super easy to lock your eyes onto. The same can be said for the well-faceted numeral markers. Readability during the darker hours is also no issue as the main elements are treated with LumiNova.
There are a couple of fun personalised Verstappen features on this dial, the first being Max’s signature 33 race number placed in the bottom sub dial. The second being the jazzy strip that runs through the right-hand dial – a slimmed down version of the Dutch flag which is a nod towards Max’s nationality. CASE & BEZEL Moving on to the case and bezel, we can see a lot of different finishes going on here from polished, to brushed to full on ceramic.
The bezel is a riveted, contrast bezel that features both polished and brushed steel. These two finishes compliment each other very well as the brushed steel counteracts the flashiness of the polished steel when the light dazzles on it. This prevents the watch from becoming too flashy and helps it to shine in all of the right places. As the bezel is riveted it does give the impression that it a rotational piece. However, this is not the case – and rightly so. Instead TAG have utilised the fixed bezel by adding a deeply engraved tachymeter scale onto the black ceramic insert, ideal for F1 racing.
The case of the watch follows the same theming as the bezel with regards to the polished/brushed steel finish. It is brushed on top and polished to a near mirrored finish on the sides. On the crown side of the watch we of course have the riveted, easy grip crown for extra grip assistance when setting the time and date and on either side of the crown we have the chronograph pushers. We have had no issues with any of these features, all are smooth and sturdy to use.
As for the overall shape of the case, it does take on a somewhat curvy look thanks to the tapering of the lugs. It does also take on a more short and stocky look/feel due to the shortness of the lugs. When compared to something like a Carrera, we can see that the lugs on this watch do run quite small which gives the watch a more compact feel and look.
In keeping with the different styles of finishes on this watch, the bracelet is no exception. We have a sandwich set up whereby the ceramic is surrounded by the brushed and polished steel. This again gives the watch those lovely subtle flashes when the light hits it, but nothing too in your face.
Upon the strap we have a sturdy dual triggered fold over clasp with micro adjustment holes on the side for fine tuning. We also have an additional diving extension which is confusing to some people as to why a sports watch would have a diving extension, but the watch is actually still waterproofed to 200m.
The strap overall is robust and durable but as with all steel bracelets, it is prone to picking up desk diving marks over time. We found that is felt very nice on the wrist and were surprised with the lack of skin pinching that you sometimes get between the links. BACK Now, no Formula 1 watch can be complete without that iconic checkerboard motif engraved into the back, and here we have no exception. We also have a nod towards the Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing team engraved right in the centre of the caseback. And of course, moving towards the outer of the caseback, we see the typical waterproofing, model code and reference details - along with the limited edition engraving.