TAG Heuer watches, and specifically the Formula 1 collection (obviously, with such a name), are all about racing and motorsports – the sport most associated with the brand. And yes, they often are relatively serious, or at least very focused on real-world automobiles. But what about keeping the racing spirit alive and sending it to a different universe, something about fun and playful inspirations? Something that will speak to a nostalgic (or not) audience? Something about one of the most emblematic characters and video games of the last 30 years? Yes, TAG Heuer is back with Mario Kart and brings two watches that are at the same time serious, unprecedented and very fun indeed. Like it or not…
This pair of Formula 1 limited editions marks the second instalment in the TAG Heuer x Mario Kart story, following last year’s TAG Heuer Connected model, which became a hit in stores and a must-have for true Mario Kart aficionados (and there are a lot of them). Now, the chips and screens are gone and replaced by classic mechanical movements, but the whole light-toned spirit is still alive. Yes, it might seem rather unexpected, but indeed, Mario Kart is all about adrenaline, speed, competitiveness, or, in a nutshell: racing! Just with a different approach than classic F1 or Formula E.
What we’re looking at here is a pair of TAG Heuer Formula 1 models, but not just any kind, since both come with new design elements or new mechanics, which have never been used in past collections. And, of course, there are tons of dedicated Mario Kart elements and customised parts on the dials and cases. Surely, this will be a segmenting pair of watches, which won’t necessarily appeal to a wide audience, but having seen them in the metal and on the wrist, the distinctive elements are present but not overly done. The result is very much TAG Heuer, focused on racing and motorsport, but with a new and fresh playful personality. Some won’t be attracted, some will.
The TAG Heuer X Mario Kart Automatic Chronograph
The first of the two models to be released as part of the mechanical TAG Heuer Formula 1 x Mario Kart collection is a classic automatic chronograph modelled after the signature F1 watch. With its 44mm diameter, the case is made of steel with the characteristic design of the collection – an oval shape for the case and a raised, fixed bezel with a tachymeter scale. The latter, made of black polished ceramic, has Super-LumiNova-filled engravings and a Mario Kart logo. The 2 o’clock pusher and crown are circled with red lacquer, Mario’s M symbol is etched on the crown, and the Mario Kart logo is engraved on the screwed-down caseback.
More specificities can be found on the dial, which has a new black and anthracite chequered pattern inspired by the texture of carbon fibre and custom-grained sub-counters reminiscent of asphalt. Red accents are present all around the dial, including the chronograph hands and also on the frame of the sub-seconds, which is the house for a Mario character. And because the watch is dedicated to the world of video games, there is an “easter egg” to discover… The date window at 3 o’clock will regularly intercalate fan-favourite Mario Kart items, including Bullet Bill, the Banana and others, in lieu of the date number.
Inside the case is the calibre 16, also known as a Sellita SW500, a clone of the classic Valjoux 7750. This automatic chronograph runs at 4Hz and stores 48 hours of power reserve. The watch is worn on a black calf leather strap with contrasting red stitching and lining and a custom-embossed pattern reminiscent of a turtle shell.
A limited edition of 3,000 pieces, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Chronograph (reference CAZ201E.FC6517) is now available and priced at EUR 4,150 or USD 4,300.
Quick facts: 44mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished, fixed ceramic bezel, 200m water-resistant, sapphire crystal – carbon-like black dial, luminous hands and applied markers – calibre 16 automatic 7750-based chronograph – textured black calfskin strap with steel folding clasp – 3,000 pieces
The TAG Heuer X Mario Kart Tourbillon Chronograph
The second watch in this new TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart collection is a more exclusive take on the concept. It is limited to only 250 pieces and is powered by a far more complex movement. Inside this version is the brand’s well-known automatic tourbillon chronograph movement, which has been reworked and redecorated for the occasion.
The Mario Kart Tourbillon Chronograph is housed in a slightly larger 45mm Formula 1 case, now made of lightweight grade 5 titanium with brushed and polished accents. The crown and pushers are classic steel (no red accents), but the black polished and fixed ceramic bezel has been retained, with the same Mario Kart engraving. The screwed caseback retains also the same logos, but the watch is equipped with a sapphire caseback and is water-resistant to a classic 100m rating.
The main evolution concerns the dial. With its different levels, the dial has an architectural look, and the black plates have red surrounding accents. The hands are black lacquered, and all elements are filled with Super-LumiNova. Of course, the star of the show is the tourbillon at 6 o’clock, which has a reworked cage with Mario in his kart, the Spiny Shell and Bullet Bill, all moving in rhythm with the complication and framed by a luminous outline. The chronograph indications are positioned on two sub-counters at 3 and 9 o’clock.
Inside the case is the automatic, in-house calibre Heuer 02T with its 80-hour power reserve and column-wheel architecture. Also, the movement is chronometer-certified by the COSC. Finally, the watch is worn on the same textured leather strap with a grade 5 titanium folding clasp.
A limited edition of 250 pieces, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Chronograph Tourbillon (reference CAZ5080.FC6517) is now available and priced at EUR 24,750 or USD 25,600.
Quick facts: 45mm – grade 5 titanium case, brushed and polished, fixed ceramic bezel, 100m water-resistant, sapphire crystal front and back – opaline black dial with red lining, luminous hands and applied markers – calibre Heuer 02T automatic tourbillon chronograph – textured black calfskin strap with titanium folding clasp – 250 pieces
For more details, please visit tagheuer.com.