The story of me and my Replica watch
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Feel to get a moment about your favourite watch - is it your newest a single? one of the most high-priced a single? It's probably not. Numerous watch collectors keep aside certain watches that will in no way be sold, no matter what price tag is offered. And speaking of dollars, far more of these will be spent keeping that special watch working than the watch is worth.
And to celebrate these watches, we've created a new series of articles about you and your Heuer or Replica TAG Heuer watch - myTAG.
F1 myTAGSince the first Calibre 11 article just about 5 years ago, our focus has been on telling the story behind your watch - who designed it, why the watch looks the way it does and what was going on in the watch market in the time your watch was launched. But now we want to flip this around and have you tell us your story. The story of you and your watch.
The first in our series comes from Michael Whayman, who got in contact late last year looking for help in tracking down a movement for his restoration project. We couldn't provide much help, but got to know a little in the story behind the watch, which Michael was kind enough to share.
myTAG - 1989 TAG Heuer Formula 1 385.513
General Catalog 91
It was in 1989, I was 20 - and it was time to look to get a real watch, something I could wear forever and something I liked.
In early January 1989 I went on a trip with my partner in the time, and my mum to Melbourne, we live on an island in the South of Australia called Tasmania and I live in the capital City of Hobart. It was a shopping trip for mum and my partner, but I was around the lookout for any new watch.
I bear in mind that morning at Thomas Jewellers in Melbourne, I said to my partner and mum - That may be the watch I want, and I intend to wear it forever, (there was no changing my mind). This was the intended mission for this watch, wear it for a lifetime. I bear in mind at the time my partner "got why I liked it mostly", but more-so my mother thought I was "a little unhinged" in my watch choice (a $1599 watch that looked like plastic!), she while in the background was also rather loudly pushing her opinion, "buy the BLACK ONE" and also other quotes from her I try to remember "so you're going to wear THIS watch all your life", she was not convinced, nor impressed. She of course did not realise the watch was built like a tank, accurate beyond belief, and also the style really by no means does "goes out".
I think now in 2013 she probably realises I produced the right choice, particularly for me.
Life with my Formula 1
The F1 classic Red Replica TAG Heuer was a fantastic watch, I loved the look of it, and it was thin and sturdy. And pretty importantly to me was the easy to read, simple white dial, light weight and resin band, rather than metal.
The watch had to live through some harsh occasions, motocross, Aviation (mostly the fuel during re-fuelling splashing on it) car services and just general 24/7 wear (I worked in IT as well, so loads of scratches and wear was from putting my arm into server cabinets/farms). I actually by no means removed the watch for much more than a couple of hours in 23 years, lest I say I had a fairly white band of skin underneath after that long.
By the year 1999 the watch Replica was still going fantastic, except the external wear was bad, real bad (but I have to say, not as bad as in 2010). I was about to have it restored at that point but we suddenly had a family tragedy (my 26 year old brother was a passenger inside a head on collision and was killed). This took a long time to get more than, and restoring the watch was not even on my mind for a couple of years since then (I was still wearing it of course) but it looked ragged.
By this time the watch had also been through nine or so straps/bands. In my hometown TAG bands were getting difficult to find by 1997, so after then non-standard bands exactly where fitted in order for me to just keep on wearing my watch. Most of the non-standard bands fitted OK, and some had been even red, but the latter ones fitted poorly as well as the colour was mostly black¡.more on this later (in total it had 18 straps put on it more than the 23 years).
I have over the years, like a lot of of us, taken hundreds of family & friends photos, and lots of video - my watch appears in photos from the late 80¡äs till now, this somehow is really a little funny to me, and adds sentimentality.
Restoring the F1
After a handful of years and looking down each and every day at my pretty worn TAG, I realised I HAVE to get this restored (this was 2010 by now) - but I was in denial as well, how on earth was I going to locate ALL the exterior parts to restore this thing to look like new! Specifically since it was 23 years old.
Then (after still having put it off) we come to early 2012 - I was putting my hand in my pocket, and also the force with the watch catching on my deep pocket jeans broke on the list of lugs off the case, the pin had pulled/broke through the fiberglass - the watch could no longer be worn, this forced my hand - the watch now had to be restored in order to function, and I needed a Case. Even when I was intending to restore the watch in 1999, I was going to do the case at the same time - it had a fair amount of wear damage, and even the words "Formula 1¡å had been scratched away significantly which you'll be able to see around the lower component on the writing "formula 1¡å in the prior to picture.
BeforeI want to defend the watch at this point - it was an incredibly robust watch, along with the lug breakage was lots due to using non-original bands. The non-precise fitting thick bands (with non-standard pins that needed "adjusting" to fit into the lugs) added stresses to the lugs that true original TAG straps/bands would not have.By 1999 the watch had gone through about 6 TAG original bands, and 4 non original (which where fitted in the later years) and it was the poor fitting non-original that were around the watch in the time the lug broke. This was my own doing and fault, and I partially knew the risks, the non original pins especially seemed to dig and stress the resin lugs. But as I have noted, due to so much cosmetic damage, I needed a case anyway.
I'd like to point out that at this point the watch had massive sentimental value to me personally, I'd been wearing it 24/7 for 23 years and my original intention was to wear it for life. Not to mention how much I like the appear on the thing.
Anyway - not one particular for giving up - I started the search for the parts, and of course the case was the hardest element to seek out. I ended up searching two years to get a TAG F1 red case in new condition (I would accept nothing less), I was lucky enough after two years to seek out two 385.513/081 black band models in mint condition (not cheap either) - 1 I just decided to get as a spare, the other I used for parts, to use the case for mine.
All other parts (bezel, red bands, bezel springs and glass) I was able to locate new and original TAG parts also - and now I was armed also with two mint cases - I could now fully restore the watch.
afterThe internal movement, dial and hands are original from my 1989 watch. My local watchmaker did the swap and he did a fantastic job.The watch is 25 years old now, in no way missed a beat (the very first battery lasted 11 years, The watch so far after 25 years has used 5 batteries.) and I intend to wear it the rest of my life.
We tested it last year against the mobile phone cellular network clock, synchronising at start of year, and at the finish it was only 3-seconds out.
As a footnote, I possess a mint condition I wear (with my movement, my original watch effectively etc.) but while I was at it - I ordered 3 of everything, I have three spare red strap sets, 2 new bezels, two sets of springs and two stainless steel backs, but only one spare mint case.
Along with all the sentimental values I have already mentioned, a particularly vital one particular is looking down at the watch face Just about every day, checking the time numerous occasions a day as we do, and seeing that friendly dial, the same dial (and of course movement) that a quarter of a century ago timed events you lived, and was with you all the way.
During the two years I was unable to wear the RED TAG , in the meantime I purchased a 2011 F1 white dial but ordered with the black resin straps. Nice watch, but for me a little as well deep/high and heavy and the dial is larger than I personally like.
TAG CABINET ARTICLEI also created and redrew some artwork, and designed a display case to property the old parts on the watch (the entire exterior) and installed a movement out of on the list of 2 mint spares I purchased (black band/red case models) so it looked as an entire watch, also the reason my old watch has black bands on it (in the case) as that represents the last it looked prior to the lug failure, as I had a non-original black band on it when it broke, I have however put a black TAG band on it for the display case - my watch came originally full red.The cabinet also acts as a small wall clock too now. Also in the display case is a full red TAG (lower portion of cabinet), however this is another mint black band version I purchased for spares, and I have put my new 2nd set of red bands/straps onto it (I have 2 spare sets of red bands) - Keeping in mind the mint condition 1 I wear is my original 1989 movement, hands and dial.
I'll be wearing my Red Fake TAG Heuer to get a long time to come.