McLaren and Watches
For decades, McLaren has had multiple collaborations with various watchmaking companies In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the McLaren Group goes hand in hand with wristwatches. Ron Dennis, the founder of McLaren as we know it today, collaborated with TAG Group to establish TAG McLaren Group. Since then, TAG McLaren took over Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Heuer to form TAG Heuer. And we all know that Heuer is a highly coveted watchmaker and a household name in the watch industry.
Given that the founder of McLaren worked so closely with TAG Heuer, it only makes sense for him to adapt and produce watch lines that complement McLaren road car models. After all, Heuer is best known for its enduring partnership with motorsports, sponsoring and providing timing equipment for various rally events. Many racers back in the ‘50s preferred manually wound Heuer chronographs for timing laps. And we all know Steve McQueen wore a Heuer Monaco in Le Mans (1971). TAG Heuer is perfect for making watches for McLaren too as it was already sponsoring the McLaren F1 Team.
1992 TAG Heuer 6000 Chronometer (The McLaren F1 Watch)
The TAG Heuer 6000 McLaren F1 exclusive is perhaps one of the rarest ‘commercially available’ TAG Heuer watches of them all. This is debatably the holy grail of TAG Heuer watch collecting for enthusiasts because of two reasons: It’s incredibly rare with only 64 produced, one for every McLaren F1; and it’s exorbitant since prospects owned one by purchasing the McLaren F1.
It features the classic TAG Heuer 6000 series design. A unidirectional bezel with a cyclops and ‘Mercedes-style’ hands. However, in lieu of the classic TAG Heuer shield logo, TAG Heuer engraved the stylised F1 V12 logo found in the McLaren F1. The black dial features a scriptwriting of McLaren Cars followed by the chassis number that correlates to the owner’s F1.
Notably, a non-owner version was also manufactured and distributed. However, there are no McLaren Cars writing. It’s replaced by Chronometer, Officially certified, 200 METERS. These watches were given to those involved with McLaren back then. And even though it’s not directly linked to a specific F1 chassis, it’s still very rare and sought after.
Few of those F1 V12 6000 watches are for sale, as they typically hold significant sentimental value to the owners. Notably, one owner’s variant came up for sale at £25 million along with F1 chassis number 060. A few of the non-owner variants have also been sold at a price ranging from £2,000 to £5,000.
TAG Heuer and McLaren
Of course, the McLaren F1 watch isn’t the only one commissioned by McLaren. They’ve made a few more TAG Heuer McLaren watches.
1998 TAG Heuer McLaren S/el I (Ref.CG1117.BA0423)
One of the first McLaren Sports/elegance watches. Intriguingly Ayrton Senna was the ambassador for the S/el lineup of watches back in his heyday. The McLaren S/el I celebrated McLaren winning the 1998 F1 Constructors’ Championship. It features a silver dial with a chequered flag and ‘West McLaren Mercedes 98’ written on it. Featured on the back of the watch are the signatures of David Coulthard, Ron Dennis and Mika Hakkinen. 3,999 S/el Is were made.
1999 TAG Heuer McLaren S/el II (Ref CG2113.BA0473)
The following year saw the second McLaren S/el, despite Ferrari beating McLaren in the Constructors’ title. Mika Hakkinen secured a consecutive Drivers’ title though. TAG Heuer switched to the Calibre 16 movement with a cleaner design. Again, it features ‘West McLaren Mercedes’ on the silver dial, black sub-dials and the signature McLaren red tick below the TAG Heuer shield logo on the dial. 1,500 McLaren S/el IIs were made
2014 TAG Heuer Carrera MP4-12C (Ref CAR2080)
Moving to a much more recent release, the Carrera MP4-12C is designed to celebrate McLaren’s return to road car production. McLaren’s head designer Frank Stephenson is deeply involved in its development, and it shows.
Featuring a carbon fibre dial with plenty of contrasting McLaren Orange accents, this is a perpetual calendar watch with a window right in the middle displaying the Grand Date and calendar wheels. The writing ‘MP4-12C’ is visible right below the TAG Heuer shield. The watch starts from ‘0’ instead of ‘12’, and all the numerals are in the same font as the MP4-12C’s tachometer. 1000 of the Carrera MP4-12C were made.
The Richard Mille RM 40-01 McLaren Speedtail
In the present day, Richard Mille is another major watchmaker collaborating with McLaren. If the McLaren Speedtail is a hypercar, then the RM 40-01 is aptly a hyper watch befitting of its partnership.
It features the signature Richard Mille skeleton design, with extensive usage of grade 5 titanium all over the watch. It’s an automatic winding tourbillon watch featuring the CRMT4 movement design exclusively for the Speedtail collaboration. This movement displays date, time, power reserve and function selector and touts a variable geometry rotor.
If you’re looking for a highly elaborate watch with exotic materials to complement a hypercar as stunning as the Speedtail, this is it. Just 106 RM 40-01 are made, priced at £700,000 before taxes. Notably, this is the third collaboration between Richard Mille and McLaren, after the RM 11-03 and RM 50-03. It’ll be exciting to see the next chapter in this partnership.