No discussion about the history of motor racing is complete without mention of Juan Manuel Fangio, the fabled Argentinian who won the Formula One World Driver’s Championship no fewer than five times during the 1950s, setting a record that stood for 47 years before finally being broken by Michael Schumacher in 2003.
Sixty years after the 1957 victory, the new TAG Heuer Formula One Fangio Limited Edition marks the legacy of the celebrated sportsman and long-time inspiration of Jack Heuer.
With its heritage firmly cemented in motorsport, TAG Heuer commemorates this milestone in racing history with an exceptional new watch that celebrates Fangio‘s achievements – a Formula 1 chronograph featuring a racing-stripe in Argentinian colours on the dial and Fangio’s distinctive signature on the back of the 43mm case.
The watch was unveiled at the London showroom of renowned historic car dealer and restorer J.D. Classics in the presence of a remarkable piece of Fangio memorabilia – a 1952 Jaguar C-Type that he bought new after spotting it on the Jaguar stand at that year’s Belgian Motor Show.
Also on display were other covetable classic cars that evoked the golden era of which Fangio was the star.
Christian Horner OBE, team principal of Red Bull Racing Formula One Team, was in attendance at the launch event to participate in a question and answer session led by broadcaster and journalist James Allen on the motivation of motor racing and the personalities that shaped the sport.
Fangio, who became a professional racing driver relatively late in life after spells as a footballer, motor mechanic and soldier, made his competition debut in 1938 behind the wheel of a Ford V8 in the TurismoCarretera.
He soon became a master of South America’s notorious endurance events – including the notorious Carrera Panamericana in Mexico, which would inspire Jack Heuer years later to design the Carrera range – bringing him private funding to race a Maserati in Europe. His sensationally fast driving quickly won him his first Formula One championship in 1951.
In 1953, Fangio won again the race. The legends says he was wearing a Heuer watch on his wrist. Fangio captured his fourth title with Ferrari in 1956 and his fifth the following year with Maserati, before retiring in 1958 with 24 World Championship Grand Prix wins under his belt from 52 starts – still the highest percentage in F1 history.
TAG Heuer’s motto ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure’ applies perfectly to friend-of-the- brand Fangio, which is why the celebrated Swiss watch maker – famed for its century-long links with motor sport – first honored him in 2001 with a 200-piece limited edition ‘Targa Florio’ chronograph that was dedicated to the driver and named after the famous Sicilian road race which he contested in 1953 and 1955, finishing third and second respectively.
Further models in tribute to Fangio were released by TAG Heuer in 2007 and 2011: a 4,000-piece edition to mark the 50th anniversary of Fangio’s final World Championship win, followed by a 300-piece edition of the Formula 1 to commemorate the centenary of the driver’s birth.
Some of the sale proceeds of these highly collectable Fangio editions have gone to the Museo Juan Manuel Fangio, which was opened in his home town of Balcarce in 1986 nine years before he died.
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Fangio edition will be available limited to 900 pieces and is supplied on a matching steel bracelet. The U.K. price will be £1,350.00.