Tag Heuer 6000 Chronometer
As regular readers of Calibre 11 will know, one of the rarest TAG Heuer models is the 6000 Series watch created for the McLaren F1 Supercar. There are two versions of the watch- one for owners of the car and another that was given or sold to employees and clients of McLaren.
But what we have for you today is something very special. The 6000 watch given to the owner of one of the five prototype F1’s- specifically, the fourth prototype known as XP4. These are the most detailed photos of the F1 owners watch ever published, so enjoy these great photos of the watch and the story of the McLaren F1 prototype.
McLaren F1 XP4
It’s no secret that only just over 100 F1 cars were ever produced, but less well-known that this numbers includes five prototypes (XP1 through to XP5), each of which was subtly different to each other and to the final production car. XP4 was the prototype used to stress test the gearbox, as well as to star in the lap of the Top Gear track. Several of the prototypes (at least one was destroyed) were later modified and sold to the public, which explains how the F1 XP4 found is way back to the spiritual home of Mclaren- New Zealand.
Retail magnate Sir Roger Bhatnagar enquired about buying an F1 in late 1993, only to be told of the strong waiting list- but he was given another option: He could buy immediately the XP4 prototype that had been modified for road-worthiness. Apparently McLaren liked the idea of the car heading to New Zealand, given the company’s New Zealand heritage. And so XP4 arrived a few months later in mid-1994.
Fans of the car will notice that the original XP4 is unlike any other F1- note the unique front-end treatment of the indicators and only one rear light on each side instead of the usual two.
Before the car was delivered to New Zealand, the unique front and rear end parts were standardised to the production model parts and the car re-painted blue. After just over 6 years- and not that many kilometres- the car was sold to an American buyer.
TAG Heuer 6000 McLaren F1
Anyhow, enough about the car…let’s look at the watch that came with it- a 6000 McLaren F1 with the Chassis number XP4 printed proudly on the dial, which co-incidentally looks a pretty close match to the colour of the XP4 above.
Sir Roger gave the watch to his son Aaron, who has worn it regularly since 1994. The watch still looks great for 16 years of regular use and is still on its original strap and yet to need a service.
I was delighted when Aaron got in contact and agreed to share these photos and the story of his father’s F1 with Calibre 11 readers. The only other photo I’ve seen of an owners 6000 F1 I posted here, but these are much clearer and more detailed. It’s fantastic to see that the watch has been enjoyed and worn, rather than tucked away in the glovebox.
My sincere thanks to Aaron and I hope that as well as wearing the watch for the last 16 years, he found the occasion to sneak out with the keys to the F1 at least once.