Inspired by Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso, TAG Heuer released its line of Formula 1 watches in 1986. This sporty, rugged line of timepieces has been a consistent best-seller for the Swiss watchmakers, but popularity has also spawned a number of imitators and forgers. Common sense and a discerning eye are vital to telling a fake TAG Heuer F1 watch from an authentic timepiece. Attention to detail will save you frustration and hundreds of dollars down the road.
Examine the face of the watch for any smudges of glue inside or around the edges of the dial. TAG Heuer watches are never glued together, so any sign of epoxy will tip you off that your watch is a fake. The numerals and text of the face should be clear and easily readable; only fakes are smeary or blurry.
Wind the watch and observe how the mechanism feels while winding. If there is any resistance, the watch is most likely a fake. TAG Heuer watches should wind smoothly. The crown for winding on the watch's right side should be black, not chrome, as should the buttons that flank it.
Check the watch's ability to glow. Only TAG Heuer watches use LumiNova, a special chemical that allows them to light up in the dark. Fake watches will have little to no luminosity.
Flip the watch over and look at the back panel of the dial. It should be thick and have some heft to it. A back that sits flush to the rest of the watch is a sign of a fake. Check for a stamp that says "Swiss Made" as a further sign of authenticity. If any indication is made that parts of the watch are made anywhere else, you are looking at a fake TAG Heuer.
Look closely at the seconds dial on the watch face. The seconds dial in a TAG Heuer F1 watch is located near the six hand, and should be oversized, cutting into the minute markings around the watch face. Often forgeries will feature a small, neat seconds dial that does not obscure the rest of the watch face.
TAG Heuer watches are frequently faked. Even online sellers with high user feedback might be unknowingly selling skilled forgeries. To ensure authenticity, always buy in person from an authorised TAG Heuer dealer.