Watches THE ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S GUIDE: TAG HEUER INDY 500 SPECIAL EDITIONS
More than a century after its debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in 1911, the Indy 500 race has earned mythical motoracing status. And with our ties to the racing world, it was a natural evolution for TAG Heuer to join the Indy 500 adventure as Official Timekeeper and Scorer in 2004.
To celebrate this exceptional collaboration, TAG Heuer has released a total of 17 Indy 500 special edition watches since 2004. Often featuring the iconic “Wings and Wheel” logo of the IMS or “Indy 500”, these unique watches vividly evoke the drive to victory on the racetrack. It’s a story that stretches all the way back to the 1960s – when IMS and TAG Heuer laid the first foundation stone of their emblematic partnership.
THE HEUER INDY 500 YEARS
Three rare (and now highly coveted) vintage Heuer Indy 500 watches marked the first examples of this long-standing partnership. Crafted in limited numbers, these exceptional timepieces were not intended for a wider audience, but have stood the test of time as die-hard-collector’s items.
HEUER CARRERA 3147 INDY 500, 1965
HEUER AUTAVIA 3646 INDY 500
Uniquely adorned with the iconic IMS “wings and wheel” logo, the Heuer 3646 is the only first-generation Autavia with a silver dial, and features a classic two-register chronograph layout. If you’re on the verge of falling in love, remember that rarity of this kind can make prices soar; one Autavia fetched a prodigious US$199,500 at Christie’s in 2017.
The second model of the rare Indy 500 Autavia showcases a “Motor Age” logo on the dial. And this beauty has a story to tell… the Autavias featured below were awarded to racing legend Mario Andretti for posting the fastest qualifying lap times in 1966 and 1967.
HEUER CARRERA 3147 INDY 500
The next iterations of the IMS-branded Heuers are Carrera 45 Datos, powered by a Landeron 189 movement. The first in the series demonstrates an elegant, uncluttered design – with two registers crowned by a date window at 12 o’clock.
The second model moves the date window to 9 o’clock, with its dramatic black dial proudly displaying a vintage golden IMS logo.
1991 TAG HEUER 2000 – 75TH ANNIVERSARY
Before venturing into the modern TAG Heuer Indy collection, here’s one last rare model worth mentioning: the 1991 TAG Heuer 2000, reserved exclusively for drivers of the 75th Indianapolis 500 race in 1991.
FROM 2004 TO 2010
In 2004 and 2005, the Indy 500 special editions took on a resolutely modern twist. The black bezel of the first edition and the chrome-plated bezel of the second both feature the “Indy 500” inscription, while the dials sport the iconic IMS/ Indy 500 logo.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500, 2004 (CAC111A.BA0850)
Showcasing a more complex design with a distinctive three-register layout, the second duo of Indy 500 watches draws on the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Grande Date Chronograph, introduced in 2008.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500, 2008 (CAH101B.BA0854)
FROM 2011 TO 2015
With a more classic layout than its older relatives, the 2011 special Indy 500 model includes a “brickyard” motif on its anthracite dial: a tribute to the Indianapolis track that was once paved with bricks.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500, 2011 (CAH101C.BA0860)
Departing from the Grande Date Formula 1 case, the 2012 and 2013 watches draw inspiration from the revamped 2012 F1 series. At the top of the classic Anthracite dials, a large white “12” matches the three white sub-dials.
Echoing the 2012 version, the 2015 model – a limited edition of 3000 – has added a chequered flag pattern and stripes on the left-hand side of the dial. But it’s the new-generation Formula 1 case that steals the show, with its powerfully bold lines.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500, 2012 (CAU1113.BA0858)
FROM 2016 TO 2019 - TAG HEUER CARRERA INDY 500
2016 marked the first-ever introduction of the Carrera model in the Indy 500 collection, until then exclusively composed of Formula 1 watches.
A tribute to the 100th running of the Indy 500, the first Carrera of the series was released in a limited edition of 100. Based on the 45mm modular Carrera Heuer 01, this 2016 model stands out with its intricate skeletonized dial and sapphire case back, emblazoned with the Indy 500 logo.
Limited to 101 watches, the 2017 edition embraced our new “Drive Timer” design, with a 45 mm case and an anthracite dial plate adorned with double numeral minute markers.
While similar in many ways to its older cousins, the 2018 model showcases a striking blue ceramic bezel. Naturally, this was released in a limited edition of 102 watches to mark the race’s 102nd run.
The last TAG Heuer Carrera Indy 500 emerged onto the world stage in 2019. This special edition was based on the Calibre 16 Chronograph, with its Carrera 41mm case.
TAG Heuer Carrera Indy 500, 2016 (CAR2A1V.FT6044)
FROM 2016 TO 2019 - TAG HEUER FORMULA 1 INDY 500
Alongside the TAG Heuer Carreras, the Indy 500 Formula 1 series has continued since 2016; never outdone in visual impact, its distinctive 3-register chronograph layout is made for the win.
The first modern edition of 2016, limited to 1000 watches, features an anthracite dial with contrasting red highlights and a red “Indy 500” script on the fixed bezel.
Similar in design and limited to 500 pieces, the 2017 edition combines white registers with a matching white inner flange. The applied “60” marker at 12 o’clock echoes the dial markings of the Drive Timer Carrera.
Also limited to 500 watches, the 2018 design replicates the 2017 edition, save for its blue aluminium bezel, while the 2019 model has a black dial and matching black bezel.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500, 2016 (CAZ1016.BA0842)
2020 - TAG HEUER FORMULA 1 INDY 500
Crafted in a black PVD case for the very first time, the 2020 Formula 1 Indy, limited to 1,500 pieces, stands out from any crowd. On the black dial, the strip of bricks nods to the famous start line at IMS. You can read more about the 2020 edition here.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500, 2020 (CAZ101AD.FT8024)
2022 - TAG HEUER FORMULA 1 INDY 500
To celebrate 18 years as the Official Timekeeper of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the 106th Indianapolis 500 race, TAG Heuer has unveiled the newest limited-edition timepiece that honors its long-standing partnership with the premier league of open-wheel racing in North America. Designed in collaboration with the INDYCAR team and race car driver, Alexander Rossi, the 43 mm TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 2022 Limited Edition chronograph represents the luxury watchmaker’s passion for the intensity and spirit of motor racing, with motifs inspired by the Speedway.
The Indy 500 logo is engraved in gold on the ceramic bezel with a brick shade of red to line the inner bezel. The detailed black dial enhances the daring and sporty aesthetic of this model and is complete with three subdials: a 3 o’clock permanent second indicator, a 6 o’clock hour chronograph counter and 1/10th second chronograph counter embellished with an image of the famed Pagoda structure, and a 9 o’clock minute chronograph counter, with a date window at 4 o’clock.
The black grained dial offers an exclusive design, and the steel three rows bracelet easily sizes and fits the watch over a racing suit, thanks to a steel folding clasp with a double safety system and pilot extension. A special Indy 500 engraving is splashed across the case back, displaying the official emblem and commemorative race date. This timepiece is a true road-tested endurance machine, water-resistant to 200-meters and highly shock resistant.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500, 2022
Among these special editions celebrating the legendary partnership between TAG Heuer and the Indy 500, you’re sure to find a model that gets your heart racing. And if you’d like to know more about the history of this iconic race, check out our article about the Indy 500 here.