Famed automotive enthusiast magazine Road & Track once described go-karting thusly: “Every Formula 1 driver had to start somewhere, and racing karts at a very young age is how most champions are cultivated” and while many motorsport fans may not take karting seriously, most professional drivers likely discerned their calling behind the wheels of a kart. Hence, it is with some prodigious creativity that TAG Heuer, a watchmaking brand famous for its legacy in motor racing, finally gets into the action at its most fundamental level: the go-kart, specifically Mario Kart.
With over 40 million units sold since its release in 2017, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best selling game on the Nintendo and the recently published Mario Kart Tour is currently among the most popular mobile games in 2022. It is therefore safe to say that it is quite likely that a nascent racing prodigy, sitting on his living room floor right now with controller in hand, wondering when he would ever get behind the wheels of the real thing. For now, he has Mario Kart and for the less bio-mechanically gifted, we have the TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Editions.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Tourbillon Chronograph
After kicking off their partnership with Super Mario in 2021, the La Chaux de-Fonds manufacture returns in 2022 with the TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Chronograph Tourbillon and Chronograph. Unlike the Connected Watch predecessor, these two limited-edition mechanical watches allow you to “get in on the action”, especially on the exposed tourbillon chronograph edition which showcases Mario in pursuit of one of his many mushroom nemeses. In many ways, go-karting of the purest forms of racing where everything is distilled into its most essential parts, the driver is essentially straddling the engine and with butt on the tiniest of wheels, they’re as close to the asphalt as is humanly possible.
Apex turning, brake thresholds, spotting passing opportunities — skills like these can be honed from behind the wheel of a “simple” kart and with Mario, you can add a little fun with the complexity of “nuking” your opponents from behind with one of the many trick bananas, bullets, bombs, missiles and spiny tortoise shells in order to slow the competition down enough for you to overtake. On the TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Chronograph Tourbillon, the Mario Kart elements (Spiny Shell, Bullet Bill, Mario and his kart) on the Heuer 02T flying tourbillon complication can be either be perceived as Mario launching an attack of his own or attempting to outrun someone’s attempts to slow him down.
Limited to only 250 pieces, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Chronograph Tourbillon features a 45 mm grade-5 titanium case mixing fine-brushed and polished finishings for a robust yet sophisticated aesthetic. The dial sets the model apart from the usual high horology offerings with its graphic and modern skeletonized black and red contrast accent lines along the cutouts, adding depth and energy to the watch’s face. This aesthetic pairs nicely with the black polished ceramic bezel with a tachymeter scale up to 400 km/h includes the Mario Kart logo in white Super-LumiNova. The tri-compax layout showcases two grained chronograph sub-counters at 3 and 9 o’clock, with the tourbillon centered at 6 o’clock. At 12 o’clock, a gearwheel echoes the rims on racecar tires.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Chronograph
Powered by the automatic Calibre 16 movement, the 44mm TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Chronograph is limited to 3000 pieces. Mario Kart elements abound: the logo is inscribed on the black polished ceramic tachymeter bezel with Super-LumiNova, the 2 o’clock pusher and crown are circled with an iconic red lacquer, Mario’s M symbol is etched on the crown and Mario Kart logo is engraved on the dedicated screwed-down case back along with the outline of him in a race car. Its dial also features a racing inspired black and anthracite checkered pattern, custom asphalt textured sub-counters with Mario appearing in the 9 o’clock permanent seconds indicator circled in an iconic red and matching lacquered central hand, hour chronograph counter hand and 60-second or minute scale on the flange. Not to be outdone by the TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Edition Tourbillon Chronograph, the date window at 3 o’clock will regularly intercalate fan favorite Mario Kart items including Bullet Bill, the Banana and more, in lieu of the date number.
Both timepieces share a black calf leather strap with contrasting red stitching and lining and a custom embossed pattern. The folding buckle – made of steel on the chronograph and titanium on the tourbillon – is also personalised with the M symbol of Mario.
Available from 20 October 2022, the TAG Heuer Formula 1 X Mario Kart Limited Editions will be sold exclusively in TAG Heuer boutiques, on the brands’ e-commerce websites in select countries, as well as at select retail partners.
Mario Kart Limited Edition Tourbillon Chronograph Price & Specs
Case 45 mm grade 5 titanium with 100 meters water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre Heuer 02T COSC with 65 hours of power reserve
Mario Kart Limited Edition Chronograph Price & Specs
Case 44 mm stainless-steel with 200 meters water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre 16 with 42 hours power reserve
(Images: TAG Heuer)