Heuer began producing the 1000 Series dive watches in the late 1970s, and in view of the popularity of this first collection, introduced the more fashion-forward 2000 Series in 1982. By 1990, TAG Heuer was ready to discontinue the 1000 Series, as the “tool” look of the collection was no match for the more stylish 2000 Series. This created the position for the new 1500 Series, which would offer the utilitarian features of the 1000 Series with some of the style of the 2000 Series.
The 1500 Series dive watches were successful in occupying a middle ground between the two prior collections, being reliable dive watches that were offered at attractive prices. With President Barack Obama wearing a Series 1500 watch on the campaign trail and in the White House, the model has also become widely-recognized around the world.
Heuer’s very first dive watches – the Series 1000 – had a long run, being introduced in 1978 and continuing in the catalog through 1991. The Series 1000 watches would be replaced by the Series 1500 collection, with the new watches being introduced in 1990 and making their first appearance in the 1991 catalog.
The Series 1500 was positioned below the Series 2000, with the new collection offering “safety and reliability” at an attractive price. The 1997 catalog describes the 1500 Series as having no superfluous refinements, offering all the features of an authentic sports watch, with simple and efficient design. The watches offer the modern look of the 2000 Series, with cleaner lines, such as the thinner lugs.
As the name implies, the design of the 1500 Series is a hybrid of the 1000 Series (Heuer’s first dive watch) and the 2000 Series, which offered a more fashionable look, with a variety of styles and colors. The 1000 Series was very much a “Tool Watch” -- a large, thick, 70s-style case with broad shoulders and a deeply recessed dial. The 1500 Series picks up several design touches inspired by the 1000 Series:
The 1500 Series was positioned as a more sophisticated watch than the 1000 Series, with many models featuring gold highlights and the option of a leather strap, which was never an option on the diver-orientated 1000 Series collection.
Like the 1000 Series, the 1500 was only available as a 3-hand watch -- no chronograph version of the 1500 Series was ever offered. Buyers did have a choice of bezels, with either a steel bezel featuring minute-markers (above left) or a black diver-style design (above right).
When it came to case size, the 1500 Series collection offered three options -- Men’s size (40mm), Mid-size (38mm) and one lady’s design.
Unlike the 1000 Series, there was no “over-size” or “jumbo” (42 mm) option for the 1500 Series.
In addition to the usual black and white dials, TAG Heuer also offered a “Night Diver” model with a luminous dial. The “Night Diver” version of the 1500 Series was only available in the mid-sized case with a black dive bezel.
Perhaps the most unusual dial offered on the 1500 Series is the “granite” finish. This granite dial is the trademark of the 1500 Series, being a finish that was never offered on any other series.
The 1500 Series was only available with a quartz movement. Watches have either the ETA 955.112 or the ETA 955.114 movement, both movements having the same 7 Jewel design.
Despite being on sale for almost 10 years, the 1500 Series changed relatively little over the years, so that the watch of 1998 is basically identical to the 1990 launch version. There was never a chronograph nor an automatic version in the Series 1500 collection.
Changes to the range over the years were minor, for example:
President Barack Obama wore a TAG Heuer Series 1500 dive watch for many years, with photos suggesting that he began wearing the watch circa 1992 (soon after he graduated from law school) and continued wearing it, at least on special occasions, during his White House years. Obama’s model of choice was the white-dial 1500 Series watch, with a stainless steel and gold case.