Alligator Leather, Nato nylon, Steel and Yellow Gold plated
Blue, Black, Brown, Grey and White
Scratch-resistant sapphire AR crystal, Cyclops lens over the date
< 300 metres
40, 41 or 43mm
£1,200 - 2,800
A religion that combines the two most basic human necessities – water and time – is one worth sacrificing a wrist and purse for. The TAG Heuer Aquaracer is such an example of a bold Swiss-luxury timepiece. This brand’s line is evidence of the essence and inevitability of time, for more than 40 years, it has been the delight of watersports fanatics. The Aquaracer is modelled after the 2000 series, and it has since been a favourite and one of the most highly purchased among TAG Heuer’s prestigious timepieces.
The TAG Heuer Aquaracer collection speaks for itself. The premium quality and outstanding designs combined into the watches are striking and cannot be opposed. Both men and women can find their choices in the brand’s collection.
Unlike its quartz variant, the Aquaracer automatic model still uses the Clous de Paris dial design of the automatic 2000 series. Though not noted on the dial, most of the models in this range use the Calibre 5 movement (with a few using the Calibre 7 and 16 movements). The Aquaracer dial comes in various colours such as grey, black, white, silver and blue (with added varieties of deep-sea blue and midnight blue). In 2017, its ‘Sports’ series brought in fashion-driven elements such as vibrant colours and camouflage-pattern dials.
The Aquaracer automatic model is horizontally-striped and designed in an all-black texture. Its sub-dials are all black with white printed numbers and indices. The 12-o’clock and 6-o’clock sub-dials have a silver layout lightly pushed into the dial. The innermost part of these sub-dials also has distinctive circular patterns all of this adding intricate details to the dial. The 9-o’clock sub-dial is lightly pushed in to show that it is a sub-dial, but it doesn’t possess the circular aesthetic, which aids the balance of the dial.
The Aquaracer has a date feature that can be spotted at 3-o’clock which has black text on a white background that varies to the major black dial. The TAG Heuer emblem can also be found on the left side of the date space, the “Aquaracer” name above, and “automatic” below, all printed in white on the black dial. Also, you will see “300m” printed inside the hour sub-dial right below the hand, and “Swiss Made” at the very bottom centre of the main dial in tiny letters.
The Quartz model’s case size is 27, 32, 35 and 38.4mm (mostly for the ladies watch), not bad but I prefer the 42mm case which is very peculiar to the automatic models. The only range in the Quartz model watch cases that is close to the automatic is the 1/10th Chronograph which uses the exact case design and pushers as the Calibre 16 Chronograph.
The TAG Heuer Aquaracer automatic case comes in sizes 40, 41 and 43mm with stainless steel, brushed top surfaces and polished side surfaces. The outer structure of the case embraces the outside of the bezel so firmly that it pushes underneath the bezel at the locations the bezel has its angular corners. The overall diameter measures 43mm and thickness measures at 15mm. It is a moderate feature for a dive watch with a chronograph movement and adds to the daring, sporty image of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer.
The case-back is screwed down and made of solid stainless steel to support the water-resistance function. The case-back also has the Aquaracer old-school scuba helmet signature; it’s a warm touch. Also, the case of the Aquaracer has 21mm wide horns that blend into the band very correctly in the way they recede inward and arc down against the skin.
The chronograph function is another excellent feature of the timepiece. This function is effortless to operate with the large pushers, the top pusher works as the start and stop button, and the bottom pusher works as the reset button. Readability of the chronograph function is not a problem as the major dial’s second hand is for the stopwatch. Generally, it is very easy to operate and read.
The glass used is a nice quality scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with a thin anti-reflective outer layer fitted to the inside surface. The lens is very flat and kind of put atop the bezel. The watch also has an angular bezel, the cover is a brushed silver effect you can find on every side. Some bezels are styled with other colour finishes.
The Aquaracer has a polished surfaced crown with a slightly curved external surface which incorporates the brand’s crest. Another impressive feature is its luminescence (lume) feature. It uses the Super-LumiNova lume inside the hour and minutes hands as well as the hour markers. This is a very useful feature, providing a classic look even in darker environments.
Its classic beauty is in no doubt an attractive element but nothing commands and holds attention more than comfortability. The TAG Heuer Aquaracer is a dive watch with 300m water resistance. Even so, it should still be treated delicately. The provides alternative strap options apart from the standard steel-plated bracelet. These include – alligator leather, gold, nylon and rubber bracelets. The straps are also available in colours blue, brown, khaki and white. There are also two-tones like black with yellow touch, silver and yellow stainless steel bracelets. You can’t miss with these prestigious timepieces.
My personal preference? The steel strap. Why? It has a brushed steel push-button stationing clasp with the TAG Heuer engraving. The fastener smoothly blends with other parts of the bracelet for a wholesome, rugged look. Using a thin taper and circular effort to each link also allows for a sleek fitting around the wrist without yanking the hair or skin.
In addition to the primary link, the clasp can be adjusted allowing for a suitable fit regardless of wrist size, meaning a lesser likelihood of it being too loose and too tight.
The movement and accuracy of the Aquaracer are highly impressive. It utilises the TAG Heuer Calibre 16 automatic movement. This automatic movement has a broad history and legacy and steady progression and is used in many Swiss luxury timepieces such as Hublot and IWC. At around 212 grams, it is a little heavier than other luxury watches but is not uncomfortable.
Over the years, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer has received many rave reviews as it continues to establish itself among other luxury dive watches. It is a luxury watch with a reputable name, brazen style, sharp accuracy and functionality. Fortunately, its pricing is also very modest for what it offers.
The lowest-priced model in the collection is the Aquaracer 41 Quartz model, which starts at around £1,200. Most of the other variants are between the £1600-2400 price point. The top-range Aquaracer 43 Caliber 16 Automatic Chronograph model is available for around £2,800.
Review: TAG Heuer Aquaracer
With over 4 decades to truly hone its craft, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer has truly cemented its place in the hearts of many classic watch lovers. Although it has received some backlash in recent years, the combination of brilliantly crafted dials as well as the renowned accuracy and durability, allows this watch to remain so popular.