The following article was produced in partnership with TAG Heuer.
Action is in TAG Heuer’s DNA. The 161-year-old Swiss watch manufacturer’s history and character is closely intertwined with that of modern sports: golf, tennis, Formula One… TAG Heuer stands out among its competitors as a particularly sporty brand.
Of course, no luxury watch brand worth its salt would be without a diver’s watch, and TAG Heuer’s is a beauty: the ultra-capable Aquaracer.
The Aquaracer’s legacy began with the Heuer ref. 844, a divers’ watch released in 1978 that inarguably set the standard for reliable diver’s watches and was adopted by professional and recreational divers all over the world. Now, in 2021, the Aquaracer has received one of its most significant updates yet: refining the formula set by the revolutionary ref. 844 while further pushing the boundaries of high-end watchmaking to produce a thoroughly modern, luxurious yet sporty piece of wrist candy.
The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Collection encompasses eight new references, each bringing something different to the table. Compared to the outgoing Aquaracer, the new design features a overhauled ceramic bezel with less recessed and sleeker graduations; a more angular, modern overall aesthetic; and grippier facets, facilitating greater ease of adjustment.
The case is also somewhat slimmer, lighter, and shorter lug-to-lug. The angular indices of the older model have been swapped out for octagonal numbers that evoke classic dive watch styles with a subtle, individual touch.
Another unique touch is the date window, which has been moved from 3 to 6 o’clock and its cyclops lens now sporting a perfectly spherical design. The hands have also been tweaked: they’re now smaller overall, with the hour hand becoming tapered instead of boxy.
But they haven’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater: the Aquaracer still utilises TAG Heuer’s capable Calibre 5 movement with a 38-hour power reserve, their clever metal bracelet, and still boasts a 300m water resistance.
Four new 43mm models form the core of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Collection. Four colour combinations are available: a black dial/black bezel, a blue dial/blue bezel, a silver dial/black bezel and a green dial/green bezel. The steel models are remarkably handsome, but the green stands out not only because of its verdant colour but also because it’s constructed from sand-blasted, grade 2 titanium (similar to the limited-edition Aquaracer Bamford TAG Heuer released last year).
On top of the 43mm models, TAG Heuer has also revealed three new 36mm models, which not only reflect the growing demand for smaller watch sizes among men but also how the typical gender roles are becoming increasingly blurred in modern horological fashion.
The black dial/black bezel option and the silver dial/black bezel option are similar to their 43mm siblings but feature a few key differences: their dials feature a more abstract, wavy pattern instead of parallel lines, and the text reading ‘AUTOMATIC’ at 6 o’clock omits the orange colouration of the larger models. The blue dial/blue bezel option, however, features eight diamond indices: a subtle little touch of bling that would suit a wearer of any gender.
To cap it all off, TAG Heuer has also introduced a stylish limited-edition model named the Aquaracer Professional 300 ‘Tribute to Ref. 844’. As the name suggests, it pays homage to that groundbreaking Heuer ref. 844 while incorporating some clever modern touches common to the rest of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Collection.
Its subtly textured black dial shares the ref. 844’s iconic red 24-hour scale, and features aged lume indices for a nice vintage touch. Unlike the original, it boasts a titanium case as well as the modern Calibre 5 movement, and its very retro strap is made from rubber, instead of the original’s leather. The angular theme of the other 2021 Aquaracers finds its way onto this tribute model, too: the octagonal indices, the faceted bezel, even the perforations on the strap are octagonal. It also has the 6 o’clock date window design and location of the other 2021 models.
It’s an exquisite homage to the classic ref. 844 that, refreshingly, doesn’t try too hard to emulate the original… It’s got the aesthetics of an old watch with all the quality-of-life of a modern one. Fittingly, only 844 examples of this timepiece will be made.
All in all, the new Aquaracer is a more refined, more stylish watch compared to its predecessors that keeps everything that was good about the old model and simply trims the fat.
These eight models have a bit of something for everyone, and seriously set themselves apart from the sea (pun intended) of diver’s watches on the market.