The New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Collection
TAG Heuer refreshes its tough-as-nails dive watch with a contemporary design.
Originally published on HODINKEE, October 4th 2021
Heuer was at the forefront of the Swiss watch industry from its inception in 1860, and the brand soared during the 20th century as a maker of exceptional chronographs designed for motorsport. But it was in 1985 that the TAG Group acquired Heuer and put them at the top of the dive watch industry. The newly invigorated TAG Heuer handily sidled up alongside Swiss watch industry leaders with colorful, forward-thinking dive watches that captured the public imagination.
Starting with the original ref. 844 dive watch that established the design principles that make up the contemporary Aquaracer line, TAG Heuer’s line of contemporary dive watches has some serious underrated history. Earlier this year, the Swiss company refreshed its flagship dive watch collection with a new look and feel that pays tribute to its tool watch heritage.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 43mm
While the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 houses all the standard features of a professional-grade dive watch, those features are uniquely designed, elegantly executed, and with a build-quality typically costing thousands more. For these reasons and more, we are thrilled to offer this sophisticated and sporty diver.
One rather obvious deviation that the Aquaracer Pro 300 makes from standard dive watches is the magnification lens over the date window at six o’clock. Dive watches with the date and lens at three-o’clock are ubiquitous, so hats off to TAG Heuer for finding a simple, elegant, symmetrical way out of the ubiquity. Another unique approach is the 12-sided bezel. Technically a dodecagon, the subtle angles of the bezel’s outer edge distinguish the Aquaracer Pro 300, and we especially love the way TAG’s designers have incorporated the knurling onto those twelve surfaces.
Dodecagons show up again on the polished steel hour markers, which are filled with bright Super LumiNova. Upon closer inspection you’ll see that the steel frames of the markers (and hands) are beveled and highly polished, a touch commensurate with the impeccable finishing throughout the watch. These markers are mounted on what TAG calls a “sunray” brushed dial, here with horizontal engraving that adds a sporty dynamism. We also really love the finely detailed chapter ring, which is pleasantly unobtrusive yet highly legible. Touches of yellow get a big thumbs-up.
All those wonderfully beveled edges and dodecagons are echoed in the stainless steel case, which uses brushed surfaces and polished chamfered edges to form one of the most unique dive watch cases on the market today. At 43mm across, this watch is substantial, but the Calibre 5 inside allows TAG to keep the case thin, while the well-integrated lugs keep the case from overhanging your wrist. All told, this is a very stylish and comfortable full-sized diver.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Ref. 844 Tribute Limited Edition
This special edition of the Aquaracer Professional 300 scratches that itch we have for vintage style while offering up modern features and performance. That’s always a winning combination. But what we love even more is that this watch pays tribute to Heuer’s first dive watch from 1978, reference 844, now a highly collectible timepiece which gave rise to TAG Heuer’s robust and vastly popular dive watch line-up in the 1980s. Only 844 of this special edition Aquaracer will be produced.
Though this watch pays tribute to an earlier model, it is a far cry from a vintage recreation. The case is titanium, a modern alloy that’s light in weight and warm in color. The titanium presents a nicely muted frame for the “aged” lume on the matte black dial. And the case itself is a lovely and intricate modern design, one that sports brushed surfaces and polished chamfered edges to emphasize its unique angularity.
The shape of the case is reflected in the twelve-sided bezel, and we love that TAG Heuer’s designers have adorned those twelve facets with handsome knurling for excellent grip. The bezel insert is aluminum with white printing, an era-correct touch that distinguishes this model from standard Aquaracers. Going deeper, we see the angularity reflected again in the hour markers on the dial, here in polished stainless steel and filled with the aforementioned beige lume which imitates the aged tritium found on original 844s. The handset follows suit, providing exceptional legibility in all lighting conditions.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 36mm
We can’t get enough of this smaller variant of TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer Professional 300. With a dial sporting an organic wave pattern, this pro-grade dive watch is every bit as striking as it is functional. Modern yet mechanical, elegant yet tough as nails, this Aquaracer Pro 300 36mm has truly won us over.
Six variants of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer are available now in the HODINKEE Shop. Learn more and discover the collection today right here.