The new Aquaracer from TAG Heuer is called the Aquaracer Professional 300. It still features the previous generation’s signature 12-faceted bezel, but has been equipped with a new set of sword hands, octagonal indexes, a new folding clasp with fine adjustment, and a date window at 6 o’clock (with a round magnifying lens), resulting in an overall more mature, cleaner look (also owing to the use of a thinner font for the bezel and a much more symmetrical dial layout).
Or, in the words of the brand:
“For the Aquaracer Professional 300 launch collection, TAG Heuer’s designers worked with a clear concept – to create a bold, high-performance, ergonomic watch for divers that was distinctively TAG Heuer. On top of that, they wanted to respect the company’s divers’ watch tradition.”TAG Heuer
That tradition began with the Heuer Ref. 844, a divers’ watch released around 1978, and first publicly marketed in the 1979 Heuer catalogue. Heuer had decided relatively late to enter the diver’s-watch market with a dedicated model and went with a no-nonsense case and dial design. The first release of the 844 came with a cathedral hour hand, later versions with a Mercedes hour hand. Production was eventually moved from Heuer’s French supplier Monnin to Switzerland, replacing the “Made in France” with a “Swiss Made” on the dial (as well as the 4611A from France Ebauches with a Swiss ETA 2872). More importantly, the 844 was “very well received by the market,” according to Jack Heuer, and has become more sought after by collectors in recent years.
Frédéric Arnault, TAG Heuer CEO, says, “The Aquaracer Professional 300 picks up a much-loved story and moves it on with the most significant step we’ve taken to develop our Aquaracer collection in many years.” To start, the team turned to the 12-sided unidirectional rotating bezel. The designers kept the basic form, but integrated a scratch-resistant ceramic insert across the collection. They also re-engineered the bezel’s internal tooth profile so that the rotating mechanism became smoother, quieter, and easier to set.
TAG Heuer also upgraded the sapphire crystal, integrating the “cyclops” lens over the date at 6 o’clock into the underside of the crystal so that the surface remained smooth. The bezel’s silhouette was then used as a blueprint for further elements of the Aquaracer Professional 300’s design: it now has eight octagonal hour markers and a 12-sided crown. Additionally, the new model has a wider, more sword-shaped hour hand and a narrower minutes hand that glows in a different color at night: green Super-LumiNova coats the hour hand and hour markers, while blue Super-LumiNova is used the minutes hand and bezel marker.
The case, bezel and metal bracelet have all been slimmed down, all without compromising the watch’s water-resistance of 300 meters (30 bar). The new versions’s lugs are now shorter, while the case edge has been chamfered and polished. As a result, on the wrist, the watch now appears lighter and more ergonomic.
For the caseback, the designers returned to the famous scaphander diving suit motif that first appeared on the Aquaracer case back in 2004, but made the diving helmet more angular and added a 12-faceted faceplate. Behind it is a repeating hexagonal pattern. The engravings can now be aligned with the case thanks to the caseback’s construction.
At launch, there will be seven references in two sizes in the core collection. Four references will have a 43-mm case diameter, and three will feature a case measuring 36 mm. Each has a unidirectional rotating divers’ bezel with a ceramic insert and an engraved minutes scale. Six of these will be in stainless steel, with the choice of black, blue or silver dials.
The seventh will be a 43-mm “Aquaracer 300 Calibre 5 Automatic Special Edition” (Ref. WBP208B.BF0631) in high-tech, matte Grade 2 titanium (similar to the Bamford edition from 2020) with a green dial.
The stainless-steel models have either a black or blue ceramic bezel insert with a white triangle at 12 o’clock filled with blue SuperLumiNova. The titanium model has a green ceramic bezel insert with a yellow triangle at 12 o’clock.
The 43-mm models also carry over one of the signature design cues from the outgoing Aquaracer, namely the dial’s engraved horizontal lines (the dials on the smaller 36-mm models are engraved with a wave pattern, which was introduced in 2019). The blue 36-mm model also has eight diamond hour markers and polished central bracelet links. Each reference features a new, integrated metal bracelet design, equipped with a fine adjustment system that can extend or reduce the bracelet length by up to 1.5 cm (or 0.6 inches).
Finally, TAG Heuer is also introducing a limited-edition version of the Aquaracer Professional 300 at launch: called the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 (Ref. WBP208C.FT6201), it picks up on the story of the Ref. 844 divers’ watch. This version combines a number of visual elements from the historical piece, like the 844’s red 24-hour scale. The watch also has vintage lume and a black, perforated rubber strap based on an original design created to allow water to swiftly pass between the watch and the wearer’s wrist. TAG Heuer will make 844 pieces of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844.
All eight references in the new Aquaracer Professional 300 collection are powered by TAG Heuer’s Calibre 5 (based on the ETA 2824-2 or SW200-1). The regular models will be available in June; the limited edition, in September. Photos:
|WBP201B.BA0632 (steel, blue dial)||$3,000|
|WBP201A.BA0632 (steel, black dial)||$3,000|
|WBP208B.BF0631 (titanium, green dial)||$4,200|
|WBP201C.BA0632 (steel, silver dial)||$3,000|
|WBP208C.FT6201 (Tribute to 844)||$4,350|