TAG Heuer Watches and Oracle Team USA Introduce First Smartwatch for Sailing

TAG Heuer Aquaracer 72 Oracle Team USAWell, that didn’t take long. The recent rise of the so-called smartwatch has reached the “traditional” Swiss watch industry. TAG Heuer has teamed up with America’s Cup champion Oracle Team U.S.A. to develop the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 72, which TAG is calling “the first-ever Swiss sports smartwatch dedicated to competitive sailing.”

The watch, which is a product of the R&D departments of both TAG Heuer and Oracle, made its debut on the wrists of Oracle Team USA sailors at this year’s 34th America’s Cup, won by Oracle Team USA in thrilling come-from-behind fashion on September 25. It is, TAG says, the first watch designed both for and by a professional sailing team, specifically engineered to provide every crew member access to crucial race condition data in real time. Each watch was customized for a team member’s specific tasks and is wirelessly linked to the boat’s onboard computers.

Based on the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500M Calibre 72 Countdown chronograph, the digital-chronograph smartwatch has a large 51-mm-diameter dial with high-contrast LED screen. It weighs only 108 grams and is impact-resistant to 5,000 Gs. The digital displays on the screen offer a constantly updated data stream of information on how the boat and its sails are behaving, measuring such variables as boat speed, foil balance, sail pressure, true wind speed, true wind direction and true wind angle. The watch is still recognizably a TAG Heuer invention, with the brand’s logo printed prominently on the red leather strap, which is ergonomically designed to fit over a wet suit.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Oracle Team USA smartwatch

TAG Heuer - Oracle Team USA - sailor

It’s perhaps fitting that TAG Heuer would be the first Swiss watch brand to enter into the nascent smartwatch arena, currently populated almost solely by tech companies such as Samsung, Sony and (yet to come) Apple — though, admittedly, this device does not include many of those other devices’ smartphone-like functions, such as e-mail or music playback. The brand has a history of experimenting with different technologies and, in recent years, even branching out into other, non-wristwatch accessories.

In fact, some of the tech used in the Aquaracer 72 smartwatch comes from some of those other TAG Heuer products. The watch’s exterior use a patented “splashproof” treatment first used in TAG Heuer eyewear, the data processing equipment aboard the boat is protected from water damage by a technology first used on a TAG Heuer Monaco chronograph watch; and the dials on certain versions of the Aquaracer 72 feature a “heads-up display” with polarizing lenses based on a “photochromic” technology developed for the eyewear. The Oracle skipper used a special waterproof phone outfitted with the same technology as a TAG Heuer mobile phone, the TAG Heuer Meridiist.

The unfortunate news for smartwatch fans? You can’t buy one of these specially-made models. Only 72 were produced, none available commercially. However, TAG Heuer has announced it will be releasing a limited-edition version called the Aquaracer 500M Calibre 72 Countdown Automatic Chronograph 43 mm. (The 72 is reference to the length of Oracle Team USA’s 72-foot catamaran.) It has the official “Team USA” logo on the dial and an image of the boat engraved on the caseback. And while it doesn’t include all the digital bells and whistles of the smartwatch, it does include a regatta countdown function for sailing.

TAG Heuer Oracle Team USA - crew
TAG Heuer Oracle Team USA - boat


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