We’re thrilled to unveil our latest limited-edition Aquaracer 43mm Calibre 5 Automatic, in partnership with TAG Heuer. Here, our Senior Luxury Watch Buyer, Lisa Broun gives us her verdict on the high-performance diver’s watch
At the Watches of Switzerland Group, we understand the level of excitement a special-edition timepiece can elicit, whether you’re an avid collector or you’re still relatively new to the horological world. Their scarcity makes them highly desirable, and they often become vehicles for brands to express themselves in new and intriguing ways.
Given our passion for timepieces, we occasionally have the honour of collaborating with prestigious Swiss brands on limited-edition watches — the latest of which is our new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 43mm Calibre 5 Automatic.
This is not the first time we have worked with a luxury Swiss house. In fact, we have collaborated with TAG Heuer before on a sell-out exclusive. You may have also read our review of the limited-edition Watches of Switzerland Pilot’s Watch in partnership with IWC, which lands in May, and just last year we teamed up with Zenith and Hublot to launch a pair of exclusive timepieces.
But back to TAG Heuer. The steel diver’s watch we have here is limited to a run of just 250, each of which has its unique number engraved on the steel case back, alongside a vintage diving helmet. These are now exclusively available in Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths and our TAG Heuer brand boutiques.
TAG Heuer is hugely popular among our customers for its collection of practical, high-performance sports’ timepieces, and it is perhaps best known for its strong motorsport heritage. The brand patented the first 12-hour dashboard chronograph in 1911, and in the late 1960s, it became the first brand to enter the Formula 1 arena, when Jack Heuer, the company’s founder, began working with legendary Swiss racing driver Jo Siffert.
But TAG Heuer also has impeccable, and sometimes overlooked, diving and sailing credentials. It patented one of the first water-resistant cases for pocket watches in 1895, and, by 1939, had perfected the technique enough to produce its first water-resistant wrist chronograph. A decade later, it unveiled the Solunar, the first watch with a tide indicator, and, in 1950, debuted the Mareograph, the world’s first chronograph with a tide-level indicator and a regatta dial. These days, the brand’s love for the ocean is symbolised by its enduring Aquaracer family – a line that has been going strong since 2004.
When designing our limited-edition Aquaracer timepiece, we felt strongly that it should stay true to the practicalities of TAG Heuer’s historic diver’s watches. That’s why our sturdy 43mm model has a black dial with contrasting rhodium-plated hands and indexes filled with highly legible SuperLumiNova– ideal for reading the time in murky conditions underwater. It also helps that the inside of the sapphire-crystal glass has anti-reflective treatment, cancelling out even the slightest glare.
The watch’s most distinctive feature is its eye-catching burgundy unidirectional rotating bezel, which is printed with a 60-second scale. Inside the hardwearing stainless-steel case ticks the brand’s Calibre 5 automatic movement, which powers a date display below a magnified window at 3 o’clock and packs a 38-hour power reserve. It’s water-resistant to 300mand comes on a sporty steel bracelet with a folding clasp and diving extension – perfect for strapping over a wetsuit.
These robust features are what make the TAG Heuer Aquaracer one of the most reliable waterproof-watch choices around. Interestingly, today’s Aquaracer collection derives from the original 2000 Series, which was designed by Jack Heuer himself. First unveiled in 1983, the series was the first line of professional sports timepieces equipped with the brand’s now-signature TAG Heuer ‘Six Features’.
These were a scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflection treatment; a screw-in crown with double safety gaskets to prevent dust or water penetration; guaranteed water-resistance to 200m; luminescent hands and hour markers for easy reading underwater; a unidirectional rotating bezel to prevent any accidental knocks of the elapsed dive-time measurement; and a double-safety, quick-action bracelet clasp to prevent accidental opening. Fast-forward to today, and the Aquaracer is the only model in TAG Heuer’s current collection to have maintained its ‘Six Features’ since launch, and we’re proud that our special-edition timepiece meets all these criteria.
On the wrist, the 43mm watch is chunky and robust, and it has great touches that make it a real joy to wear. I especially love the horizontal pinstripe pattern on the black dial, while the alternating polished and brushed-steel case gives it an extra-luxurious touch. Fans of the Aquaracer will notice that it follows the design of the Aquaracer 300M – a model that was launched in 2014. So, we have a new bezel that sits flat at the bottom, rather than being pointed, as well as larger hands and a larger crown, and new triangular markers. Like the new Aquaracer Calibre 5 models, the Aquaracer logo also sits directly underneath the TAG Heuer logo rather than at the bottom of the dial, which gives it a much more balanced look. It’s a really handsome timepiece, and I think it will have lasting appeal – plus, at £2,350, you get an awful lot of value for money.
The Aquaracer 43mm Calibre 5 Automatic is another fantastic opportunity to get your hands on a limited-edition timepiece from TAG Heuer. It’s available now both online and in store, so make sure you visit your nearest Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb or Goldsmiths, or one of our TAG Heuer brand boutiques to discover the limited-edition watch for yourself. But hurry – those 250 pieces are sure to be snapped up fast!