- Waterproof to 300 or 500 m
- Pre-owned models starting at 1,000 euros
- 40.5-mm or 43-mm diameter
- Chronograph movements: Calibre 5 and Calibre 16
- Unidirectional bezel
A Sport Watch for Lakes and Oceans
The Swiss watchmaking company TAG Heuer
is celebrated worldwide for their sport watches, including the watches in the Aquaracer collection. The name of the series already indicates that these timepieces offer the benefits of both a diving watch and a chronograph. Chronograph Aquaracers are powered by the Calibre 16, which also powers some watches in the Carrera
collection. With this movement, you can measure time to 1/8th of a second. The Carrera is, without a doubt, one of the most legendary watches from this La Chaux-de-Fonds-based manufacturer. The chronograph
has been timing since the beginning of the 1960s, and there's no other watch with a closer relationship to racing than the Carrera.
All Aquaracer models have a unidirectional 60-minute bezel. The luminous hands and indices glow brightly in the dark, making it easy to read the watch deep underwater. The watches are waterproof to 300 m (30 bar) or 500 m (50 bar).
Are you a TAG Heuer fan looking for a moderately priced, robust sport watch? Then the Aquaracer is a good choice for you. The diving watch is available as a three-hand watch with a date display as well as a chronograph. Robust, tried and true movements ensure the watches run dependably and precisely. The dodecagon bezel adds to the sporty design, contributing to its wide appeal. Prices around 1,000 euros for used automatic models make these watches even more appealing. Older quartz models are available for less than 1,000 euros. New, mechanical models cost around 1,300 euros. New chronographs powered by Calibre 16 cost more, around 2,200 euros, although pre-owned models can be found for 1,300 euros. These watches make perfect companions for diving, surfing, or water skiing, as they're waterproof to either 300 or 500 m. They're not just fit for the beach, though; they also look good on your wrist if you're in the middle of downtown.
The first thing that catches the eye about the Aquaracer is its unique, twelve-sided bezel
. It's made of either stainless steel, titanium, or ceramic
. Ceramic is an especially hard, lightweight, and scratch-resistant material. The 60-minute markers on the bezel are large, and the luminous zero marker makes it easy to see in the dark. Like most diving watches, the bezel is unidirectional; this means you can accidentally move your bezel to shorten your total dive time, but never lengthen it. At the start of your dive, you synchronize the zero marker with the minute hand. Once you're underwater, you can see how much time has passed. On most models, the first 15 minutes are scaled down to the minute. The dodecagonal bezel differentiates this watch from other diving watches, such as the Rolex Submariner
. The bezel on the Rolex watch and most other diving watches is round with a ridged edge.
When it comes to materials, you have the choice between stainless steel, titanium, and bicolor models combining stainless steel and 18-karat gold. The stainless steel case is polished and satinized, while titanium cases are especially robust, scratch-resistant, and lightweight. TAG Heuer uses a sandblasting technique to matte the titanium components of the watch. A screw-down case back and crown ensure the watch is waterproof to 300 or 500 m. TAG Heuer offers many different bands: a three-piece link stainless steel bracelet, a textile strap, or a rubber strap, among many others. Whatever your taste, there's a band to match. Like most typical diving watches, the dials are predominantly either black or dark blue. A few models have silver dials, however, giving them a more classic touch. Non-reflective sapphire glass gives you a clear view of the dial, and is much more robust and scratch resistant than Plexiglas or mineral glass.
- Unidirectional, twelve-sided bezel
- 41-mm or 43-mm diameter
- Stainless steel, titanium, or stainless steel and 18-karat yellow gold (bicolor) cases
- Bands made of stainless steel, titanium, textile, or rubber
TAG Heuer Aquaracer: Three-Hand Watch or Chronograph
Depending on which caliber powers the watch, the Aquaracer is either a three-hand watch or a chronograph. Non-chronograph models are powered by the Calibre 5
, which is based on ETA's 2824-2 movement. The movement is well known for its precision, one of the reasons it's often used in luxury watches. It can be found in the Black Bay
, a diving watch from Tudor, the subsidiary company of Rolex. The Swiss automatic movement
measures 26 mm in diameter and features rapid date correction. The oscillating mass winds the barrel's springs bidirectionally, giving it a power reserve of 38 hours
. The beating heart of the caliber, the balance wheel, keeps it precise. It vibrates at 28,800 alternations per hour (A/h), equal to a frequency of 4 Hz.
The Calibre 16 powers most chronograph models. The movement is based on ETA's Valjoux 7750, which has been used by countless manufacturers since the early 1970s. For this reason, and many others, it's considered one of the most successful automatic chronograph movements. Like Calibre 5, it vibrates at a frequency of 28,800 A/h. This allows you to measure time to 1/8th of a second. The movement has a diameter of 30 mm and features rapid date correction. The 42-hour power reserve lasts almost two days, and small subdials display the timed minutes and hours. The Aquaracer chronographs allow you to time up to 12 hours.
Models powered by the chronograph movement Calibre 45 have a large date display under 12 o'clock. The small seconds is at three o'clock, the 30-minute counter is at nine o'clock, and the 12-hour counter is at six o'clock. The power reserve lasts around 40 hours and the balance wheel vibrates at a frequency of 4 Hz. Models with Calibre 72 have a few particular highlights. It's a countdown chronograph, which is particularly useful for recreational sailors. Before a regatta begins, skippers must maneuver their boats in order to get the best starting position. This is where the regatta function comes in handy; it's a timer running backwards. The elapsed time is displayed via a disc, which is divided into three equal parts (blue, gray, and white), each lasting five minutes. When you start the countdown, the five display windows are all blue. After three minutes, three of the five will have turned gray. After five minutes, they're all gray. Once ten minutes have passed, the white part of the dial is the only part visible.
The Aquaracer's Predecessors
The origins of the current Aquaracer line go back to the early 1970s. At this time, Heuer offered the 1000 Collection as diving watches. At the beginning of the 1980s, the 2000 model series was introduced and had a more elegant look. The 2000's bezel had either an aluminum scale, or was made completely of steel. Six grip points on the bezel were the characteristic features on this timepiece. It took two decades before TAG Heuer decided to redesign the watches in the mid-1990s. This redesign included a rectangular grip on the bezel. In 2002, the manufacturer introduced the Aquagraph, a new watch that was waterproof to 500 m and would end up being the direct predecessor of the 2003 Aquaracer. One year later, a chronograph was added to the collection. Its design hasn't changed much: Since 2010, the bezel has had a ceramic inlay and the lugs have become a bit longer. Black-coated titanium cases round out the series.
An Alternative: Oris Aquis
TAG Heuer's Aquaracer is directed towards a younger audience: The design is youthful and sporty, and the prices are moderate, remaining in the lower four-figure range. The Swiss manufacturer Oris
targets a similar group: men between 25 and 40 years of age. The Aquaracer is comparable to their Oris Aquis collection. These diving watches are available as three-hand watches with date displays or as chronographs.
Oris offers the Aquis Date (three-hand watch with date display) in countless versions. Whether light blue, orange, or yellow, strong colors for the hands and indices make the design stand out. Bezels are also available in black, white, green, and blue. Buyers have the choice between satinized, polished, or black-coated stainless steel. Oris uses rubber, stainless steel, and titanium for the bands. Most watches have a diameter of 43 mm, making them a solid 2 mm larger than TAG Heuer's Aquaracer. However, there are also smaller models at 40 mm and 36 mm. The caliber Oris 733, which is based on the Sellita SW 200-1, powers these watches. The Sellita movement is identical to the ETA 2824-2. These watches cost around 1,000 euros.
Oris uses either caliber 674 or 774 for their chronographs, both of which are based on the Valjoux 7750 and the Sellita SW 500. The Sellita SW 500 is identical in construction to ETA's 7750. The diameter of the watches is 46 mm, overtaking the TAG Heuer chronographs by 3 mm, and they can withstand pressure up to 50 bar (500 m). You have the choice between stainless steel and titanium for both the case and bracelet, though, a rubber strap is also available. The black dials and bezels are typical of a professional diving watch. Scratch-resistant ceramic serves as an inlay for the bezel. Domed sapphire glass on both sides, with a non-reflecting inner side, give you a clear look at the hands and dial. A diving chronograph from Oris costs around 2,000 euros.