I've never traditionally been a far of Tag Heuer watches. My ongoing perception has been that they are nice, but common watches. Always the "go to brand" for someone that wants a nice watch, you can get one at most any Macy's or other department store. This ubiquity never served as an appeal to me. I liked watches that stand out, and a Tag Heuer was just too conservative for my tastes.
Then to my surprise, I received a Tag Heuer Link as gift from my father. Knowing of my avant garde tastes, he wanted to give me something a bit more subdued, "handsome" as he called it. While enthralled at the generosity, I was not sure what to make of the all steel colored watch with its branding linked to Tiger Woods. Could I like a watch that was this "branded?" I wanted to be nice so I wore the watch. And to my surprise, I began to like it more and more each time I placed it on my wrist.
My first experience with the Tag Heuer Link (after taking it out of the admittedly nice travel case it came in) was sizing the band. This made me realize why people sometimes feel it necessary to take a watch to a jeweler or such, to size it. Not that I would ever go to a watch store for such work unless I desperately needed to (I am too "hands on" for that). The iconic Link bracelet is constructed in such a way as to hide all the connector and pin points, giving the edges along the bracelet a smooth unmarked look. The bracelet has one place to remove a thick steel pin which provides access to a daisy chain of inter-locking segments. I fully understood what Tag Heuer was going for, and appreciate the clean look that results after successful bracelet fitting, but it is a bit of a pain. Unless you are a pro (or like me), have someone else size the bracelet for you.
Once sized, I love the bracelet. It is perfectly comfortable. Regardless of weather the watch is worn very tight, or just a bit loose, the bracelet keeps the face of the watch on top of your wrist. The quality of the bracelet is easily superior to many watches. Straps, bands and bracelets are an area that is often under engineered. First, the fit of the links are stellar. No gaps, holes or segments. Fitting almost flush together gives it a high quality look. Older Tag Heuer Link models suffered from being a bit loose, and you could see skin and hair through the links. Not anymore, as Tag Heuer has put the necessary time into perfecting the bracelet construction. Very comfortable and competent.
The steel used all over the Tag Heuer Link including the bracelet is an asset to the watch. Over a year of ownership has resulted in no perceptible scratches or marks. Not all steel is created equally. I wrote about watch metals here, which should give some idea of the differences and considerations that go into choosing the right watch metal. Tag Heuer choose an excellent grade of steel for the Link series. One of the little details that is hard to view when purchasing a watch, but pays off after the owner realizes how nice it is that your watch is not showing its age.
The most important feature of any watch is the face. If you don't like looking at the face, or if it is not legible enough, the watch will slowly diminish in how often you wear it. The Tag Heuer Link models are constantly shifting in appearance. While all similar, Tag Heuer likes to play around with the number indicators, hands, and colors. This model has a prominent "12" at the top of the face with smaller number indexes for each other hour. I find that Arabic numerals help add to a watch's legibility, but hurt the appearance of symmetry. The Tag Heuer Link is a very symmetrical watch overall, and the while the number "12" is not symmetrical, it is placed in the top center of the face and does not detract too much from symmetry. Further, it serves an important purpose. I find that watches with identical number index markers all around tend to lose their orientation. Meaning, I like the "12" indicator to be different than the "6" indicator. Rolex has done this for years, and Tag Heuer understands this principle. The idea is that you can quickly tell the time from any angle.
The hands on this watch really stand out. In a rare move, Tag Heuer chose to go with sword hands that look like claymore swords. Large hands tapering inward with excellent luminant for night viewing. The seconds hand even has a squared section with luminant for the night viewing of seconds, a less common, but appreciated feature. Around the face of the watch is a rotating bezel. I find it hard to buy watches without rotating bezels as I love this feature so much. These bezels are used for independent time measures of up to one hour. What is so nice about the Tag Heuer Link's bezel, is that it is useful yet subdued. The numbers are etched deeply into the bezel for a clean and quality look that does not poke out when looking at the watch. Turning the bezel is pleasant if not a bit stiff. You hear reassuring clicks as the bezel firmly moves into place. Living with this watch has proved that it tells time easily and reliably. I welcome wearing my Tag Heuer Link anytime and know it will give me no fusses when I need to check the time.
Of great importance is the watch's movement. Yes this is a quartz watch. This is going to be a turn off for some people, but hear me out. While I prefer an automatic movement, there are numerous trade offs to having a mechanical watch. First, mechanical watches require more maintenance, and most importantly, they are far less accurate than quartz watches. At first I wished my Tag Heuer was an automatic model, but I slowly began to appreciate its high quality quartz movement. My Tag Heuer serves as the "I cannot decide which watch to wear today watch." It goes with almost any outfit. Always handsome, never out of place, and I always know people are going to like the watch. No one is going to ever ask me, "is that a Tag Heuer" you are wearing because they are not rare watch, but no one will dispute that it was a bad choice to own. Because my Tag Heuer Link has a quartz movement, I know I can pick it up anytime and it will be totally accurate. I never have to worry about adjusting the time, this is a rock-solidly reliable and accurate watch; and I love that about it.
I recommend the Tag Heuer Link series to anyone. At 42 mm the case is respectably sized without being too large, and the bracelet is a nice 22 mm is width. The watch will look good on any wrist, and it very comfortable. This watch slowly grows on you if you do not like it at first. As a gift it is perfect because even if the recipient is not a watch lover, they will wear the watch endlessly without thinking twice. Good job Tag Heuer, I knew there was a reason you were so popular.
So now I seem to like Tag Heuer watches. While I brushed them off as too common before, I now have a new appreciation for the masters of ubiquity. Always fitting in, always pleasing, always a pleasure to have. While could never live with just one watch, any collection I have will always feature a few Tag Heuers to compliment the mix. My eyes now are on Aquaracers, Formula Ones, Carreras, and Monacos. All Tag Heuer watches with the same type of appeal; mix in seamlessly and perform flawlessly.
See all Tag Heuer watches on eBay here.
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