December 30, 2015
by Zen Love
TAG Heuer had a very full 2015. With flamboyant frontman Jean-Claude Biver, the Heuer 01 (“affordable Hublot”), Heuer 02 (“affordable tourbillon” at $15,000), a TAG Heuer smartwatch, and even a DJ watch… TAG Heuer’s solid and established pieces also quietly continued to evolve. I admit that I am an Aquaracer fan, and with a ceramic bezel added to the popular dive watch along with other updates, I am happy to see TAG Heuer again offering terrific value. We saw and photographed these new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300m watches initially back at Baselworld 2015, and even among this year’s Carreras, Monacos, and much louder announcements from TAG, we believe these are worth a closer look.
We haven’t talked about Aquracers here on aBlogtoWatch that much, and I had particularly wanted to take a look at them because they are an important line for an important brand, but also because I have always been somewhat attracted to them. For a while, I have been particularly interested in the kind of Aquaracer watch that is relatively restrained and conservative and is, to me, one of those great “versatile” dive watches. But these 2015 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M ceramic bezel watches aren’t exactly that. They are, rather, decidedly bold and sporty.
While, compared to the previous year’s model from 2014, at 40.5mm, with a steel bezel, and relatively restrained looks, the new-for-2015 model shows some notable changes. At 41mm wide, that half-a-millimeter more on the 2015 models isn’t much, but design elements such as the fattened hour markers, hands, and even lugs enhance the watch’s presence, visual size – and, of course, legibility. It looks like someone just hit “bold” in a word processing program on the whole design. If you could take the design of an Aquaracer either in a Carrera direction or a Formula One direction, these would be the latter. Other notable differences include the hands along with hour markers (6, 9, 12) that reference the TAG Heuer “shield” logo.
But the real story here is the value added by the ceramic bezel. At a retail price around $2,500, the 2015 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M watches make a strong case for themselves. The Tudor Black Bay on a bracelet, for instance, costs $900 more, with essentially the same movement, certainly no ceramic, and looking a lot more Submariner-ish. It has also been observed that a watch such as this TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M with ceramic bezel and sapphire crystal means that “the entire front of the watch is essentially scratch-proof.” I like that. So not only are the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M watches handsome and sporty, but don’t forget they should also be very durable.
Part of being a durable dive watch is being water resistant at least to (obviously) 300m – not cracking under pressure, if you will. Unfortunately, that often means sacrificing a view of the movement for a solid caseback. The movement that you won’t see is, as always, the “Calibre 5,” which is the ETA 2824-2. The caseback itself features the signature old-style dive helmet, which adds some nice diving and heritage imagery to your watch-wearing experience.
One thing I have always liked about TAG Heuer Aquaracers is that they are distinctive. They are distinctively TAG, and they offer their own personality that doesn’t look too much like anything else. The bezel, in particular, with its “studs” for grip while using with diving gloves, are a big part of the watch’s character – and feel to me like a bit of a retro throwback to some 1980s-1990s models. The 2015 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M watches, while maintaining the studded bezel, do so in a less prominent way than in 2014, as the ceramic takes precedence. Beyond the ceramic bezel, however, there is still more to the 2015 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M watches…