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New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

Under the leadership of Jean-Claude Biver, TAG Heuer has been making some moves that are helping to reenergize the brand. Some recent highlights include the much-discussed Heuer 02T Tourbillon as well as the new TAG Heuer Connected watch and the revival of an old classic, the Heuer Monza. All help affirm TAG Heuer’s strategy as a bit of a rule-breaker while firmly remaining in the entry-level category of the luxury Swiss watch market. The TAG Heuer Aquaracer keeps getting better, and these new models improve on the previous version with cool black PVD titanium cases and hip, vibrant colors.

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

While they have run the gamut with new, revamped, and reintroduced watches this year, TAG Heuer did not disappoint with this release either, again spicing up their bread and butter Aquaracer diving watches. Like last year, the updates to the range come at a 43mm diameter and use the TAG Heuer Calibre 5 movement, aka the ETA 2824-02 movement. This movement is a TAG workhorse and operates at 28,800bph with a 38-hour power reserve. Nothing new here, and the main changes this year are in adding even more bold styling and colors to the line.

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

Tan joins red and black this year, providing a slightly softer but still masculine look to the classic diver style. All use black ceramic bezels and black PVD-coated titanium cases, and these actually deviate a little from the 2015 TAG Heuer Aquaracer models by accentuating the red in the ceramic bezel as well as having a matching blue strap for the blue option. The dial also had an upgrade using the red and blue to accentuate the indices and flat hands. The red is brash, the blue a bit more brooding, and the sandy tan is just very effortlessly cool. It may sound like I’m fawning a bit here, but TAG obviously put a lot of thought into each color option, and they all work.

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

New for 2016 is the aforementioned tan-accented TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium model and it’s perhaps my favorite. This one uses cues from the blue and red but with (obviously) tan coloring instead, which works brilliantly against the black case, dial, and bezel. The strap is also tan with a black deployant clasp. The dial is like the blue and red but with a yellow seconds hand that helps the contrast against the black ceramic and matches the TAG Heuer logo and Aquaracer branding.

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

As we mentioned last year, while these make for excellent entry-level desk divers, their specs allow them to still be considered as a real diver with 300m water-resistance rating and a bezel that rotates in one direction for timing events. The problem with considering these as serious dive watches is that the coloring (e.g., blue) will not help one bit in murky or deep dive conditions, and the strap – while excellent for day-to-day – hardly feels like something that would resist the harsh conditions of a dive boat and has no easy way to extend to fit over a wet suit.


New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

So while the new 2016 TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium watches are mainly a sharper and bolder evolution of the line, I think they will do well in the market that TAG Heuer is targeting. It’s a difficult segment that is positioned between the obvious lower range divers that are now also joined by the crop of connected/smart watches and pricier dive watches like the Tudor Pelagos and Sinn T1, for instance. As Zen mentioned in his Omega Cost of Entry piece, the lowest-priced mechanical Omega watch is the Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial that starts at $4,400. That’s a number that won’t work for a lot of buyers, so these TAG Heuer Aquaracers are a solid alternative.

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium Watches For 2016 Hands-On Hands-On

It’s also worth noting that TAG Heuer also added two more conservative models to the line. First, a steel model that has a classic blue bezel and dial reminiscent of the Omega Seamaster 300M. And then, there is a ceramic model with a gold bezel. Personally, it’s my least favorite of the lot but one that might appeal to those less looking for a diver’s watch but rather more of a day-to-day wear that would fit one’s fashion sense.

These TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium watches bring a lovely palette of colors to TAG Heuer’s entry-level watches, keeping the brand accessible to new and younger watch-wearers while giving new buyers a potential route to the other models. The blue (WAY208B.FC6382) and tan (WAY208C.FC6383) TAG Heuer Aquaracer Black Titanium watches are available now, and the red (WAY208A.FC6381) version will be available from November 2016. All have the same price, which in North America is US$2,

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  • john coleman

    It’s the Black & Tan model for me as well but hey, I’ll just stick to Seiko at a fifth of the price.

  • MEddie90

    Considering we just saw a Mido watch with a similar theme (titanium diver watch with brightly coloured highlights) at just over 1/3rd of the price I’m finding this piece hard to justify. I prefer the Mido’s design, there doesn’t seem to be much of a step up in terms of fit and finish with the Tag (though that may be different in person), you’re not getting a bracelet and the movement in the Tag is arguably less technically impressive or interesting (plus you’re missing out on the Mido’s awesome dial colour and texturing).

    I do think the ceramic bezel and better matched date windows are points towards the Tag and for some the DLC case is a bonus but I dont really see the value here. Much rather go with the Mido or as John says pick up a Seiko at even less.

    • Berndt Norten

      You’re paying JCB’s salary and for all the glitzy promotional stuff they do. But that applies to almost all of the big houses… I agree that Mido looks awfully attractive

  • I’ll join the chorus in saying the black & tan (hey, that’s a drink isn’t it?) rendition is my favorite. But I like the red & black too in the same vein as a Tudor Fastrider Black Shield in terms of colors:

    But I also like the new blue bezel reference – while it loses the “decking” on the dial dial, the sunray finish makes up for it and importantly, the second hand now won’t get lost compared to last year’s similar reference which had a blue second hand – which I reviewed here:

    When I cracked open last year’s Aquaracer, the “Caliber 5” was a Sellita SW 200, not an ETA 2824-2. I assume being an LVMH brand, Swatch prefers not to supply then with ETA movements given the choice.

    • Kuroji

      Such progress! Progenitors were designed with 2824-2 over 20 years ago!

      • And 20 ago, LVMH did not own them (acquired in 1999). Back then ETA was happy to sell movements to everyone.

  • Farhad Nabizadeh

    Some of the well-known automatic watches have started using 70 hrs power reserve system big brands like Hamilton, Tissot.
    It is disappointing that this one cannot do the same. Luxury watches users have usually more than one wrist watch so they do not wear everyday.

    • Kuroji

      60 should be a minimum target these days.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    Do these things glow in the dark?

    • Kuroji

      One assumes so. Things were simpler in the L Swiss Made L era.

  • Marius

    $2,800 for an entry-level Tag? Are you kidding me? Suddently, the new Lange Saxonia Ultra-Thin costing under $15,000 seems to offer excellent value.

    • Nathan

      Ceramic Bezel, ETA movement, Sapphire Crystal w/ cyclops, titanium carbide coating, water-resistant and a nylon strap w/ a deployment buckle, it’s hardly “over priced” in comparison to other brands with similar stuff. Formula 1 is their entry level around $1,100. I think it’s just as bad for us to discredit a watch just because it has “TAG Heuer” on the dial as it is for us to love it for that logo.

      • Marius

        Unfortunately, your argument didn’t really persuade me about the quality and value of these Tags.

        Nowadays, even $500 Kickstarter watches have ceramic bezels and sapphire crystals. In fact, a few weeks ago, ABTW reviewed two such watches.

        Titanium and ceramic cases are no longer the realm of expensive watches. For instance, the recently presented Mido dive watch has a titanium case, a slightly better ETA caliber, yet is three times less expensive. A Hamilton JazzMaster in ceramic costs around $1,400.

        The fact that this $2,800 watch has an ETA/Selitta caliber is not exactly impressive. Besides the fact that these movements are very cheap, don’t forget that you could buy a Chr.Ward chronograph for around $2,400. For a similar price you could also get a Nomos with a well-finished and interesting in-house caliber.

        Last but not least, let’s not forget about the “famed” Tag Heuer quality. When I was in high-school, I was gifted a Tag and I only had problems with it: two hour markers fell off; the minute and seconds hand fell off; and the date mechanism got stuck. After about a year I gave the watch away as it was too much trouble. Of course, Tag might have improved its quality level, although I wouldn’t hold my breath for it.

        • Kuroji

          I believe you mean a

        • spiceballs

          Why I appreciated the Mido and its 80hr reserve.

        • Nathan

          I’d hardly say that comparing watches created years ago to the brands current pieces is hardly fair. As someone who has handled both pieces from the 90’s/ early 2000’s, and the current collection of Aquaracers, I can say the quality jump is immediately noticeable. Old TAG Heuer’s are often boring, and the build quality is sub-par, especially in the formula 1 collection. I can’t think of anything negative in terms of quality for the new Aquaracers. This is subjective, so I can only suggest you go try one on before making judgments.

          In terms of other brands, there are definitely good values to be had, but I don’t see how Mido or Christopher Ward offering great watches at great prices makes TAG’s watch lower quality. In the realm of dive watches under $3,000, TAG is still offering a piece with competitive technology and quality. Sure, you can get an in-house NOMOS watch at that price point, but somehow I doubt someone looking for a decent DIVE watch is going to chose a NOMOS Club. But again, other brand’s being good

          Also I’d be very interested where I can find a Hamilton Jazzmaster using any ceramic.

        • Jack Daniels

          I’ve got four, three of them quartz, all three-handers from the 90’s. One of the quartz had the movement
          replaced, the rest have been no trouble. The automatic probably still
          works fine. The terrible power reserve combined with a noisy winder
          finally put me off it for good. I think it’s an ETA 2824-2 in there.

        • Jack Daniels

          I’m not seeing any ceramic watches in Hamilton’s current line-up.

      • Bossman

        No Nathan. Nothing wrong with disliking a Tag. The copy and paste brand, at a price…

  • That blue one has the potential to be a guilty pleasure, but I would prefer a little more lights-on legibility.

  • cluedog12

    I understand these striking TAGs are meant for fashionable mixing and matching…something I am clueless on.

    Do I pair the watch to my shirt, belt, shoes, facial hair or the colour of the pills I pop before a night on the town?

    • Kuroji

      Neck tattoos.

  • DanW94

    The black and tan model is palatable but the red and blue give off that fashion watch vibe. The SS model with the blue bezel on the bracelet sans the horizontal dial pattern is the one I’d go for.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    My eyes are burning! I’m having a Tag Heuer Formula 1 flashback!

    Tag Heuers are little boy watches. Which reminds me to stock up on them for some gifts to hand out on my next visit to Sri Lanka.

  • Grinnie Jax

    DLC-Blue one looks like cheap mall junk, the rest look okay but nowhere near 3k. I would take GS diver instead. You can do it better, Mr. Biver

    • Kuroji

      Christ those are ugly hands.

      • Bossman

        Agree. They are almost as ugly as the ones used on these Tags.

        • Kuroji

          It’s a tough call, but I’m going to say they are at least as ugly as the strap model hands, but more ugly than the bracelet model hands.

  • SuperStrapper

    Not awful, but I’m sure I could do more for this much. I like the bright colourways but they do lend a touch of mall-watch aesthetic to them, unfortunately.

  • Seems all that JCB is capable of (design approval / inspiration wise) is barfing gaudy colors on stuff. With at least 16.5 million colors in the visible spectrum, they’ve got limited editions covered till the end of time. The black and tan one looks OK, but considering the brand’s status, appearance and price, there’s plenty of (more worthy?) competition for those dollars.

  • word-merchant

    Ah, but tonight we’ll see the Apple Watch 2…

  • Simon_Hell

    I am embarassed that the watch i wear has the same logo as this kinder surprise kitsch I’m looking at here. This is like the dead end of creativity, inovation and good taste. The people who buy this shohld be studied by scientists.

    • Thomas Halvorsen

      I take it you haven’t seen tudors “heritage” offerings yet?

  • mtnsicl

    I like red and black when it comes to cars. Watches? Not so much. In fact, all these color combinations make these look like cheap fashion watches. Yet another Tag failure.

  • Alex Makogon

    This is so ugly I almost can’t believe it.

  • Kuroji

    Hate these except for the ceramic and gold one.

  • commentator bob

    The blue one is the best looking, but also looks like a less attractive Orient Mako USA.

  • Hydra


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