November 26, 2022
by Ariel Adams
In 2021, TAG Heuer introduced the latest generation of the diver’s watch-inspired Aquaracer collection. TAG Heuer has been producing the Aquaracer series since the 1970s, and most watch enthusiasts have at least heard of TAG Heuer’s major player in the dive watch universe. But Aquaracer watches are probably underappreciated because other timepiece families produced by TAG Heuer probably get most of the attention from consumers. For example, unless you accidentally stumble upon the Aquaracer as a novice collector, you are going to get to know the brand through models like the Carrera and Monaco first. Only after exploring a host of other models will your attention land on the Aquaracer.
In a sense, that is a good problem for TAG Heuer to have. Enjoying some very popular collections helps keep the brand in demand and also provides the comfort of being able to produce “sure hits” that enough of the fans will like. That said, the latest-generation TAG Heuer Aquaracers are both pretty nice timepieces and also really varied with models coming in different sizes, materials, and movements. One of TAG Heuer’s most interesting “high-tech” watches is within the Aquaracer collection: the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph. In addition to three-hand dials, the Aquaracer collection also features a chronograph and several GMT models. For now, let’s talk about a classic look with this reference WBP201F.BA0632 Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver, which has a 43mm-wide steel case, black ceramic bezel, and legible orange-colored dial.
Orange is considered the most legible color for diving watch conditions. That doesn’t make it the only legible color, but according to particular tests, orange offers the best overall performance. That has given rise to a host of orange-colored diver’s watches and this version of the Aquaracer is the latest. According to TAG Heuer, it is actually inspired by the brand’s first orange-dialed Aquaracer watch from 1979. The contrast with the dark-gray-hued applied metal hour indicators (with luminant painted inside) looks very good on the symmetrical dial and goes well with the polished black ceramic dial. I think this watch would have been even more interesting looking if the entire case and bracelet were also in black-coated steel.
The dial is designed with horizontal lines and TAG Heuer’s own take on the classic diver’s watch face. I like the use of familiar styles but with the more geometric look of the hour markers. The dial has a nice sense of depth to it and feels more like an instrument than a fashion item. It is very purposeful and functional, but just falls short of being beautiful (a hard peak to reach). TAG Heuer goes back to the now classic reverse magnifier on the dial, which places the date window magnifier (located here at 6 o’clock on the dial) on the bottom, versus the top side of the crystal, on those watches with dials deep enough to accommodate the feature.
Inside the watch is a movement TAG Heuer calls the Calibre 5 Automatic. This is a Swiss Made ETA or Sellita 2824-style 4Hz, 38-hour power reserve, automatic movement. The overall case for this size Aquaracer is 43mm-wide and broad yet comfortable on the wrist. Visually, I think this watch might look even better on the available rubber strap since that allows you to admire the pleasant angular shape of the 300-meter water-resistant case. The matching brushed steel bracelet is handsome enough and has a nice tapering aesthetic to it. I particularly like the compact yet functional deployant clasp, which includes a sliding micro-adjust system that can be operated while you are still wearing the watch.
Like many Aquaracer models that came before it, the latest-generation models have a solid caseback with an antique-style diver’s helm engraved in the metal. If you’ve seen those historic diver guys move, then you’d know their slow-moving gait makes them anything but “aqua racers.” Given all the fast things that move in and on the water, I think TAG Heuer might want the decoration on the case to meet the overall branding that this model, and the racing-focused watch brand, overall, are going for.
More people would probably like the Aquaracer watch if they spent some time with it. I entirely understand that the market is full of good diving watch options and that it will take time for people to get more experience with the TAG Heuer Aquaracer, but the collection has never been better. It isn’t the cheapest on the market, either, but there are some really cool options within the larger family. Between men’s and women’s models, there are 45 different Aquaracer SKUs on the TAG Heuer website at this time. The most expensive among them is the $6,600+ TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 1000 Superdiver. At nearly half the price, the Aquaracer Professional 300 feels like a bargain. Price for this reference WBP201F.BA0632 TAG Heuer Aquaracter Professional 300 Orange Diver watch is $3,400 USD. Learn more at the TAG Heuer website here.