Introduction to the TAG Heuer Aquaracer
The TAG Heuer Aquaracer series is a collection of professional dive watches styled for everyday wear. A tool watch at its core, the Aquaracer is the latest in TAG Heuer’s line of water-resistant timepieces that trace back to the 1979 launch of the Heuer Diver Professional. Today’s Aquaracer embodies the evolution of sports watch technology, affordably priced for men and women.
The Aquaracer joined TAG icons including Monaco, Carrera and Autavia as one of the company’s six core branded collections in 2005. Its name was taken from the Series 2000 Aquaracer model introduced in 2004. This watch’s legacy included decades of dive watches marketed by Heuer and TAG Heuer as Series 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000, 4000 and 6000. The original Aquaracer, which was rebranded the “Aquaracer 300M,” was offered in quartz and automatic versions with water resistance to 300 meters and a colorful aluminum rotating bezel that would become a signature element of the Aquaracer Collection.
The first generation Aquaracer series launched with a complete collection of 3-hand chronometers and chronographs in case sizes ranging from 38 to 43 millimeters. Several watches in the collection carried forward the designs and themes present in the TAG Heuer 2000 series, but with more elegant finishing and updated hands, markers and bezels. Most automatic variations were powered by the Calibre 5 except for the 3-register Calibre 16 Chronograph. Quartz models were easily identified by the dial’s full-color TAG Heuer logo, while automatic Aquaracers carried the monochromatic mark.
The second generation Aquaracers appeared in 2009 with subtle cosmetic updates to the 300M, several new quartz and automatic options and the all-new 500M. TAG Heuer dove deeper with the Aquaracer 500M, which was rated for depths up to 500 meters. Its design, combined prominent crown guards, a rubberized bezel with applied numbers on the 60-minute scale, a date window at 9 o’clock and a helium escape valve leaves no doubt that this is a watch for serious divers. The Full Black 500M version of the watch is especially bold.
Third and fourth generation Aquaracers continued to evolve as the collection became more elegant with softer edges, new materials and an expanded color palate. With 67 gents and ladies models in the current collection, the variety of sizes, colors, dial patterns and movements is designed to express the underwater spirit with styles for any taste.
All Aquaracer watches are water resistant to depths of at least 300 meters. They feature a screw-down crown, sapphire crystal, highly legible luminous Super-LumiNova markers and hands, locking metal or rubber straps and a rotating bezel in 60-minute and GMT scale. Highly decorated diamond bezels and dials are available, but most models are finished in a more utilitarian fashion that evokes the traditional dive watch aesthetic—textured or flat blue, white and black dials, and aluminum bezels in silver, blue and black
The hallmark angular bezel design is characterized by its 12 facets, triangle marker and raised grip points. The Ladies collection includes 27, 32 and 35mm versions, while the larger Gents collection measure 41 and 43 millimeters. The case design includes raised elements to facilitate operation while wearing gloves and the stainless-steel bracelet features a dive extension for easy length adjustments. Also available are TAG Heuer Aquaracer rubber strap versions. Three-hand models and chronographs are available with or without date using quartz and automatic power supplies, although none utilize the in-house Calibre Heuer 02 movement
Three-hand models and chronographs are available with or without date using quartz.
Automatic Power Supplies
Automatic power supplies, although none utilize the in-house Calibre Heuer 02 movement
Most models are finished in a more utilitarian fashion that evokes the traditional dive watch aesthetic—textured or flat blue, white and black dials, and aluminum bezels in silver, blue and black
Highly decorated diamond bezels and dials
Aquaracer Value and Collectability
Aquaracer dive watches provide exceptional value at affordable prices, especially when compared to significantly more expensive Rolex, Omega and other luxury brand offerings. With retail prices on new Aquaracers ranging from $1,350 to $4,700 for a diamond and gold two-tone model, these watches represent an ideal luxury watch entry point. It is also a durable watch that serious divers can wear without worrying about nicks, abrasions or damage that may dramatically devalue more prized examples in their collections.
Look for pre-owned TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 and used TAG Heuer Aquaracer men’s and ladies watches to be priced well below retail. The discontinued Aquaracer 500M is a sought-after model, especially the Full Black edition. Any generation 300M is a good choice, as are used limited edition models and the Calibre 16 chronograph if a larger, more complicated watch is desired. For vintage watch enthusiasts, consider Aquaracer precursors from Series 1000 and 1500 as well-maintained Diver Professionals can be found at very low price points.
Care and Maintenance
Care and Maintenance
While every luxury timepiece requires regular maintenance, dive watches often need special attention since they are frequently exposed to saltwater and extreme pressure. TAG Heuer recommends dry brush cleaning every 2-3 months and an annual water resistance check. With a complete cleaning performed at an authorized TAG Heuer Service Centre every 4-6 years, any Aquaracer should provide a lifetime of accuracy and flawless operation.
Inside of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer is the Calibre 5, a dependable mechanical movement based on either the ETA 2824-2 or Sellita SW200-1. This movement features an innovation that makes a certain adjustment even easier for watchmakers—regulating the rate of the balance wheel.
The Calibre 5 makes this operation straightforward with its use of an eccentric screw on the balance cock. A watchmaker can increase or decrease the rate of oscillation of the balance wheel by slightly rotating the eccentric screw with their screwdriver. In turn, the eccentric screw moves a lever that effectively lengthens or shortens the active length of the hairspring. The hairspring is attached to the balance wheel and provides the restoring force that keeps it oscillating. A slightly longer hairspring will decrease the rate of oscillation, while a slightly shorter balance wheel will increase it.
This common watchmakers' task has always been a challenge, and many different styles of regulators have been implemented in mechanical movements through history. The eccentric screw regulator may be the most prevalent, and for good reason. It makes a dependable movement—like the Calibre 5 in the TAG Heuer Aquarace—even better.