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Fashion & Beauty

High-water mark
A robust, stylish classic for a new generation of explorers

14 May, 2021

The new-generation model is called the Aquaracer Professional 300. Bold and yet elegant, highly functional and yet versatile, it’s a highly robust watch with a luxury feel that goes beyond the edge and sets a new high-water mark: for ergonomic, extreme-performance mechanical watches. Designed for work and play, and to soak up nature’s harshest challenges, it’s a pure symbol of TAG Heuer’s fearless, avant-garde spirit.

With its striking, instantly recognisable aesthetic, epitomised by the Aquaracer’s signature 12 faceted bezel, and its high specifications, it’s entirely contemporary, and yet it recalls a legacy that TAG Heuer began more than 40 years ago.

That legacy began with the Heuer Ref. 844, a divers’ watch released in 1978. It had a memorable dial design with a red 24-hour scale, prominent lume-filled hour markers and a rotating divers’ bezel with a crystal-clear minutes scale for safely timing dives. It set the standard for reliable diver’s watches and was adopted by professional and recreational divers all over the world. In the four decades since the watch was launched, TAG Heuer has continued to push the limits of divers’ watch design and performance, through celebrated pieces such as the Night Diver (once worn by the world’s most famous secret agent) and the 1000 and 2000 Series models, while the Ref. 844 has become a collectors’ favourite.

Frédéric Arnault, TAG Heuer CEO, said: “TAG Heuer has been making bold, high-performance, stylish, luxury tool watches for more than four decades. The Aquaracer Professional 300 picks up a much-loved story and moves it on with the most significant step we’ve taken to develop our Aquaracer collection in many years. Pushing the limits, high functionality, a bold and unmistakable aesthetic, and the promise of going with you, even to the extremes – the Aquaracer Professional 300 is a watch that will take you beyond the edge. This is, after all, the place where we truly find ourselves.”

Below the surface

Breaking down the Aquaracer Professional 300’s design

For the Aquaracer Professional 300 launch collection, TAG Heuer’s designers worked with a clear concept – to create a bold, high-performance, ergonomic watch for divers that was distinctively TAG Heuer. On top of that, they wanted to respect the company’s divers’ watch tradition while delivering design and material refinements that would meet and exceed the high expectations of today’s customer. No easy task!

This meant working with the Aquaracer collection’s six signature features and updating and upgrading them. Since 1983, the collection has always offered a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, water resistance to at least 200 metres, luminous markings, a sapphire crystal and a double safety clasp – real-world functions that divers know to rely on in the deep.

To start, the team turned to the most visually arresting and immediately recognisable element of the Aquaracer’s design – its 12-sided unidirectional rotating bezel. The designers kept the basic form and evolved it, integrating a scratch-resistant ceramic insert across the collection and fluting each of the 12 facets so the bezel would be easy to grip and turn, no matter which facets the wearer is holding.

They also went under the skin, re-engineering the bezel’s internal tooth profile so that the rotating mechanism becomes smoother, quieter and easier to set. The result is a highly ergonomic device that delivers tangible improvements to the watch’s functionality.

They also upgraded the sapphire crystal, integrating a magnifier over the date at 6 o’clock into the underside of the crystal so that the surface is smooth to the touch. This simple but effective forward step also makes the date easier to read from wider angles.

The bezel’s silhouette was then used to inform further elements of the Aquaracer Professional 300’s design, so that it now has eight octagonal hour markers and a 12-sided crown. This elegant uniformity gives the new watch’s design language its consistency.

Further improvements were then made to the overall look and legibility of the watch. The new model has a wider, more sword-shaped hour hand (reminiscent of the last of the TAG Heuer 2000 Series, introduced in 2004) and a narrower minutes hand to create a clearer distinction between the two hands in low-light conditions. For extra clarity, the designers chose green Super-LumiNova® for the hour hand and hour markers, and blue Super-LumiNova® for the minutes hand. The crown protection has been rethought too, and is now softer and more rounded, cupping the crown in a style reminiscent of the Ref. 844.

Combined, these small details become significant, because they deliver greater legibility, meaning a diver can refer to their watch with far greater confidence, even in extreme conditions where visibility   is greatly reduced.

Beyond limits   

The go-anywhere watch is better than ever

During the conceptual phase, TAG Heuer’s designers also recognised that, as well as being a reliable instrument, the Aquaracer Professional 300 needed to be adaptable to multiple environments. More and more wearers are turning to divers’ watches for their robustness and versatility, while at the same time wanting a watch for both work and play.

With this in mind, they evolved the Aquaracer’s overall form to be thinner and lighter. The case, bezel and metal bracelet have all been slimmed down, without compromising the watch’s core performance features, such as water-resistance to 300 metres (30 bar), while also improving durability.

The new watch’s lugs are now shorter, while the case edge has been chamfered and polished to give more harmony to the watch’s visual impact and add refinement. As a result, on the wrist, the watch now has a more sophisticated profile, and is lighter and more ergonomic.

To complete the Aquaracer Professional 300’s look and feel, the designers returned to the famous scaphander diving suit that first appeared on the Aquaracer case back in 2004. The familiar, authoritative motif continues to underline the value of the watch to its users, who are the latest in a long line of underwater explorers who chose the Aquaracer.

Reflecting the facets that become the new design’s fil rouge, they made the diving helmet more angular and added a 12-faceted faceplate. Behind it sits a repeating hexagonal motif. The case back will now also always be square to the case so that the scaphander sits upright.

As a result of these technical and aesthetic upgrades, the new Aquaracer Professional 300 is both a nod to the past and a contemporary design ready for the future – in fact, it’s ready for anything.

The perfect fit    

Seven references, two sizes and a new bracelet fine adjustment system

The new Aquaracer Professional 300’s sophisticated dynamic isn’t limited to its design fundamentals. At launch, there will be seven references in two sizes in the core collection.

Four references will have a 43 mm case diameter, and three will feature a case measuring 36 mm. Each has a uni-directional rotating divers’ bezel with a ceramic insert and an engraved minutes scale.

Six of these will be in stainless steel, with the choice of black, blue or silver dials. There will also be a 43 mm piece in high-tech matte Grade 2 titanium with a green dial. The stainless-steel models have either a black or blue ceramic bezel insert with a white triangle at 12 o’clock filled with blue Super- LumiNova®. The titanium model has a green ceramic bezel insert with a yellow triangle at 12 o’clock, and every indication on its minutes scale is filled with blue Super-LumiNova® to maximise low-light visibility.

To give the watches the bold sophistication established as a core principle during the concept phase, all seven references have been given stylish engraved dials. The 43 mm models carry over one of the signature design cues from the outgoing Aquaracer, namely the dial’s engraved horizontal lines, only now these have been set further apart, contributing to the watch’s more considered look. The dials on the smaller 36 mm models are engraved with a wave pattern, which was introduced in 2019. The blue 36 mm model also has eight diamond hour markers and polished central bracelet links.

Each reference features a new integrated metal bracelet design, equipped with a highly sophisticated fine adjustment system that can extend or reduce the bracelet length by up to 1.5 cm. This enables wearers to resize the bracelet so the watch can be worn over a wetsuit, or adjust the bracelet size to cater for changes in climate or temperature, without taking the watch off.

Diving back in time

Introducing the limited-edition Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844

TAG Heuer is also introducing a highly collectible limited-edition version of the Aquaracer Professional 300 at launch to both complement the core collection and salute the design’s wonderful heritage. It’s called the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844, and, as the name suggests, it picks up on the story of the fabled Ref. 844 divers’ watch, introduced in 1978.

In creating this beautiful watch, TAG Heuer’s designers mixed a high-tech Grade 5 titanium case with a number of visual elements from the archive piece. The flat black dial carries the Ref. 844’s red 24-hour scale, which was originally intended as a quick conversion chart for on-the-field professionals reporting the time against the 24-hour clock.

The watch also has vintage lume and a black perforated rubber strap based on an original design created to allow water to swiftly pass between the watch and the wearer’s wrist. In keeping with the watch’s repeating-facet design code, those perforations are octagonal.

Only 844 examples of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 will be made.

High-calibre timepieces for the world beneath the waves

Swiss Made, mechanical and highly water-resistant

All eight references in the new Aquaracer Professional 300 collection are powered by TAG Heuer’s Calibre 5, an ultra-reliable Swiss-made, automatic mechanical movement that drives hour, minute and seconds hands and a date, which is now positioned at 6 o’clock, in keeping with the design codes of the new generation of TAG Heuer watches. Every model has a solid case back and provides water- resistance to 300 metres (30 bar).

Beyond the edge

This is just the beginning …

The introduction of the Aquaracer Professional 300 collection marks a new chapter in TAG Heuer’s luxury tool watch story. Bold, refined, high-performing – these are watches for a new generation of divers, adventurers and urban explorers who want to go beyond the edge and push their limits, bringing them to the place where they find themselves. And this is just where the story starts …

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