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TAG Aquaracer 300: New Night Diver Variants

Is a TAG watch cool or not? That’s a tough one, because a Monaco in Gulf colours, or even the blue dial, is a winner. Some of the Carrera models also look the business, as do the fume dial Autavias, with their vintage 70s racing driver vibe remixed for the modern era perfectly. But then, there’s the quartz stuff..and that smartwatch thing. Hmm.

But the Aquaracer has its fans, and for good reason; this is a dive watch you can wear with a suit and it looks distinctive, quality and reasonably fresh. Here’s the word from TAG;

INTRODUCING THE NIGHT DIVER

Following the launch of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer
Professional 300 series during Watches and Wonders Geneva in April, TAG Heuer announces three additions to the go-anywhere family of watches, including a new iteration of a TAG Heuer icon, the all-black, lume-dialled TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver.

TAG Heuer enthusiasts will recognise the name “Night Diver”, which was first introduced in the mid-1980s. Loved by active, style-conscious watch buyers who push their limits, exploring nature and
going beyond the edge, it became one of the most celebrated sports watches of its era.

Today’s TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 collection picks up this story. TAG Heuer’s design, engineering and heritage teams worked together to deliver a faithful update to a much-loved watch,
retaining and improving signature details such as the famous 12-sided bezel and the dial’s horizontal engraved lines to produce a refined, highly versatile modern classic.

So there are now 11 references in the new Aquaracer line-up. All three new models are non-limited and go into the core collection, each with a 43 mm stainless steel case and rubber strap equipped with TAG Heuer’s innovative adjustable folding clasp.

The new black and blue versions pick up on the bracelet models introduced at Watches and Wonders: both are colour-themed with matching black or blue dials, ceramic bezel inserts and rubber straps.
The standout model of the release is the black DLC-coated Night Diver, joining the TAG Heuer AquaracerProfessional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 as the collection’s hero pieces.

Its stainless-steel case, bezel, crown, caseback and clasp are all coated in matt black diamond-like carbon, known as DLC, a high- performance, hard-wearing finish designed for use in extreme conditions. The bezel insert is highly resistant black ceramic.

EXTRA LUME

The Night Diver’s other signature feature is its fully luminescent dial, which is coated in green SuperLumiNova® to deliver exceptional glow-in-the-dark performance. To ensure ultimate legibility in extreme low-light conditions, the watch’s minute and central seconds hands are filled with blue lume to contrast with the green of the dial.

The hour hand and octagonal hour markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are filled with green lume, and the remaining octagonal hour markers are all edged with black lacquer. The triangle on the unidirectional rotating bezel at 12, which is crucial to accurately and safely measure dive times, is also filled with striking blue lume to match the blue of the minute and central seconds hands.

FUNCTIONALITY

There’s a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, water resistance to at least 200 metres, luminous markings, a scratch-resistant crystal and a double safety clasp.

The 12 sides of the bezel are all faceted for grip, the crown is protected to prevent accidental damage and there’s a magnifying glass over the date, which is integrated into the underside of the sapphire crystal, making it smooth to the touch.

UK Prices start at £2250.

VERDICT; What we like about the Aquaracer 300m dive models is that you are getting much the same spec as the Omega Seamaster, but without the £3500-£4500 price tag. Forgive the pun. It’s a versatile watch, and at 43mm suits most wrists. You will always find someone wants to buy it from you pre-owned as well, and often for a decent percentage of the original RRP.

The many-sided bezel also adds a little difference, a bit of visual appeal, because so many dive watches – and all their homages – essentially look the same; round case 40-44mm, uni bezel with big lume numbers, cyclops and a screwdown protected crown. Sometimes a detail like the 12-sided feature makes you, the owner, stand out from the crowd. That’s a good thing we reckon.

TAG’s Dark Lord is an Auction Superstar

This Only Watch charity event is really showcasing a great deal of Swiss watchmaking expertise and branding isn’t it?

Here’s the word from TAG Heuer, who have pushed the boat out when it comes to hand-crafting something really unique;

TAG Heuer is delighted to announce its return to Only Watch with the TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco, a one-off, high-end, hand-finished version of the Swiss watch company’s iconic square-cased automatic chronograph that will never be recreated.

The unique watch will be auctioned at Only Watch 2021, the biennial charity watch auction, which is scheduled to take place this year in Geneva on 6 November. “Only Watch has become one of the highlights of the watchmaking calendar, and we are so glad to be taking part again and to help raise vital funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Frédéric Arnault, TAG Heuer Chief Executive Officer. “It’s also our great pleasure to put forward for auction the TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco, one of the most spectacular, imaginative wristwatches we have ever created.”

The carbon-cased piece is a true watchmaking tour de force, playing on more than half a century of TAG Heuer heritage, while also embracing the best of the company’s 21st century savoir faire and innovation.

THE CASE: CARBON LOADING

For TAG Heuer aficionados, the Only Watch Carbon Monaco will have clear echoes of the mythical black-PVD-cased Monaco Reference 74033N known by collectors as the “Dark Lord”. It was produced in limited quantities in the mid-1970s and never appeared in a Heuer (as the company was called until 1985) catalogue or any of the company’s advertising. Today, it is extremely rare and highly prized.

The TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco’s case tells the story of this special watch using state-ofthe-art manufacturing techniques. It’s forged in black carbon fibre, giving it a wonderfully mysterious
look. TAG Heuer has used carbon fibre for the Monaco case before with the 2018 Monaco Bamford, but this is a unique case that was designed explicitly to carry the largest sapphire crystal caseback
ever applied to a Monaco. TAG Heuer’s engineers wanted to give the watch’s future owner an unimpeded view into its bespoke movement, while ensuring the watch remained water-resistant.

THE DIAL: OPEN ALL HOURS

The striking skeletonised dial that gives the watch so much of its character is also carbon. It was created in collaboration with TAG Heuer’s long-time partner, the highly regarded dial specialists ArteCad, and is worked from a single piece of carbon fibre.

The dial’s architectural look was created by milling and drilling the basic form to reveal striking structural shapes that stretch across the face of the watch like the struts on a racing car, a design that makes subtle reference to TAG Heuer’s integral role in the evolution of modern motor sport over more than six decades.

It’s here that we see the first example of the handcraftsmanship involved in creating this watch. Each of the dial’s intricate skeletonised facets has been finished by hand using the fine-watchmaking technique of anglage, which gives the dial its depth and multidimensional look. Underneath these, a date wheel peeks through, as does the top side of the movement. Typically, the top side of a calibre is left raw as it’s unseen, hidden by a solid dial. But in this case, TAG Heuer elected to hand-finish it to ensure every element was as exceptional as it could be, even when partially
obscured, a decision that’s symbolic of the relentless attention to detail applied to the watch.

Sitting on top of the carbon dial are three black galvanised brass plates that form the watch’s chronograph and small-seconds subdials. Orange detailing sampled from Only Watch’s 2021 sunkissed colour palette makes the hands stand out against the black dial, while the hour markers are individually machined blocks of highly luminescent beige Super-LumiNova®.

THE MOVEMENT: FINISHING IN STYLE

The TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco is powered by TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph, a Swiss-made movement with an 80-hour power reserve.

This, however, is a unique expression of the Heuer 02, created exclusively for the occasion. Not only has the movement been beautifully decorated by hand, it also carries TAG Heuer’s groundbreaking in-house carbon hairspring, developed by the company’s celebrated TAG Heuer Institute. Appearing in the
Heuer 02, and therefore a a Monaco for the very first time, the carbon hairspring delivers exceptional levels of anti-magnetism, shock resistance, stability across temperature ranges and refined geometry for excellent chronometric performance.

The movement also features a unique oscillating weight in the form of the TAG Heuer shield, which is not only hand finished throughout, but is also decorated with a fine line in the gradient orange to yellow
colour of Only Watch 2021. Astonishingly, the seamless transition from orange to yellow was achieved by hand, painted by the master dial artist and micro-painter André Martinez. André is based in Le Locle, only a few kilometres from TAG Heuer’s headquarters in the Swiss watchmaking town of La Chaux-deFonds.

But the movement’s story doesn’t end there. To match the spirit of Only Watch, TAG Heuer decided to give the movement an exceptional level of finishing and to work with Artime SA, one of the watch industry’s leaders in decorative techniques. This continued the watch’s bespoke story and demonstrated the company’s ongoing commitment to traditional watchmaking savoir faire.

There are no fewer than 10 types of hand finishing. The most visible is the rare graté decoration. Applied by hand, this creates the chequered-flag motif seen on the movement’s bridges and its surround, which carries further special engravings. To create an additional sense of depth, the movement also features further hand finished techniques including anglage, black polishing, circular graining, straight graining, perlage, snailing, sandblasting, chevron engraving and sunburst finishing.

It took 25 hours of additional hand-finishing to create this spectacular effect, producing a fine-watchmaking story worthy of Only Watch.

THE STRAP: (NOT) IN THE METAL

To finish off this spellbinding watch, TAG Heuer has created a novel strap that looks like a metal bracelet, but which is in fact made of leather. The link effect is produced using a highly skilled process
that took months to perfect. First, silicon is injected into the sole of the leather. This is then heat-stamped with a mould in the shape of a metal link bracelet, creating the three- dimensional effect.

TAG Heuer has never used this technique on a watch strap before.

UNDER THE HAMMER:

The TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco arrives after months of development. TAG Heuer’s designers, engineers and partners have poured their hearts and souls into it, creating a truly outstanding
wristwatch that brings together more than five decades of watchmaking heritage, fine-watchmaking traditions passed down through the generations and the most advanced contemporary watchmaking techniques available today.

“My profound congratulations to the team for producing a watch that pushes TAG Heuer watchmaking beyond the edge,” said Mr Arnault. “And my very best wishes to H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Luc Pettavino, Christie’s and the Only Watch team ahead of this year’s auction. We’ll see you in Geneva.”

Union Averin Chrono: TAG Monaco Alternative?

This square case Averin chronograph from Union Glashutte – one of the many Swtch Group brands – channels the spirit of the TAG Monaco, but minus the 5K price ticket for the much admired Gulf Racing edition.

The Averin features a 41 x 41 mm pillow-shaped stainless steel case, which is arguably the perfect size for many wrists.

You get a domed sapphire crystal with rounded corners and anti-reflective coating inside and out. Then there’s that unique day/date display; To the left, surrounded by black relief embossing, are the month and week day displays, the small second, a 24-hour display with day-night indicator and moon phase, as well as chronograph counters with bright red hands.

Then there’s the moonphase window too, an extra detail that draws the eye into the dial. Maybe it’s slightly too busy? Maybe not. You have those satisfying chamfered pushers on the case, which are…shall we say a TAG homage detail? Yep, let’s leave it at that.

But it’s quirky and different for sure, plus the bold black n white dial theme really sets the watch apart in a sea of green and blue dial offerings this year from the big Swiss names.

Inside there’s an automatic UNG 25 calibre movement, which looks like a reworking of the famous Valjoux 7753. The UNG25 has an identical runing speed of 28,800vph and looks very similar in movement photos. Beautifully finished with a Union rotor and a smattering of blue anodised crews, plsu see-thru caseback.

Love the retro 70s Rally driver strap too, nice motorsport touch.

Taken all round, this is a refreshing change from a TAG Monaco and its myriad coloured dial editions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic lines of the TAG M, espcially the Gulf and blue dial models. But a price of over £5300 for something with a frankly ageing movement inside, is getting a bit silly.

The Union Averin retails at £2980 in the UK. A special edition for Scotland will be called the Haverin. That was a joke btw.

So we say, give this Union a look – could be a winner. More here. 

TAG Titanium: Fade To Grey 500 Pieces Ltd Edition

Yes we missed the press info on the TAG Monaco Ltd Edition with a titanium case. It is kinda cool, so here is the catch up;

TAG Heuer delights its racing fans and lovers of fine watchmaking with a new and limited-edition collectable, the TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Special Edition – an instant classic inspired by the collection’s origins in motorsports, this time in an unexpected and striking material, titanium. Expressing the timeless elegance of the TAG Heuer Monaco, this exclusive chronograph limited to 500 pieces is also infused with bold modernity.

This new TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Special Edition features a vivid and gleaming silver-coloured dial which perfectly complements the titanium case. A rare edition in the TAG Heuer Monaco collection, the light dial offers the benefit of very good visibility and an attractive contrast to the sub-dials, indexes and hands of the watch.

This special-edition TAG Heuer Monaco Titan is equipped with a modern version of the famous Calibre 11 automatic chronograph movement which celebrated its debut in the original 1969 Monaco.

Verdict: Nope, the Gulf model is still the Boss. Closely foloowed by tyhe blue dial variants.

They Say Geniuses Choose Green. Or Teal.

TAG has released a teal green dial edition of the Carrera chronograph because, well…it’s just a 2021 trend and all that. Green is the new blue when it comes to dials. It retails at 6300 euros, or around £5420.

Here’s the word from TAG H press office;

Just in time for summer, the Swiss luxury watchmaker unveils the TAG Heuer Carrera Green Special Edition, an exceptional timepiece in a brand new colour: a deep blue-green with an intense shimmer. Limited to 500 pieces, this watch artfully combines the tradition inherited from the first Heuer Carrera models with modern elegance, brought together by an incomparable Riviera style.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Green Special Edition chronograph has in fact plenty in common with the Heuer Carrera ref. 2447. The signature lugs, stylish case, polished push buttons and dial all chime pleasingly with its illustrious predecessor, but the details and broader diameter – enlarged from 36 to 39 mm – bring it right up to date.

The dial boasts a sober, sophisticated tricompax structure with three snailed subdials: a minute chronograph at 3 o’clock, hour chronograph at 9 o’clock and permanent second indicator at 6 o’clock. The hour and minute hands are faceted and coated with Super-LumiNova® for optimum readability. Behind the retro-style “glass box” domed sapphire crystal, also inspired by the original Heuer Carrera, the dial sports the emblematic Heuer logo and Carrera name.

And last but not least, the new feature that makes this watch stand out from the crowd: the dial’s stunning teal sunray-brushed colour.

Rarely featured in TAG Heuer collections, this colour is a subtle
blend of blue and green, giving this timepiece a fresh, creative flair and sophisticated boldness. On the caseback, there are touches of teal on the movement’s column wheel and in the “Calibre Heuer 02” and “Swiss Made” inscriptions on the oscillating mass, visible through the transparent case.

There are just 500 examples of this special edition, 39mm watch being made, all sold direct online or via TAG boutiques.

There’s a New TAG Monaco. Yes, It’s Green

Green is everywhere this year, from Boris Johnson’s latest attempts to micro-manage our entire lives by banning gas boilers, bacon sandwiches and petrol cars, to the myriad – yes we used myriad – green dial watches showcased by Rolex, IWC, Patek, Tudor and others at Watches & Wonders.

Now TAG has joined th party with a green dial variant on their classic Monaco model. I refuse to say `iconic’ because some herberts on local news websites are now describing their local bus depot as iconinc. It’s laughable. OK then, classic TAG Monaco features like the 39mm case, black sub-dials, plus it a luminous green glow at night on the hands and markers. The see-thru caseback has some green text, plus there’s a dash of green on the movement too.

Yours for £5500 and there are just 500 pieces available. Verdict; we still the Gulf Porsche racing colours is the best TAG Monaco of modern times. There, we said it.

More here. 

Bell+Ross Vintage VR-94 Has The Full Glow-Up

There’s lume, then there’s Superlume and finally, all over the dial lume. Some people really love it, and a used Timex Indiglo is one of the easiest watches to sell on eBay or Amazon at the right price. Why? It just makes telling the time at night, when you waken from some bizarre dream that much easier, and a whole lotta folk like that feature.

So the Bell+Ross Vinatge chronograph with a metal dial costed in C5 Superlume may well win some fans. It’s a 41mm case size watch, with sapphire glass, box-crystal on the front and a sapphire crystal on the see-thru caseback too. The dial has a bit of blue contrast lume on a sub-dial too. You can choose a yellow or green lume plus there’s a steel bracelt or tropic rubber strap option.

As you would expect from a Bell+Ross watch this has big numbers on the dial and a general aviation sort of feel. Inside you find an in-house BR calibre 301 movement, which is based on the ETA 2894 automatic movement. So reliability is guaranteed, as is ease of servicing by an Indie watchmaker. Those are all plus points but the downside is the price; £4300.

OK this is a limited edition of 250 pieces, but there are better value chronograph options out there with Swiss movements inside them, although they don’t have the all-over dial lume. For example you could buy an Omega Speedmaster 38 for £4300 and know that its resale value will always be at least £1000 better than any Bell+Ross model. Or you could buy a TAG Heuer F1 with its grey dial, bright yellow markers and hands option for £1700. Yes, it’s a quartz, but superbright dial day or night.

That also leaves you enough change to buy a Tudor Black Bay 58 from your £4300 budget. Nice.

 

TAG Carrera Tourbillon, With That Titanium Edge

TAG Heuer’s Carrera is an ever popular model and who wouldn’t like a deep blue tourbillon version? The limited edition is just 250 pieces and the watch also features a titanium bracelet. Inside it is a COSC rated, TAG in-house movement, and on the reverse there is a see-thru caseback with a stunning skeleton rotor on the automatic movement to catch the eye. Beautiful pushers too, we love the details on this beefy 45mm watch, which if you have a larger wrist is arguably the perfect case diameter.

For the first time, the Carrera Heuer 02T has a full dial with a blue sunray design creating the most beautiful effect, says TAG. Even the ceramic tachymetric bezel is finished in this cerulean blue with hypnotising reflections. The oscillating mass has been given a PVD coating so as not to be out of place in this azure composition.

Fitted with a 45 mm grade 5 titanium case, this chronograph has another surprise in store. Previously sporting alligator straps sewn on black rubber, or even just soft rubber, it dares to make the switch to this new model with a grade 2 titanium bracelet. That is a first! In addition to its lightness, this
material gives this Carrera Heuer 02T timepiece a sporty yet elegant look. This exceptional watch is priced at 20,500 Swiss francs. (approx £17,400)

More info here at the TAG website.

TAG Partners With Porsche on Ltd Edition Carrera Model

Well it’s taken about 50 years or so, but Porsche and TAG Heuer – or Heuer as it was – are finally official partners on limited edition watches, and of course it is the Carrera model. What else could it be?

See the TAG Heuer Porsche Carrera launch video here;

 

In the press video today, TAG explained that this is just the start of a partnership arrangement, so expect more models. How about an Autavia Le Mans, or perhaps a Gulf Porsche Monaco? We’re just bandying ideas around, we have no inside track at TAG!

Standard blue dial Carrera is one of our fave models in the TAG range. Just saying.

The launch Carrera in black features a striking Tarmac style dial plate, with that rippled blackness motorsport fans know only too well from watching at Silverstone, Assen or many other circuits. It also a red Porsche script etched into the bezel to set it apart from the sister Carerra Chronograph range. On the dial you will immediately notice the bold Porsche dashboard style minute numbers, which seem to lift slightly from the asphalt style dial plate.

Yep, no hour markers, just minutes. We like that.

Inside the 44mm case you’ll find a TAG Cal.02 movement, with no upgrades or tweaks from the sister Carrera model. But an 80 hour power reserve is class-leading at this price point. Sapphire crystal of course, plus a choice of leather strap model at £4865, or steel bracelet at bang on 5K.

Verdict; A future classic without doubt even if five grand for a TAG does seem a bit tasty. More here. 

Best Of The UK Watch Sales

If you haven’t got the watch you wanted for Christmas, or just fancy picking up a bargain, then there are plenty of Sale wristwatches around right now. In fact many brands started their online sales early because of the endless lockdowns, but here are some interesting offers we spotted online today. For the sake of clarity, we aren’t covering Michael Kors, Armani, Hugo Boss, Daniel Wellington or a ton of other fashion brands – why? Because they mostly they aren’t really collectable.

So what did we spot?

CW Sellors are a specialist watch retailer and their Sale has some interesting items amongst stuff like Bell + Ross, Maurice Lacroix, Montblanc, Bremont and Raymond Weil. Now you can buy any of those brands if you love the watch and they are beautifully built of course. But if you’re looking to get more than about 25% of the retail price back when it’s trade-in time, then think again. You can love a RW Freelancer, or a Bell + Ross BR diver but you will see many of thse watches gathering dust in watch dealerships or pawnbroker’s windows. So buy it because you want to wear it every day and the retailer has knocked a grand off the RRP!

TAG HEUER Formula 1 Automatic

Only a £150 discount on this automatic Calibre 6 powered TAG but it’s solid value at £1350. You get a decent 38 hour power reserve, date window, superlume and of course a sapphire crystal. It isn’t cutting edge, but neither is this a watch that you have to apologise for, or explain who the brand is to your mates – everyone knows TAG. That also means that if you look after it then you can PX it at 100s of outlets in five years time. Handy.

TUTIMA SAXON ONE M

It’s a leftfield choice and you may end up losing a bundle on the Tutima name, as not many people know about it – or that it’s been revived. Using movements made in-house at Glashutte, the modern Tutima watches are really back home where they were being manufactured before the Cold War happened and the Iron Curtain came down. So it’s a quality, well built automatic, with a 38 hour reserve, day/date dial and available in a maroon dial option, which is something different. With a over 500 quid off the RRP this is worth considering at £1190 because we are now into entry level Swiss watch territory. At that money, this Tutima is worth the gamble.

BREITLING AVIATOR CHRONOGRAPH

How does almost two grand off the price of a Breitling grab you? Yeah, that made you spray your coffee all over that back issue of QP magazine didn’t it? This is another great deal at CW Sellors site and it’s a Breitling with a dial that isn’t too busy with 200 numbers, plus has those classic 70s style chrono pushers. This one is £4361, which compares to a £6200 price tag at Mappin & Webb.

BULOVA GENTS STEEL AUTOMATIC

This classic gents Bulova automatic is everyday value. Owned by Citizen the Bulova brand obviously shares some movement tech and that’s no bad thing we say. This one looks like a run-out model, basically last year’s stock but you’re getting a watch that retailed for £400-£500 new for £185. Not bad at all. This deal is at H Samuel by the way and the Archive Oceanographer retro 70s model is also available for £249.

IWC PORTUGIESIER YACHT CLUB

Goldsmiths have reductions on some TAG, Omega and IWC models, and those brands DO have some re-sale kudos. OK, you may not want the words Yacht Club on your watch dial, it is a bit Sleeping With The Enemy we admit, but this beefy, 44mm case chrono has a bold, striking style that’s obviously IWC, which is a good thing. It also has an in-house movement, (see-thru caseback) which almost justifies the 10K price tag. But with a price of £8063 it looks a bit more tempting if you’re still on the Rolex waiting list and want something right now, that is genuinely prestige. The IWC Pilot’s Top Gun model is £7570 on the Goldsmiths site too by the way.