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The New TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 Limited Edition


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(Above pic from A Blog to Watch)

 

 

“We are conscious of the fact that, today, Carrera and Monaco are probably having more attention - collectors and watch specialists get more excited with these watches. It’s one of the reasons for this launch. I believe there are great stories to tell with the Aquaracer and its whole history. We have a strong legitimacy in that segment and we are also looking at repositioning it so it’s more high-end than in the past.”

“At TAG Heuer we don’t believe too much in the strict revival of historic watches. I believe, personally, much more in taking inspiration from specific references and good designs but blending them with modern techniques and also modern codes of design to build a new watch - but one that resonates with the past.”

(Above two statements by TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault, quoted by Burton, Charlie, 2021)

 

TAG Heuer has recently launched a new range of core dive watches that riff on the roots of the Aquaracer dive watch without becoming bogged down in a desire to re-create a vintage model. In addition to seven versions of this core diver, TAG have also launched a related single model limited edition, named the “Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 Limited Edition”, and it is this particular watch that I have chosen to review here. Although the seven varieties of production Aquaracer Professional 300 are closely related to this limited edition model, especially the four versions sporting 43 mm cases, the tribute watch visibly takes its inspiration more directly from Heuer’s first out-and-out dive watch, Ref. 844, launched in 1978. This late seventies' diver, produced partly as a means of diversifying the brand to counter the effects of the Quartz Crisis, proved to be a great success and spawned a dynasty of Heuer divers; the Aquaracer name itself was not used until 2004.

 

Before reviewing the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 Limited Edition, I summarize here below the new series of Aquaracer Professional 300 dive watches, including the limited edition tribute model:

 Reference Number              Case diameter                       Details                                                                

WBP201B.BA0632                 43 mm            Lined pattern blue dial/Steel case

WBP201A.BA0632                43 mm             Lined pattern black dial/Steel case

WBP208B.BF0631                 43 mm             Lined pattern green dial/Titanium case and bracelet

WBP201C.BA0632                43 mm              Lined patterns ilver dial/Steel case

WBP208C.FT6021                 43 mm              Grained matt black dial/Titanium case/Limited edition

WBP231D.BA0626                36 mm              Rippled pattern black dial/Steel case

WBP231C.BA0626                36 mm              Rippled pattern silver dial/Steel case

WBP231B.BA0618                36 mm               Rippled pattern blue dial/Steel case/Diamond hour markers

 

 The new limited edition tribute Aquaracer, of which 844 pieces will be made, can be seen as a bridge between the original Ref. 844 dive watch and the seven new core Aquaracer divers. Indeed, although TAG Heuer has a philosophy of not pandering to buyers who want deliberate recreations of classic designs, the firm has gone some way to do just that with the limited edition tribute to Ref. 844. Unlike the other watches in the Aquaracer Professional 300 range, the limited edition tribute has a (heavily) grained matt black dial, faux tanned lume, a red 24-hour scale on the dial, and a vintage-effect rubber strap (along with a full bracelet) - all passing nods to the past. In other respects the limited edition model has very similar specifications to its unlimited counterparts, especially the 43 mm versions, in the new Aquaracer Professional 300 line-up. So, let us look at those specifications here.

 

 

 

The new Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 Limited Edition on the right, with the original Ref. 844 dive watch for comparison (pic from Hodingkee):

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In terms of the shape, profile and choice of finish in the new 43 mm Aquaracer Professional 300 watches, including the limited edition tribute model reviewed here, a useful analysis comes from Lorentzen (2021) in “A Blog to Watch”, as follows:

 

“The 43mm case of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional series is still instantly recognizable as an Aquaracer, but substantially refines the look over previous generations. The overall design is still angular and modern, with traditionally curved forms translated into flat planes and abrupt corners. Where this new case really sets itself apart from its predecessors is through the case sides, where the fully polished flat surface has been changed to a brushed finish with a wide polished chamfer running from lug to lug. This breaks up the case sides visually and ctreates the illusion of a thinner case profile in images, although the actual case thickness is only marginally reduced by 0.35mm to 12.2mm overall. Like with last year’s revised Carrera Sport Chronograph, many of the geometric changes here are designed to make the large-on-paper 43 mm diameter wear more compact than the numbers suggest, and a large component of this is the new lug geometry. In addition to the slimming addition of the chamfer, the lugs themselves are markedly shorter than the previous generation, which will likely lead to a more compact footprint on the wrist for most wearers.”

 

The Aquaracer limited edition tribute watch features the classic black and silver-grey metal (grade 5 titanium rather than steel in this watch) colour combination most frequently associated with dive watches, and the Aquaracer signature 12-sided bezel has been retained. To improve grip and appearance, the rotating bezel is now fully coin-edged, and in keeping with modern developments, the bezel insert is now ceramic and has a more elegant font. Consistent with the full name of the watch, water resistance is at a stated 300 metres, and the caseback is in solid titanium decorated with a twelve sided central image of a diving helmet.

 

 

 

 

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(Above pic from Escapement Magazine)

 

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(Above three pics from Monochrome Watches)

 

 

 

Returning to the front view of the watch, we have a main handset comprising a short fat sword hour hand and a long sword minute hand, plus a sweep; all the hands are lumed with “old radium” Super-Luminova. It is notable that compared with the previous Aquaracer, the dial has been “decluttered” somewhat, partly by the new handset but also by the novel use of eight somewhat small octagonal applied hour markers, with bevelled wedge-shaped markers for the 12, 3, and 9 o’clock positions. The applied wedge marker at the 6 o’clock position has been truncated to make room for a date window at that position, which is accompanied by a circular magnifying window in the anti-reflective-coated sapphire crystal. All the hour markers are lumed with the faux radium Super-Luminova, and in furtherance of the tradition of the vintage Ref. 844, there is a “military style” inner ring of red hour numerals for 13 - 24 positioned on the dial. Note that in darkness, the lume is green and blue, with the blue lume being on the bezel, minute hand and sweep second hand.

 

 

 

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(Above pic from Hodingkee)

 

13-WW-TAG-Heuer-2021.thumb.jpg.f6989459500d7404f7c2f50d88369d02.jpg

(Above pic from Revolution Watch)

 

 

 

The new range of Aquaracer Professional 300 watches, including the limited edition tribute to the Ref. 844, is powered by the Caliber 5 automatic movement, which is based on the ETA calibre 2824-2. The Caliber 5 has been in production for some considerable time, partly because it is a solid choice - reliable and easily maintained, albeit with what are now somewhat unremarkable performance specs that include a 42-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vph.

The Aquaracer tribute limited edition is paired with a vintage style perforated rubber strap which has decorative octagonal holes for “ventilation” and a clasp that allows for fine adjustment.  Note that one review I have read indicates that the tribute limited edition watch is also supplied with a metal bracelet; the three-link metal bracelets of refreshed design for all the Aquaracer Professional 300 watches now have a clasp that can be micro-adjusted while the watch is on the wrist and which provides up to 1.5 cm of extension. The Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 Limited Edition is priced at £3,600/US$4,350 and can be pre-ordered now for a September market launch. The unlimited versions of the Aquaracer Professional 300 - both 36 mm and 43 mm cases - are apparently for launch on the market this month, and apart from the green titanium 43 mm version all of these are considerably less expensive than the limited edition tribute watch.

 

 

 

 

2021-tag-heuer-aquaracer-300m-44.thumb.jpeg.b43e82baae15122a1ddd50c0f5880b80.jpeg

2021-tag-heuer-aquaracer-300m-3.thumb.jpeg.e81e0067f351bd722a304fcc4602740c.jpeg

2021-tag-heuer-aquaracer-300m-42.thumb.jpeg.62cb9fc912903762b262b24bd0d51341.jpeg

(Above three pics from Calibre 11)

a80b98e7-tag_heuer_aquaracer-31.-wbp208c.ft6201-1024x768.thumb.jpg.3ec212b699415d1358e6cc73804d3d7c.jpg

(Above pic from Watch I Love)

 

This review is about the limited edition tribute Aquaracer Professional 300, and I am trying to stick to reviewing that particular watch rather than invade the territory held by the rest of the new Aquaracer Professional 300 series. This is something of a relief for me because I am not too keen on the unlimited versions of the Aquaracer Professional 300. For me personally, the limited edition tribute watch is the only model in the series that I could contemplate purchasing. It is not perfect, however: the watch is rather angular and a little “polygon-mad” with its 12-sided bezel, octagonal dial markers and octagonal strap holes; the case diameter seems a little on the large size, with no alternatives, at least for the moment; and the watch could do without the cyclops date magnifier. I am also not generally a fan of faux-aged lume. Nevertheless, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 Limited Edition makes a good fist at blending vintage looks with modern styling and function, and with its plain grained black dial in the mix, the watch has the presence in its own right of being something of a classic.

 

References in the Text

Burton, Charlie, “Depth Charge!”, GQ Magazine, July 2021.

Lorentzen, Sean, “TAG Heuer Announces Aquaracer Professional 300 Watch Series”, A Blog to Watch, 7 April 2021.

 

 

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tag dont seem to get much right these days do they ... top of the list of faux pas is the cyclops , no need to go any further really. :oops:could be worse though , it could be brass/bronze cased :laughing2dw: 

 

not a patch on my 2000 - and certainly not a super professional ... 

Edited by Rotundus
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Thanks Honor good review

I can see they have tried to differentiate the watch from many others out there, at first I though "oh no, what have they done" but after thinking about it for a while I have decided I quite like the new watch.

The dodecagon bezel looks good and I like the case design, it doesn't overpower the watch. The dial; I like the date window at 6 and don't mind a cyclops, a no-date option would be good though. The octagon hour markers, initial reaction was no, but studying the live pictures again I have come around to thinking they work. The hand set is much better than the original as I have never been a big fan of cathedral hands on a dive watch, they are like a cross between paddle and sword hands :hmmm9uh:

 

 

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