There are all-terrain watches and then there is the Aquaracer. For decades, Swiss horological icon TAG Heuer’s premier dive watch range has captivated fans with its bold styling and rugged durability, and for good reason. From the signature uni-directional rotating bezel to the trademark legibility, the robust lineup has become every bit as iconic to the TAG Heuer name as the much loved Carrera or Monaco. But even classics aren’t immune to correction. In 2021, the brand announced a complete overhaul of its flagship series, unveiling the most ambitious Aquaracer 300 since its debut in 2004. Now, hot on the heels of that inspired upgrade, TAG Heuer is continuing to breathe new life into the collection, unveiling what could be the brand’s most versatile dive watch ever.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200
Unveiled in La Chaux-de-Fonds this week, the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 takes a bold new approach to the high-functioning sports watch category. Landing somewhere between pavement pounder and all-terrain tool, the latest release is undoubtedly banking on versatility as a drawcard, and by all accounts, it works.
Available with either a 40mm or 30mm stainless steel case, TAG Heuer has characteristically adorned each model with a uni-directional rotating bezel with twelve facets and water resistance to 200 metres, but there is one major upgrade that comes out of the blue. Well, 11 to be specific. In a stark departure from its 300 Series big brother, the new 40mm Aquaracer Professional 200 is available in two automatic and two quartz references while the 30mm has two automatics and five quartz options, each of which alters the watch’s layout and functionality.
More specifically, automatics are distinguished by their fumé gradient dials, date windows, Super-LumiNova sweeping seconds hands, and more detailed minute tracks. The quartz models, on the other hand, have no date and a more contemporary, minimalist aesthetic, while otherwise retaining the same design and technical characteristics. Best of all, in a nod to TAG Heuer’s new spirit of adventure, every new Aquaracer Professional 200 reference case back is engraved with a compass, replacing the scaphander diving helmet that has featured on Aquaracer since 2002.
“With both the automatic and quartz versions, we’ve played on the theme of elegance, giving the watch a narrower bezel, longer indexes, and stronger markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12,” Guy Bove, TAG Heuer creative director said. “It’s more of a street watch in the sense that it’s more elegant and refined, and something you might more readily consider wearing with a suit. That’s why we gave the automatics a fumé dial.”
The Family Connection
Looking at the new explorer watch, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to its much-loved 43mm Aquaracer Professional 300 predecessor. Both dive watches build on the adventurous nature first outlined in the Heuer Reference 844 back in 1978, headlined by the family’s trademark rotating bezel, screw-down crown, water resistance, luminous markings, sapphire crystal, and a double safety clasp, albeit with a slightly more contemporary feel.
In fact, many of the improvements plugged by TAG Heuer last year with the Aquaracer 300 have made a welcome return to the fray. The bezel design has been improved, the bracelet has been slimmed down and the riders from previous generation Aquaracer bezels have been removed. But that’s where the similarities end.
Sleeker by design, the Aquaracer Professional 200 cops straight-edged, trapezoidal hour markers, sleeker sword-shaped hands and crisp white detailing, giving a more professional aesthetic than the traditional sports-watch orientated 300 Series. Similarly, the hour markers and hands are still coated with Super-LumiNova, but TAG Heuer has dropped the luminescent material on the bezel to create a more sartorial look. In a way, the odd blend of influences seem in opposition to one another, but the contrast merely adds to the piece’s unique character and versatility. While many watches claim to be as comfortable in the office as they are in the outdoors, the Aquaracer Professional 200 lives and breathes the notion.
The New Spirit of Adventure
There’s something to be said for tinkering with tradition. Rarely encouraged and often ridiculed by the watch community, change is not always for the better, but TAG Heuer is taking a subtle approach to reinvention. Rugged enough to tackle the fierce conditions of the Alps and refined enough to make a lasting impression in the boardroom, the new Aquaracer Professional 200 is an adventure watch hidden in plain sight.
The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 starts from AUD$2,800 for the 40mm quartz and $4,000 for the 40mm automatic variation and is available at TAGHeuer.com and TAG Heuer Boutiques.