Tag Heuer Completely Reimagined the Aquaracer for 2021

Nick Sullivan
·3-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

Welcome to Dialed In, Esquire's column bringing you horological happenings and the most essential news from the watch world since March 2020. This week, we're working with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie as Media Partner of Watches and Wonders Geneva. Visit Watches and Wonders' website for news and video panels daily, and keep checking back here for all the updates you need to know about.

The Aquaracer has been a commercial mainstay of Tag Heuer鈥檚 collection since 2004, although the brand has been making professional dive watches since the reference 844 in the late 1970s. This week, the Aquaracer got a major redesign with mainstream production pieces (available to buy now for delivery in June) and a number of special editions that made it both more angular and dressier at the same time. On the dressy side, it's slimmer and lighter, with angled lugs, so it will sit lower on all sizes of wrist. Refinements to the steel case include chamfering it to further mitigate its robust 43mm size. That said, the 43 is joined for the first time by a 36mm watch (about $200 cheaper)鈥攕omething of a new trend this week. (By our reckoning, two鈥檚 a trend but three is a tsunami. We will update if we spot another one.)

What鈥檚 most noticeable about the Aquaracer鈥檚 updated aesthetic is its reliance on a new geometry. It鈥檚 all about the angles, with multiple polyhedrons appearing all over the shop. On the dial (options include black, blue, or silver), deeply engraved horizontal lines catch the light and suggest the waves of the ocean. Over the top, the once round raised markers are now octagonal, while the narrower bezel is a dodecagon (that's twelve sides, if you have wiped high school geometry from the memory), meaning one facet for every five minutes. That shape鈥攁nd the knurled edges鈥攎ake the unidirectional bezel easier to grip with diving gloves on. On the caseback, the engraved deep sea diver helmet that appeared on the first 2004 Aquaracer is reimagined on a dodecagonal background and with a dodecagonal face plate.

The redesigned steel bracelet comes with up to 15mm of expansion room, partly in a nod to divers needing to wear the watch over their wetsuits, and mostly a nifty way to make the watch more comfortable in the summer months when heat tends to make the wrist swell enough to make a fixed setting uncomfortable. All of these design tweaks mean a watch thoroughly revitalized for 2021, with a definite lean towards the elegant and multipurpose. A slimmer watch is easier to slide under a cuff when in more dressed-up mode鈥攊f any of us can remember what that is.

Alongside the main range, Tag Heuer also created a special edition, called the Tribute to Heuer 844 (available for pre-order now and delivery in September). Limited to 844 pieces, it is the only watch in the new range in grade 5 titanium and with a flat black dial. Twenty-four hour markings in red and vintage orange lume hark back to the original watch of 1978 and give a vintage flavor.

And in a second case of Tag Heuer being bang on trend for the week, another 43mm special edition watch is on offer (and, like the main production version, available to buy now for delivery in June), this time in grade 2 sandblasted titanium and decorated with ceramic bezel and dial in a kelpy green color that is one of the more evident trends in watch novelties from Geneva.

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