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TAG Heuer has updated its Aquaracer with the Aquaracer Professional 300, a collection that reshapes the brand’s dive watch with thinner cases, wider hour hands, shorter lugs and newly fluted ceramic bezels.

 

And look for seven full-line references in two sizes (43mm and 36mm) in the new collection. All but one of the new Aquaracer 300 Professional models will be cased in steel (with blue, black or silver dials) while one collection (with a green-dial) will be made using a titanium case.

All told, four of the new references will have a 43mm case diameter, and three will feature a case measuring 36mm, with one of the smaller size models sporting diamond hour markers.  An eight model is a titanium-cased limited edition celebrating the 1978 watch that led to the Aquaracer collection.

Fluted bezel

TAG Heuer has updated nearly all the characteristics that TAG Heuer has deemed essential for every Aquaracer since 1983. Since that year watches in the collection have included a unidirectional rotating bezel, a screw-down crown, water resistance to at least 200 meters, luminous markings, a sapphire glass and a double safety clasp.

For the new models, TAG Heuer started its update by adjusting Aquaracer’s twelve-sided bezel.

In addition to adding scratch-resistant ceramic inserts in the bezel, as noted above, TAG Heuer has fluted the bezel’s trademark twelve facets for a quicker grip when the bezel needs to be turned. When turning the bezel, the user might note smoother action because TAG Heuer has also re-engineered the bezel’s internal teeth so they mesh with less resistance. Also note the new engraved minutes scale just inside the bezel.

All eight hour markers are now actually lume-filled octagons on the dials of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300.

Also new is an integrated magnifier, now positioned into the underside of the glass, over the date at 6 o’clock. Not only does the new position maintain an uninterrupted, flat sapphire crystal, but it also makes the date easier to read from wider angles.

Distinctive dials

TAG Heuer has also taken the shape of the bezel directly onto the dial. All eight hour markers are now actually lume-filled octagons. Similarly, a new twelve-sided crown has been added, matching the twelve-sided bezel. This helps maintain a design consistency, and confers a pleasing symmetry to the new Aquaracer.

But TAG Heuer didn’t stop at the markers. Note that the hour hand is wider with a more distinctive sword shape. Longtime fans might recognize it from the last of the TAG Heuer 2000 Series from 2004. However, TAG Heuer has narrowed, very slightly, the width of the minute hand to create a clearer distinction between the two hands.

Note the green and blue lume on the dial of the Aquaracer Professional 300.

 

The hands are further differentiated by luminosity hue, with green SuperLumiNova on the hour hand (and hour markers) and blue SuperLumiNova for the minute and seconds hands. The crown protection has been re-made as well. It’s now more rounded, echoing that first Ref. 844 from 1978.

If the central section of the dial looks familiar, it is. But it’s also different. TAG Heuer has kept Aquaracer’s familiar engraved dials with horizontal lines, but on the 43mm models those lines are set a bit further apart. The blue 36 mm model also has eight diamond hour markers and polished central bracelet links

Case study

Finally, as noted earlier, TAG Heuer has slimmed the case, bezel and metal bracelet, and shortened the lugs, without affecting the watch’s essential utility and performance. All models will maintain their full 300 meters of water resistance.

On the back of the new Aquaracer Professional 300 TAG Heuer again portrays an image of the same diving suit that first appeared on the Aquaracer caseback in 2004, but with a slight update. The helmet is more angular on the new collection, and the faceplate is twelve-sided, echoing the watch’s bezel shape.

The helmet on the new Aquaracer Professional 300 caseback is more angular, and the faceplate is twelve-sided, echoing the watch’s bezel shape.

Finally, each new reference features a new integrated metal bracelet equipped with a newer fine adjustment system that can extend or reduce the bracelet length by up to 1.5 centimeters.

Prices for the new Aquaracer Professional 300 start at $2,800 (36mm with black or white dial) and rise to $4,200 (43mm titanium model with green dial).

Limited Edition

In addition to launching seven new ongoing models within the Aquaracer Professional 300 collection, TAG Heuer is adding a limited edition titanium-cased watch in tribute to the Heuer Ref. 844, a diver’s watch released in 1978 that presaged the Aquaracer collection.

The Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 is a tribute to original model from 1978.

That watch featured a dial design with a red 24-hour scale, prominent lume-filled hour markers and a rotating divers’ bezel with a minutes scale. The new tribute, called the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844, is cased in Grade 5 titanium with visual elements from the archive piece. These include a flat black dial and a red 24-hour scale, originally intended as a quick conversion chart for divers.

The tribute watch also features vintage-hued luminescent material on its dial and arrives with a black perforated rubber strap that echoes the strap sold on the original. But here, TAG Heuer has made the perforations octagonal to maintain the new Aquaracer design code.

Only 844 examples of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844 will be made. TAG Heuer’s ETA-based (or Sellita-based) Caliber 5 automatic movement powers all eight references in the new Aquaracer Professional 300 collection. Price of the tribute model: $4,350.

 

TAG Heuer this week expands its offerings within the Carrera Heuer 02T collection with a new limited edition cased in polished titanium and sporting a blue sunray dial.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Caliber Heuer 02T COSC.

Where previous Carrera Heuer 02T models feature darkened, skeletonized dials, sometimes with gold accents, this latest design is lighter-toned and with a sportier solid dial and – for the first time – a titanium bracelet.

You may recall that five years ago TAG Heuer launched the flying tourbillon chronograph movement inside this watch as the brand’s serialized ‘affordable’ tourbillon chronograph watch, priced around $16,000.

Now powering this newest watch, the Caliber Heuer 02T is still TAG Heuer’s primary tourbillon caliber and retains all its high-end technical features, notably an ultra-light carbon and titanium tourbillon cage and integration with a column-wheel chronograph. TAG Heuer is likely the sole Swiss watchmaker to offer this combination of chronograph, flying tourbillon and COSC-chronometer precision within the full collection’s price range, now starting at around $17,000.    

 

Here TAG Heuer has blued not only the full dial, but also the bridges of the tourbillon cage, the rubber that protects the crown and the pushers. Even the ceramic tachymeter bezel and the rotor (visible from the back of the case) are finished in blue.

 

With this watch TAG Heuer for the first time connects one of its Caliber 02T models to a bracelet. Where earlier models sported rubber straps or alligator sewn on black rubber, the new Carrera Heuer 02T features the watchmaker’s own titanium H-shape bracelet with a steel/titanium safety clasp.

The TAG Heuer Caliber Heuer 02T features an ultra-light carbon and titanium tourbillon cage.

Price: $21,500 and limited to 250 examples.

 

Specifications: TAG Heuer 
Carrera Caliber Heuer 02T COSC

(Reference CAR5A8C.BF0707)

Movement: Caliber Heuer 02T COSC with carbon and titanium tourbillon cage, column-wheel chronograph.

Case: 45mm polished and brushed titanium, ceramic blue polished tachymeter fixed bezel, 
domed, beveled sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, water resistant to 100 meters. Crown with blue rubber and titanium, titanium pushers, titanium screwed sapphire case back with special engraving, limited numbered xxx/250.

Dial: Blue sunray brushed with three rhodium-plated and polished counters, white SuperLuminova Rhodium-plated polished hour and minute hands.

Strap: Titanium grade 2 H-shape bracelet, titanium and steel folding clasp with double safety push buttons; TAG Heuer shield.

Price: $21,500.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02T features a titanium H-shape bracelet with a steel/titanium safety clasp.

TAG Heuer and Porsche, which share deep ties to the world of auto racing, expand their collaboration this week with the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph, the first TAG Heuer watch that pairs imagery from the two brands.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph
 Special Edition 44 mm Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic.

The new watch adds a host of Porsche automotive references to TAG Heuer’s recent, well-received Carrera Sport Chronograph design. Most noticeable is TAG Heuer’s widespread use of the Porsche dashboard font on both the bezel of the new watch and to denote the watch’s primary indexes, which are numbered to echo a speedometer. TAG Heuer also places the Porsche name prominently, in red, at the top of the bezel.

Furthermore, TAG Heuer utilizes red, black, and grey colors prominently on the new watch, echoing Porsche’s frequent use of the same hues. On the watch’s Caliber Heuer 02 automatic movement, TAG Heuer also places the names ‘Porsche’ and ‘TAG Heuer’ on the rotor, which is visible through the sapphire caseback.

Furthermore, TAG Heuer colors the dial to mimic asphalt in order to emphasize a ‘passion for the road,” according to the brand.  

TAG Heuer has collaborated with Porsche on a variety of ventures for decades, most recently since 2014 with the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team and on the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This year we’ll see series partnerships in ten editions of the worldwide one-make cup series Porsche Carrera Cup. TAG Heuer also engages in virtual racing by supporting the Porsche TAG Heuer E-sports Supercup.

Both companies are set to expand their collaborations. Porsche, for example, is running its own golf activities like the Porsche Golf Cup, and since 2015 has sponsored the Porsche European Open golf tournament. TAG Heuer has announced that it will join both these events. 

The watch will be sold on a calf leather strap with Porsche-style stitching, or on an interlocking race-style steel bracelet. TAG Heuer will deliver the Carrera Porsche Chronograph in packaging with a black watch box that features the logos of TAG Heuer and Porsche in white. Inside the box is a black travel pouch that boasts a Porsche red interior.

Price: $5,850 (leather strap) and $6,050 (steel bracelet).

Specifications:  TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph
 Special Edition 44 mm Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic

References: CBN2A1F.FC6492 (leather strap) and CBN2A1F.BA0643 (steel bracelet)

Movement: Caliber Heuer 02 automatic chronograph with 80-hour power reserve, vertical clutch and column wheel.

Case: 44 mm steel polished, fine brushed; ceramic black tachymeter fixed bezel, Porsche inscription. 
Domed and beveled sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment. Steel crown at 3 o’clock with red accent. 
Steel screw-down sapphire case back with special engraving
. Water resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Grey asphalt color with three black chronograph counters. Black gold plated applied indexes with white SuperLuminova rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with white SuperLuminova rhodium-plated central hand w/red tip. 
TAG Heuer applied logo, 
date at 6 o’clock.

Strap/Bracelet: 
Embossed black calf leather strap with hand stitching; calf skin black lining and steel folding clasp with double safety push-buttons (on reference CBN2A1F.FC6492), or steel H-shape bracelet with steel folding clasp with double safety push-buttons (on reference 
CBN2A1F.BA0643)

Price: $5,850 (leather strap) and $6,050 (steel bracelet).

 

By Marc Frankel

It goes without saying that Dive Watches are one of the most popular styles of men’s watches sold today. But what many don’t know is that invoking the “dive” moniker actually has legal implications. Writing the word “Divers 200M” or any similar mark with “Diver” written on the dial or case back immediately invokes ISO 6425. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an international body that writes standards for the commercial industry.

Before we get into ISO 6425, let’s talk about dive watches first. In modern times, very few SCUBA divers actually rely exclusively on a wristwatch while underwater. As an example, my own dive master had a beautiful Rolex Submariner on his wrist during classroom lessons, but once we hit the water, the Rolex was replaced with a dive computer.

The newest Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU features 600 meters of water resistance, enhanced shock resistance and strong anti-magnetic properties.

Pre-computer

Before the advent of these modern and multi-function computers, divers relied on their mechanical watches to keep track of the key data points of total time submerged as well as bottom time in order to calculate residual nitrogen in the blood, and determine when, how many, and how long decompression stops should be if needed.

The dive watch, in this case, was performing a critical function, where a malfunction could spell disaster for the diver. This is why the ISO spec was developed, because dive watches were so critically important as instruments that protected the user’s health and safety. Today the analog dive watch continues to be worn while diving, but is more of a fashionable backup in the unlikely case the computer fails.

The Seiko Prospex SPB189 features a silicone strap or a titanium bracelet with super-hard coating and tri-fold push button release clasp with secure lock and extender. 

ISO 6425 is a rigorous specification titled “Horology – Divers’ watches” that supersedes older specs first released in the mid 1990s. In essence, it spells out what qualities a Dive Watch must have, and the methods with which to test them.

ISO Tests

Among the tests that ISO 6425 calls for includes, but is not limited to; temperature extremes, day and night visibility, magnetic resistance, salt spray, shock resistance and of course, water resistance. Obviously, we all expect water resistance to be one of the parameters checked. However, since water resistance is so important to the function of the dive watch, the actual pressure (depth) to which the watch is tested is 25% beyond the stated water resistance limit of a particular watch.

The Ulysse Nardin Diver X Nemo Point limited edition.

For example, a dive watch rated to 200 meters (20atm) is actually tested to 250 meters in order to meet ISO 6425.  And it’s not a dry air test. It is a true wet test, with a follow up condensation test to see if any moisture has found its way into the watchcase.

Furthermore, ISO 6425 states that EVERY watch certified to the spec needs to have its own water resistance individually tested. This means that if you are wearing a watch bearing the “Divers” mark on the dial or case back, that particular watch has been tested to 25% beyond the depth stated on the dial. Not a sample, but the very piece you are wearing. This is the ONLY way to ensure it will perform flawlessly under the stresses of diving.

The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition.

On my YouTube channel I discuss ISO in detail in my Watch and Learn series. In addition to water resistance, another ISO test that was actually quite fun to perform was the requirement that the strap needs to withstand about forty pounds of pull (simulating getting snagged on something) without the spring bars popping or tearing the strap itself. It was a great test to replicate, and the results were pretty eye opening.

One of several new models within the Torgoen T43 Diver watch collection.

So the next time you see the word “Dive” on watch dial, you’ll know that you are looking at an individually proven and tested dive watch that meets or exceeds the ISO 6425 quality standard!

Thank you for reading, and thank you for watching.

Marc Frankel, Video Editor, About Time

Founder, Long Island Watch

 

 

During the 1970s Jack Heuer presented 18-karat gold Heuer Carreras to Ferrari Formula 1 drivers during the watchmaker’s partnership with Ferrari. TAG Heuer this week revives the decades-old ‘good luck’ gesture by introducing a new gold Carrera, offering 188 of them as a limited edition to the non-racing general public.

The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Jack Heuer Birthday Gold Limited Edition.

The gold-cased debut, known as the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Jack Heuer Birthday Gold Limited Edition, echoes the racing theme of the original gold series (model 1158CHN) with two black, sunray brushed chronograph subdials at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

The new watch, at right, echoes the style of the 1970s chronograph, reference 1158CHN, offered to Ferrari racecar drivers.

But TAG Heuer has also applied a few new accents to the retro-inspired chronograph. Most notable are the stylized infinity loops to the center of the dial symbolizing Jack Heuer’s 88th birthday and the subtle seconds counter at 6 o’clock. TAG Heuer also updated the date display and the hands, which have been resized to match the hour markers. TAG Heuer has also attached a black alligator strap bearing Jack Heuer’s signature in gold lettering.

Why stop?

TAG Heuer has equipped the new watch with the estimable Caliber Heuer 02 manufacture movement with a column wheel, vertical clutch and an impressive power reserve of eighty hours.

The watch’s oscillating mass is engraved with Jack Heuer’s motto “Time never stops, why should we?”

From the back of the watch, the one-hundred eighty-eight owners of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Jack Heuer Birthday Gold Limited Edition will see the caliber’s oscillating mass engraved with Jack Heuer’s motto “Time never stops, why should we?”

Jack Heuer, former Heuer CEO and current TAG Heuer Honorary Chairman.

“I’m very touched that TAG Heuer reimagined my favorite watch for my birthday,” says Jack Heuer, TAG Heuer’s Honorary Chairman. “It reminds me of many dear friends and thrilling years on the race track. I will wear it with pride and look forward to seeing it on the wrist of new generations of daring characters as well.”

Look for the watch in TAG Heuer boutiques and online in February 2021. Can’t wait? TAG Heuer is taking pre-orders now.

Price: $18,450.

 

Specifications: TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Jack Heuer Birthday Gold Limited Edition

(Reference: CBN2041.FC8306)

Movement: Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic chronograph with column-wheel, vertical clutch and 80-hours of power reserve. 

Case: 42 mm polished and fine-brushed rose gold, beveled, domed sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment, rose gold screw-down sapphire caseback with special numbered limited-edition engraving, water resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Opaline with silver flange and 3 counters:
– 3 o’clock: black “azurage” minute chronograph counter, rose-gold-colored polished hand
– 6 o’clock: permanent second, rose-gold-colored polished hand
– 9 o’clock: black “azurage” hour chronograph counter, rose-gold-colored polished hand
Rose-gold-colored polished applied indexes with white Super-LumiNova, rose-gold-colored polished TAG Heuer applied logo, date display, CARRERA Heuer 02 80 Hours printed on the dial

 Strap: Black alligator leather with black lining, rose gold pin buckle, TAG Heuer logo.

Price: $18,450. The watch is a limited edition of 188 pieces.

 

TAG Heuer answered collector requests for a new black-dialed Monaco last week when it debuted the Monaco Chronograph 39 Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic, the first new black-dialed Monaco in a decade. And to enhance the offering, which also includes a new blue-dialed model, the watchmaker builds the newest Monaco with its in-house Caliber Heuer 02 automatic movement and pairs both with an all-new steel bracelet.

The newest Monaco, the TAG HeuerMonaco Chronograph 39 Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic.

These two new Monacos, with the same black-dialed model also matched to a new black alligator leather strap, are meant to continue the brand’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Monaco, which began in 2019.

The new blue and black watches feature dials that have been sunray brushed and configured with a familiar three-register layout with square, silvered hour and minute chronograph subdials. On both models, the running seconds indicator is marked by a simple crosshair pattern.

New bracelet

For many, the new bracelet will likely be as welcomed as the new black dial. Monaco hasn’t seen a fully new steel bracelet update in two decades. The new bracelet, which echoes the design of the H-shaped bracelet Heuer used on the Monaco in the early 1970s, features wider lugs than the earlier models and tapers a bit more around the wrist. It’s held with a new butterfly clasp.

“The bracelet is particularly important for any wristwatch – without a good bracelet, the timepiece lacks desirability,” says TAG Heuer’s Heritage Director, Catherine Eberlé-Devaux. “For the new Monaco timepieces, we have alluded to its brilliant past with a familiar design and color while reinforcing that the collection is moving forward with innovative new technology.”

TAG Heuer fits all three new editions with the excellent in-house manufacture Caliber Heuer 02, an automatic movement with a vertical clutch, column wheel and an impressive eighty-hour power reserve.

With a few exceptions, regular collection Monaco chronographs in recent years had been set with ETA-based Caliber 12 or Sellita-based Caliber 11.   

Prices: $6,750 (on steel bracelet) and $6,350 (on leather strap).

Specifications:
TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph 39mm Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic (bracelet model)

(Reference CBL2113.BA0644 and reference CBL2111.BA0644, blue dial available January 2021)

Movement: Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic with vertical clutch, column wheel, 80-hour power reserve.

Case: 39 mm polished and fine-brushed stainless-steel, bevelled, domed sapphire crystal
Sapphire caseback, water-resistant to 100 meters.

Dial: Blue or Black sunray brushed, rhodium-plated indexes, rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with white SuperLuminova, red lacquered central hand, white TAG HEUER printed logo, angled date display at 6 o’clock

–3 counters:
– 3 o’clock: silver minute chronograph counter
– 6 o’clock: black or blue permanent second indicator
– 9 o’clock: silver hour chronograph counter.
Bracelet: Alternating, three-row stainless steel with stainless-steel butterfly folding clasp with double safety push button.

Price: $6,750.00

 

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph 39 mm Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic (alligator leather strap)(Reference CBL2113.FC6177)

Movement: Caliber Heuer 02 Automatic with vertical clutch, column wheel, 80-hour power reserve.

Case: 39 mm polished and fine-brushed stainless-steel, bevelled, domed sapphire crystal
Sapphire caseback, water-resistant to 100 meters.

Dial: Black Sunray-brushed, rhodium-plated indexes, rhodium-plated hour and minute hands with white SuperLuminova, red lacquered central hand, white TAG HEUER printed logo, angled date display at 6 o’clock

Three counters:
– 3 o’clock: silver minute chronograph counter
– 6 o’clock: black permanent second indicator
– 9 o’clock: silver hour chronograph counter
Strap: Black alligator leather, stainless-steel folding clasp with double safety push buttons

Price: $6,350

 

TAG Heuer added four dressy chronographs to its bedrock Carrera collection a few weeks ago, in part to balance the sporty line with sleek, tachymeter-free options.

One of four new TAG Heuer Carrera Elegant Chronographs.

Along with the new aesthetic choice, however, TAG Heuer powers all these new Carrera Elegant Chronographs with its in-house Caliber Heuer 02, the brand’s highly efficient column-wheel chronograph with vertical clutch that delivers an impressive eighty-hour power reserve.

TAG Heuer emphasizes its use of the top-line caliber with “Heuer 02 80 Hours” capitalized on the dial just below the date.

Thin bezel, slim bracelet    

The dressier profile here doesn’t simply rely on the generally unencumbered chronograph dial. The steel bezel itself, while reminiscent of the original Carrera from 1963, frames a simple one-fifth seconds track and connects the ends of a thin steel bracelet with rounded inner and outer links, or to a classic brown alligator strap. The result creates a subdued case and bracelet (or strap) that slides nicely under any shirt cuff.

The four dial hues extend TAG Heuer’s message of elegance-focused sport. The Le Locle manufacturer is making the Carrera Elegant Chronograph with dials of opaline black or sunray brushed blue, anthracite and silver (with rose-gold-plated hands). The recognizable TAG Heuer “azurage” subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock and the polished hands echo many other TAG Heuer offerings.

TAG Heuer is offering the watches with black and blue dials initially on the steel bracelet while pairing the bicolored version with a silver-colored dial and rose- gold-plated hands and the model with the anthracite dial are paired with the brown alligator leather strap.

From the back, you’ll view the Caliber Heuer 02, which features an also-dressy rose-gold-colored oscillating mass.

Prices: $5,350 and $5,550 (for model with silver-colored dial and rose-gold-plated hands).

 

TAG Heuer this week honors the 104th Indianapolis 500, scheduled for August 23, with a new Formula 1 watch that references the race’s “The Brickyard” nickname. Red bricks appear to line the right side of the dial on the new TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 2020 Special Edition, which also features the Indy 500 logo at the 6 o’clock subdial and “Indy 500” engraved in red on the ceramic bezel.

The new TAG Heuer Formula 1 Indy 500 2020 Special Edition.

With the new watch TAG Heuer is also celebrating sixteen years as the Official Timekeeper of the NTT Indycar Series, the premier league of open-wheel racing in North America. The watch was designed in collaboration with the Indycar team, and features a black dial with a 3 o’clock permanent second indicator, an hour chronograph counter and the 1/10th second chronograph counter set with the Indy 500 logo.

TAG Heuer has equipped the quartz-powered chronograph with a black rubber strap so a racer can size and fit the watch over a racing suit. The watch is a limited edition of 1,500 units and will be seen on the wrist of TAG Heuer friend Indycar driver Alexander Rossi at this year’s Indy 500 race.

Brickyard Background

For those unaware of the origin of The Brickyard nickname for the racetrack, TAG Heuer explains: “When the race-course first opened in August 1909, the track surface was made of gravel and tar which caused a number of accidents. After many concerns and complaints over safety, the track was subsequently repaved with 3.2 million 10-pound bricks and a final brick laid by the governor of Indiana. Over time, the bricks were paved over with asphalt except for a one-yard strip of bricks at the start / finish line that remains exposed, but its fabled history as “The Brickyard” endures. Victorious drivers also continue the tradition of kneeling and “kissing the bricks.”

The 2020 Indycar season, which runs from June to October, consists of fourteen races in the United States. The August 23 race at the Indianapolis 500 is the season’s highlight.

Price: $2,100

We know Jeff Stein as a leading collector of vintage Heuer chronographs, who occasionally dabbles in the newer TAG Heuer models.  It caught our eye when, twelve hours after he received his Fragment Design Heuer 02 chronograph in July, Jeff posted on Instagram that this watch was his “favorite TAG Heuer chronograph, ever . . . and even though you won’t see the name on the watch, the best looking Autavia-inspired chronograph, ever.” 

Below,  Jeff tells us more about his infatuation with this very interesting watch.

The new TAG Heuer Fragment Design Heuer 02 chronograph.

Can you give us the “elevator version” of the Fragment Design Heuer 02 chronograph?

The watch was designed by Hiroshi Fujiwara, a god in the world of streetwear and the creator of Fragment Design. Fujiwara has designed all sorts of interesting things such as guitars for Eric Clapton, sneakers for Nike and Converse, and headphones for Beats. In the watch world, he has designed watches for Rolex and Zenith, as well as a Carrera for TAG Heuer, in November 2018. 

On the Heuer 02 chronograph, Fujiwara incorporated the design language of a 1970s Heuer Autavia into a TAG Heuer Formula 1 chronograph case, with the watch powered by the Heuer 02 movement. 

Why has the Fragment Design Formula 1 chronograph been controversial among the vintage Heuer enthusiasts?

Much of the controversy probably arises from the fact that the watch was inspired by the 1970s Autavias, but resides in the modern case that TAG Heuer uses for its Formula 1 chronographs.  There is no model name on the dial, neither “Autavia” nor “Formula 1,” so some traditionalists might see the watch as something of a Franken, which may be lacking the pure pedigree of either model.

Hiroshi Fujiwara

So how do you come to terms with these issues? 

For years, I have listened to the debates about what is and is not properly identified as an Autavia, a Carrera or a Formula 1.  Some traditionalists say that an Autavia has to be a chronograph, rather than a three-handed watch, or that a Carrera cannot have an outer bezel, because these were the rules when the models were launched in the 1960s. 

I have pretty well gotten over these hard-and-fast rules.  If Jack Heuer had felt constrained by such rules in the 1960s, the Autavia would have never made it from a dashboard timer to a chronograph and we might never have seen Heuer’s automatic chronographs.  Right now, I am more impressed with a brand making great looking, high quality watches and less concerned about the model name on the dial. 

Perhaps there is no requirement for watch models to be binary, so that the brands can incorporate elements of one model into another one.  We saw this recently when TAG Heuer incorporated the colors and style of the 1970s Montreal chronograph into a 1960s-based Carrera, and people liked the result.

The Successor – The last version of the Autavia produced by Heuer in the mid-1980s (Reference 11063, at left) and the Fragment Design Heuer 02 Limited Edition, introduced by TAG Heuer in June 2020.

As a physical object, what are your favorite elements of the Fragment Formula 1 chronograph?

I am a big fan of minimalist design, in general, and like the matte black and charcoal gray tones.  This is a great look in cars and Fujiwara has followed a similar approach with the new Formula 1, using a matte black dial. 

The hands and bezel are taken directly from the 1970s Autavias, but Fujiwara has deleted the elements that made those watches busier — the contrasting white registers, the concentric ridges in the registers and the frame around the date window. 

This is like deleting the chrome on a blacked-out car, and it makes the expanses of black more dramatic.  The red and white accents on the dial are the final touches that give the watch its pop. For several years, the Formula 1 chronographs have been housed in a case with geometry that is very close to the c-shape cases of the 1970s Autavias, so this Autavia color scheme from the 1970s looks right in the Formula 1 case.

And what are the intangibles that you enjoy with the new Fragment Design Formula 1 chronograph?

The Autavias of the 1960s and 1970s were the chronographs worn by the top drivers in motorsports.  We see them on the wrists of Mario Andretti, Jo Siffert, Graham Hill, Derek Bell and many other racers.  Beyond the top professionals, Autavias were popular among the amateurs and club racers, particularly with the Viceroy promotion, which offered a $200 Autavia for $88 with proof of purchase of ten packs of Viceroy cigarettes.  

The tachymeter bezel is the symbol of a racing watch, whether on the Autavia, or the Rolex Daytona or the Omega Speedmaster.  TAG Heuer is positioning the Formula 1 collection as the brand’s racing watches, and there is no better flagship for that collection than a watch that incorporates the design elements of the Autavia, the ultimate racing watch of the 1960s and 1970s.

People in the watch world may think of the Formula 1 as TAG Heuer’s “entry level” model.  How do you reconcile that with the $6,150 price tag on this model?

Essentially, this watch, and a couple of other Formula 1 models recently released by TAG Heuer, serve as a clear statement that the TAG Heuer collections will no longer follow a price hierarchy.  There is no entry-level collection or high-end collection.  Instead, the collections are defined by their aesthetics and purposes. 

The Formula 1 is TAG Heuer’s racing watch and the Autavia will be positioned as the watch for adventure.  To me, this is a much more sensible way to position the collections than just based on their price ranges.  TAG Heuer now offers its in-house Heuer 02 movement in four of its six collections, confirming that no model is relegated to “entry-level” status. 

How do you compare the new Fragment Formula 1 with the other Autavias that have been re-issued by TAG Heuer?

With the arrival of this Fragment Design chronograph, there are basically three series of Autavia re-issues.

The TAG Heuer Fragment Design Heuer 02 Limited Edition flanked by the first of the automatic Autavias, Reference 1163 (circa 1970), and the last one produced by Heuer, Reference 11063 (circa 1983).

In 2003, TAG Heuer offered two versions of a cushion-cased Autavia, one with the black / orange colors and the other with the white / black / blue Siffert colors. 

In 2017, TAG Heuer offered a new Autavia, modeled after the Rindt model from the late 1960s.  After the initial model with the black dial and white registers, we have seen several limited editions, incorporating other color schemes into this same case. 

I like these watches, but the case lacks the real connection to either the manual wind models of the 1960s or the automatic models of the 1970s. 

Every collector will have their own favorite, but to my eye, the Fragment Formula 1 captures the spirit of the 1970s Autavias, with the color scheme, the hands and bezel, and the case geometry. There’s no “Autavia” on the dial, but there’s no doubt about the origins of this watch.

How is the watch on your wrist?

It’s a big watch at 44 millimeters, and I have a small wrist, but it’s a great fit.  The more important measurement might be the thickness, and TAG Heuer has shaved the case to 14.4 millimeters.  That’s not exactly thin, but it makes the 44 millimeter case very wearable.  The bracelet is entirely new, and is relatively thin with a butterfly clasp, which also makes the watch wear smaller.

TAG Heuer has created a new style bracelet for the Fragment Formula 1 chronograph. It’s a five-row stainless steel bracelet, with a folding butterfly clasp.

Why does this watch have the TAG Heuer logo on the dial rather than the Heuer shield?

I believe that TAG Heuer is reserving the “Heuer” shield for re-issues of the heritage models, like the Carrera 160 Years models that we saw earlier in the year.  This Formula 1 is not a re-issue of a heritage model, but a new creation for TAG Heuer.  So it gets the TAG Heuer shield rather than the Heuer shield.What are your personal preferences, as far as the re-issues that so many brands seem to be offering in the year 2020?

In recent years, there has probably been more hand-to-hand combat in the vintage community on the subject of re-issues, re-editions, homages, tributes and the like than on any other single topic.  We see everything from one-to-one recreations of some of the classics, like Breitling and Omega have done with great success, to watches that carry the name, but bear no resemblance to the original models. 

I really like the approach of the two Fragment Design models: take an iconic model, boil it down to find the essence of the design, then punch up the elements that provide the style and feel of the original period. 

Echoing the TAG Heuer Fragment Carrera, Fujiwara also places thunderbolts at the center of the case back and the word “Fragment” between 4 and 5 o’clock.

On the Fragment Carrera, we see the power of the oversized registers; on the Fragment Formula 1, we see the dramatic black paint and the red accents, with the distinctive hands and bezel.  These elements defined the racers chronograph in 1970 and, fifty years later they continue to capture the excitement of racing.  To me, capturing this timelessness is the ultimate success of a re-edition.

Other than the Fragment Design models, which are your favorite of TAG Heuer’s heritage-inspired models?

I like the Limited Edition Skipper that was a collaboration with Hodinkee back in 2017, and the Carrera 160 Years Montreal Limited Edition from earlier this year. 

The Skipper captured the colors and spirit of one of the Heuer grails, the original Skipper from 1967, but took some liberties (for example, having a 30-minute register rather than the 15-minute count-down register). 

The Carrera Montreal took even more liberties, incorporating the colors and vibe of a wild-looking 1972 Montreal chronograph into a Carrera case. Once again, the traditionalists may frown, but if you like the look of these watches and enjoy the connection with the Heuer heritage, these are fun watches. 

If you could only have one of the Fragment models, the Carrera or the Formula 1, which would it be?

My first instinct is to dodge the question. The same way that the 1960s Carreras were different from the 1970s Autavias, the choice between the two Fragment models comes down to a matter of the mood and look that you want on a given day.

Fragment Design has developed two limited edition chronographs for TAG Heuer, the new Heuer 02, which draws from the Formula 1 and Autavia models, and the Carrera Heuer 02, from November 2018.

The quiet elegance of the Carrera is very different from the loud excitement of the 1970s Autavias.  Looking at my collection of vintage Heuers, I probably have four times as many 1970s Autavias as 1960s Carreras, so the Fragment probably gets the nod. 

If there will be a third Fragment Design chronograph for TAG Heuer, what are you hoping for?

Fujiwara has done a Carrera and an Autavia, so his third model will have to be a Monaco.  It would be fantastic to see what he would do with the extra-large canvas of the Monaco.

(Click here to read Jeff Stein’s “On the Dash” post about the TAG Heuer Fragment Design Heuer 02 Limited Edition.) 

 

TAG Heuer has updated its sea-focused Aquaracer collection with two colorful automatic models sporting a so-called tortoise-shell-pattern bezel. In addition, look for new Khaki-colored quartz Aquaracer model with an olive-green aluminum bezel and a matching fabric strap.

The new Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition.

The new Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition and the new Aquaracer 43 mm Khaki Special Edition watches enhance Aquaracer, TAG Heuer’s dive watch collection known for its 300-meter water resistance rating, unidirectional rotating bezel, luminous markers and hands and easy-to-read dials, as befits an ocean-centric sports watch.

All three of these debuts also feature a 43mm stainless-steel screw-down caseback engraved with the image of a vintage divers’ helmet.

Tortoise-pattern

To set these new models apart from earlier Aquaracers, TAG Heuer has subtly decorated the bezels with blue or brown resin that has been modified to create an interesting pattern that, according to TAG Heuer, mimic the sun’s reflection on the ocean.

Often seen on sunglasses, the tortoise-shell effect is rarely used to decorate watches, and represents TAG Heuer’s first attempt beyond variations in dial patterns to inject a bit of style into the generally sober Aquaracer line.

TAG Heuer even enhances the blue or brown bezels on these two debuts with blue or black sunray-pattern brushed dials with horizontal lines. Like the bezels, the dials can catch and reflect light, effectively doubling the ‘summertime’ focus of the new design.

TAG Heuer adds another novelty here with a rubber strap that features the exterior pattern of another reptile: the alligator.

The unidirectional bezels on both Aquaracer 43 mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition models retain the Aqua-racer’s sixty-minute scale as well as the familiar angled magnifying lens over the date window at 3 o’clock.

The strap is held tight with a folding steel clasp with double safety push buttons. Inside is TAG Heuer’s Caliber 5, the brand’s reliable ETA-based or Sellita-based automatic movement. Price: $2,600 (Available in August).

New quartz Khaki

TAG Heuer’s new quartz-powered Aquaracer 43 mm Khaki Special Edition combines a sturdy olive-hued fabric strap and sharp-looking anthracite sunray brushed dial. And rather than a sun-dappled steel bezel, the watch’s aluminum unidirectional rotating bezel is tinted with a down-to-earth olive hue.

Like the new models above, this quartz debut features a polished and fine-brushed steel case, rhodium-plated and luminous hour, minute and seconds hands and the same angled date window.

Likewise, the back of the watch echoes the Aquaracer standard with a solid caseback engraved with an image of a vintage divers’ helmet. Price: $1,600.