The renowned Swiss watchmaker updated one of its most popular lines – Aquaracer 500m, by using a ceramic bezel for the first time on these diving watches. Five new versions feature revised dials, smaller cases, as well as more quality materials which give them a premium look. Along with the new 2012 Aquaracer 500m series, Tag Heuer created a Special Edition of the Aquaracer 500m watch, as well as two chronograph versions, in order to mark the long-term partnership with the Oracle Team USA, defender of the 34th America’s Cup.
Tag Heuer has been continuing with the redesigns of its popular watch lines. After upgrading the Link Collection with the 2011 version and after launching the new 2012 Formula 1 series, the Swiss watchmaker has done basically the same thing with its 2012 Aquaracer 500m timepieces.
Considering the fact that previous versions possess several original features that separate them from other diving watches, it is questionable if the shift to more conventional design will increase the popularity of the Aquaracers. With the new ceramic bezel that has replaced an authentic rubber bezel, with a radial pattern, applied metal markers and 6 studs, the watch has definitely gotten some quality. Ceramic is significantly lighter and harder material which has higher resistance to scratches. However, the new Aquaracer lost the uniqueness (read the reviews of Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster watches).
Comparing with the outgoing model, the most visible change, beside the new bezel, can be noticed on the dial. Instead of a vertical pattern, new watches have dials with horizontal patterns, which in my opinion, look better and more harmonious with other details. Besides, the vertical pattern is in line with the new design of a rubber strap which has vertical lining that has replaced the old square style. Furthermore, a date window that, interestingly, was placed at the 9 o’clock position, together with a magnifying glass, has now been moved to the 3 o’clock position, while a magnifying glass has been removed.
The case is significantly smaller (41 mm in diameter instead of 43 mm of the previous model), which someone can find more appropriate for everyday wear, but this change certainly is not useful for divers. You can easily notice that the 2012 Aquaracer 500 m has highly polished finishes on the case, a crown and a helium valve. There is also available an alternative stainless steel bracelet which is highly polished as well.
Tag Heuer Aquaracer 500 m is powered with a Calibre 5 self-winding movement which is the Sellita’s SW200 mechanism. It is visible through the sapphire crystal case-back. Like outgoing models, new Aquaracer 500m watches passed serious testing in order to reach the superb water-resistance up to 500 meters. It possesses an automatic helium valve positioned at the 10 o’clock position that opens automatically, decompressing pressure and protecting the watch.
The 2012 Aquaracer comes in five variations. There is a stainless steel version with a well-known blue dial and a blue bezel. Besides, Tag Heuer created two versions with a black dial – black bezel combination. The first one is made of stainless steel, while the other one (a full black model) combines black dial and bezel with a titanium carbide case and a rubber strap. The forth version has a typical Rolex look (explore the Submariner Collection), with a steel/yellow gold case and bracelet, and blue dial and bezel. The last one comes in the Limited Edition and features a champagne dial, a steel/gold case and a black bezel.
Tag Heuer Aquaracer Team USA/Oracle Racing Watches
As the sponsor of the Oracle Racing Team USA in the 34th America’s Cup, Tag Heuer created two Limited Editions of Aquaracer 500 chronograph. The first one features the “Team USA” logo, while the second one comes with the “Defender” logo on the black dial with horizontal lining. Besides, there is also a non-chronograph ”Defender” version. As you can see, these watches have the old design, with a rubber coated bezel and a date window at the 9 o’clock position. Thus, those who prefer the old style, still have a chance to enjoy it.
Aquaracer 500m Chronograph is powered with a Calibre 16 self-winding movement which will from now on be a combination of Sellita and ETA mechanisms. (The non-chronograph “TeamUSA” version is powered with the Calibre 5.) The Calibre 16 provides great performances under water with three chronograph counters and a date indicator. Considering a great luminosity of hands and applied hour markers, as well as an easy-to-use bi-directional rotating bezel, I can say that this is a superb diving chronograph.
It is robust and bold looking, with the diameter of 44 mm. The case-back also looks great, with the engraved picture of “Oracle Racing Team” boat. Each model is available either with a rubber strap or a steel bracelet. These attractive watches were presented during the brand’s 30th anniversary celebration event of the Aquaracer 2000 series inVenice.