Editor’s note: Here’s our quick preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 timepieces. For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Bond. James Bond.
Watches, cars and gadgets have had a special relationship with the world of Bond movies. With the new James Bond helmed by Daniel Craig finally set to hit theatres, any news from that British spy universe is welcome. And while Omega has already announced the offical tie-in watch, in an indirect way, there is a new watch that marks this relationship. Albeit unofficial, there is a new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 that harks back to the special ‘bond’ a man and his watch has.
In the 1987 James Bond movie The Living Daylights, as Timothy Dalton is about to take Aston Martin out for a spin, Q says: “Be careful, 007. It just had a new coat of paint!”
And true to that sentiment, the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 Night Diver Professional 300 is essentially the original Heuer 980.031— worn by Timothy Dalton as James Bond — modernised with a new coat of paint.
A Bit Of Context
From the 1895 patented water-resistant Heuer pocket watch case to the Heuer 11360P from 1972 — that was the first Heuer diver chronograph — to 2004’s 2000-series that saw birth of the Aquaracer collection, TAG Heuer has a lot fo heritage to offer with the new Aquaracer Calibre 5.
Talking about the Bond context, though it is not 100% confirmed, but the Heuer 980.031 is often regarded as an unofficial Bond watch. Nicknamed the ‘Night Divers’, these original timepieces from 1986/87 were marked by black cases/bracelets, quartz movements, fully lumed dials, and highly legible diver-style designs.
The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 Night Diver Professional 300 technically is a mash up of the iconic 1978 Heuer Ref. 844, — produced in collaboration with French manufacturer Monnin to release Heuer’s first dive watch —, the Heuer/TAG Heuer ref. 980.031, and modern TAG Heuer Aquaracer’s design DNA (which thankfully incorporates the dial’s horizontal engraved lines).
Combine the features of the above, so rather large stainless steel cases such as those of ref. 844 which were 42mm, higher than 100m water-resistance again like 200m of ref. 844, black rotating bezels of both ref. 844 and 980.031, include a rubber strap, and swap out the quartz of the Heuer 980.031 with an automatic movement like that of the ref. 844, and what you get is the new Aquaracer Professional 300 collection.
Out of all of them, my picks are the regular production ref. WBP201D.FT6197 ‘Night Diver’ with a fully luminescent dial courtesy green Super- LumiNova® and the ref. WBP208C.FT6201 limited edition TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844.
Retailing between 2’650 to 4’250 AUD (depending upon the model with the Night Diver retailing in Australia for 4’800 AUD), these feature the TAG Heuer Calibre 5 which is an automatic movement based on either the ETA 2824-2 or the Sellita SW200-1. The 26mm diameter movement offers a low power reserve of only 38-hours, beats at the standard frequency of 4Hz, comprises of 25 or 26 jewels (depending on ETA or Sellita base), and should feature Côtes de Genève decoration on the rotor.
The movement is housed inside a 43mm diameter fine brushed and polished case (or black DLC steel sand blasted case for the Night Diver and Titanium grade 5 for the LE) with a ceramic black 60-minute scale unidirectional turning bezel and a screw-down crown & case-back.
Three new colour ways are now added to the brand’s updated luxury tool watch collection. This is in addition to the 8 references that were released at Watches & Wonders 2021 held earlier this year.
These are a solid offering from the brand, and the plethora of variations ensures there is something for everybody. The stealth charm of the ‘Night Diver’ version is hard to resist, and James Bond connection or not, with a white Superluminova® opaline dial and black gold plated applied indexes with white superluminova®, these are a must have for anyone who like highly eligible, excessively lume-filled, and useful tool watches.
A cult favourite 12-sided bezel, 43mm stainless steel cases with rubber straps equipped with TAG Heuer’s innovative adjustable folding clasp, ultra-legible dials, 300m water-resistance, ceramic bezel inserts, and one variation with killer lume, the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 timepieces are made for the modern man who can enjoy his watch without worries, whether be it cooped inside a work cubicle or diving king-size with the sharks.
The faceted for grip dodecagon bezel is also welcome, and along with the screw-down protected crown speaks volumes about the ‘tool-worthiness’ of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 Professional 300 Collection. There’s that Rolex-style Cyclops lens but is thankfully distinctive enough owing to residing under rather than over a flat sapphire crystal.
I would say improve the power reserve (and perhaps offer a middle case size of 39mm given the ladies version of the watch already exists in 36mm), and you have a stellar daily beater of a timepiece, that’s both practical and luxurious. I particularly appreciate the style of the buckle that aids in tool-less micro-adjustments of 1.5cm, and attention to detail with octagonal applique indices (rather than contrasting circlar ones).
The ‘Night Diver’ is definitely the highlight of this collection and one that could very well be a lot of enthusiasts’ gateway to the art of Swiss watchmaking. And as my wife puts it, the best to understand the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 ‘Night Diver’ watch is to ask yourself; would you like some watch with your lume?
To find out more about the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 ‘Night Diver’ and other watches, please head to their website here. All images unless stated otherwise are courtesy ©TAG Heuer. Make sure to check out our reviews of other 2021 novelties here.