The 2010 TAG Heuer Aquaracer range that was previewed at Basel in March will be formally launched over the next couple of weeks and includes three new models- a 500m Chronograph, the 500m Full Black and a new Aquaracer Automatic Watch.
A new design-template for the Aquaracer was established with the 500m watch launched in 2009, and these new models continue the themes- vertical ridge-lines on the dial, an applied logo and hour-markers and the rubber-ridged bezel.
While the Aquaracer traces its origins back to the Heuer 2000 series first released in 1982, the new catalogue also shows photos of other Heuer and TAG Heuer water-sports watches, stretching back to the 1940s. The new TH website (due to be launched in the next few weeks) will also emphasise the link to past watches as a way of explaining the heritage behind the current model range.
Aquaracer 500m Chronograph
The first of the new models is the Aquaracer 500m Chronograph. While similar to the 500m Aquaracer, the date and cyclops are on the right-hand side of the dial to accommodate the sub-dials on the left.
Inside the Chronograph is the 44mm stainless steel case is a Calibre 16 movement (Valjoux/ ETA 7750, as per the existing Aquaracer Chronograph. The watch comes on either a stainless steel bracelet, or a rubber strap and is a great step-up from the previous model in terms of looks.
Aquaracer Full Black
The second new model is one that has been previewed before on Calibre 11- the Aquaracer Full Black, which is essentially an Aquaracer 500m watch inside a 43mm PVD-titanium case.The Full Black has bright yellow/ green lume in contrast to the other models in the Aquaracer range.
Like the other 500m non-Chrono. range, the movement is a Calibre 5 (Sellita SW200). Sellita is an interesting Swiss company that has been around for a few years now, but has gained prominence as it increases the supply of its movements. Sellita are profiting from the continued uncertainty about Swatch Group’s future plans for supplying movements outside the Swatch Group and currently make three movements- the SW200, SW300 and the SW500.
These movements are generic versions of the ETA 2824-2, ETA 2892 and the ETA/ Valjoux 7750 respectively, all of which have been around long enough that their patent protection has expired, which explains why Sellita is allowed to make these Calibres without a group of angry Swiss lawyers beating down their door.
The issue for watch buyers is whether there is any trade-off in quality in switching from the ETA to the Sellita versions- and the answer appears to be that there is none.
While Sellita haven’t been producing movements long enough to take a definitive view, the reality is that the company has a long association with ETA and has worked on adding movement complications on movements for customers including Breitling and IWC, as well as for ETA itself, not something that the Swatch Group would do unless it was totally satisfied with the quality. Added to this is the fact that these designs have been around for more than 20 years, and so any manufacturing/ design issues have been well and truly addressed.
The Sellita SW200 is used in most Calibre 5 Aquaracers, but some, such as the Day-Date Aquaracer, still use the ETA 2824-2.