Hands on Review- 2010 TAG Heuer Link

The TAG Heuer Link range traces its origins back to the S/el (“Sports and Elegance”) watch that was introduced in 1987. Designed by Eddie Schopfer- the same man responsible for the 2000 series- the S/el came to symbolise 1980s/ early 1990s TAG Heuer….for better or worse.

The S/el was re-designed and re-named “Link” in 1999, and was followed by in 2003 by a second-generation Link, the design of which continues today.

All of the Men’s Link series use the same basic design- a 42mm brushed stainless steel case with matching bracelet. There are a vast range of movements offered- Calibre S, Calibre 16, Calibre 7, Calibre 36, Calibre 5 and a range of quartz movements with differing date complications. There is also a range of different bezels used to give each model a distinctive look.

For 2010 TAG Heuer has launched several new models, including three that I was able to review- the Limited Edition Tiger Woods quartz Watch and Roman Numeral Chronograph and the Advanced Calibre 7 GMT watch that was previewed at Baselworld.

The Link series continues the philosophy established by the S/el: a sporting “executive” watch with a distinctive “Link” bracelet. Rather than flat brick-like links, those in the Link bracelet are S-shaped, which TAG Heuer claim offers better comfort. As these bracelets hadn’t been sized, I didn’t actually wear any of these Links and so can’t report whether this rings true in reality.

Link GMT

The TAG Heuer Link Calibre 7 Advanced GMT Magnetic Bezel (Ref. WJ2010) uses the Calibre 7 movement, which is an ETA 2993/2 automatic calibre, and offers a clever take on adding a GMT complication- a magnetic bezel.

Here’s how the magnetic bezel works: Once you have set your home city/ time-zone (which is set using a hidden button on the side of  the case at 10 o’clock), rotating the bezel also rotates an internal disc with the names and time zones of 24 cities. You can see in the photo below that the watch is set to Hong Kong time- and so the GMT arrow-hand is pointing to 5pm, in this case the same as the time shown on the watch.

So, it’s a simple idea but a nice twist on the typical GMT- systems and a cool point of difference.

Another feature of all recent TAG Heuer watches is the use of texturing on the dial to distinguish between different models in a series, and the Link is no different. The Link GMT uses a circular pattern around the circumference of the outer-dial, contrasting with the flat-black finish of the inner-dial.

Link Grand Date Tiger Woods

The Grand Date (Ref. WJF1010) is the latest Limited Edition Link associated with Tiger Woods, who has been the face of the series since 2003. Each of these models has distinctive Pink text on a central lower sub-dial, and this version is no different.

The distinguishing marks of this version are the bold vertical texturing on the dial and the diamond-edged Grand Date window at 12 o’clock. The inner bezel features the words one through twelve and is far simpler than the inner-bezel of the Calibre 7 GMT. There are no markings on the external bezel, which helps to make the dial appear larger than the GMT, even though the watches are the same size.

Finally, the Tiger Woods LE features an applied TAG Heuer logo, which I prefer to the printed logo used on some other models.

The Tiger Woods 2010 LE is limited to 6000 pieces ( a large run for a Limited Edition watch) and is available in quartz-only.

Link Roman Numerals

The Link Roman Numerals (Ref. CJF2119) is a Limited Edition (700 watches) version of the Link Calibre 16 Chronograph, that as the name suggests features Roman numerals at each hour-marker. I like the option of having a watch with Roman numerals, but wonder whether it would work better on a watch rather than a chronograph, as there is more space on the dial to fit the numerals. As it is, the dial of this Link looks a little busy when combined with the external bezel tachy scale.

The texturing on this dial is quite complex, but works well- diagonal lines at different angles for each quarter of the inner-dial, complemented by a circular pattern in each sub-dial.

The Roman Numerals Link Chronograph is powered by the Calibre 16 movement- the venerable ETA/ Valjoux 7750. What I hadn’t seen before is the marking on the crystal case-back to mark TAG Heuer’s 150th anniversary. As well as the “150 Years” logo in the centre, the words “150th Anniversary” written around the edge of the case-back. Perhaps this is a feature on all 2010 models.

Summary

I’ve never owned a TAG Heuer Link, the closest that I’ve come was looking at the 2004 Ayrton Senna Link when it was launched, so I was looking forward to reviewing some of the 2010 range (of course, it would have been nice to also see the Calibre 36 Link, but none of these were available). My preferred versions of the Link are actually the Watch rather than the Chronograph versions, as this allows for a cleaner, less complex dial that seems to fit better with the positioning of the watch- maybe an automatic version of the Tiger Woods LE without the sub-dial would be perfect.

I also like the Calibre S version of the Link- for some reason the Calibre S layout seems to work better on the Link than on the other models, such as the Carrera.

The Link works well as a more “formal” watch- that’s not to say that it doesn’t look good with jeans and a t-shirt, but it seems to work best with a suit- unlike for example the Monaco, which looks great with jeans, but is a bit too square and a bit too blue to go with a suit (depending of course on where you work)

Finally, there is always the Jason Bourne connection to the Link series- while he’s not an official ambassador (I guess you have to be a real person for that…), the “younger, cooler Bond” image has helped the Link series, as has the official association with Tiger Woods.

To see more photos of the TAG Heuer Link Calibre 16 Roman Numerals, TAG Heuer Link Grand Date Tiger Woods LE and TAG Heuer link Calibre 7 Advanced Magnetic GMT, click here.

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  • mark rush

    I'm glad to see Tag adding some new models to the Link series, the new GMT is really sharp and just might be my next watch. Thanks for the update

    regards

    Mark R

  • wilfreb

    i love my Link, the bracelet is so unique, original and comfortable.

    i also love the new applied logos, with matte finish they looks awesome, just like the one on the Aquaracer 500M, the shiny ones are to difficult to read.

    i'm in love with the new linear dials! i love the one on my Aquaracer500, thats why i'm planning on adding a Link cal 5 day-date to my collection.

  • DC

    I agree that the new "3D" logos are a great addition across several new TAG Heuer watches- looks more upmarket and makes the dial more interesting.

    Cheers

  • Bassam Nasser

    Since your a profissional.. Can you kindly tell me which model of the Whole Link Family have the Biggest Dial… I've been told that it's the Calbire S "41 or 42".. But I don't think that's Correct… Please Advice

  • DC

    Hardly a professional Bassam, but happy to pass on what I know!

    The Calibre S Link is 42mm

    David

  • Nick F

    Hi David,

    Love your reviews, keep it up!

    I just bought a Caliber S Link love the dial and the double anti reflective coating.

    Function wise, is the Caliber S Link identical to the Aquaracer Caliber S Regretta?

    Thanks

  • DC

    Nick, I think that the Regatta has some special timing functions for yachting…but it is the same movement

    dc

  • STU

    David,

    Any idea as to what year the 'Link' bracelet clasp became a push button release? I remember the former fold-over latch….

    Thanks,
    Stu

  • Neeko

    Hi David,

    Well, I took the plunge! Traded my WAF2011.BA0818 up for a LINK CJF211A.BA0594 Auto Chrono Day Date black dial. It should arrive next week.

    Do you know which year this particular model was manufactured, and when TAG dropped the 'Day' feature on this model? I personally like both the day & date features rather than date only. Also, I noticed with my previous Aquaracers, the stainless steel bracelet would scuff fairly easily, like when putting on your seatbelt in the car and your watch makes contact with the vinyl on the car door, or with contact on my veneer covered wood desk. I thought stainless steel was a lot harder and more difficult to mark.

    I am looking forward to your comments on all the above. Thanks David! Keep up the great site!

    Neeko

  • DC

    Hi Neeko- not sure on this one…let me chase it up for you

    dc

  • Neeko

    Hi David,

    Sounds good, thanks for taking an interest. I like the 'Calibre' sites and find them very interesting and informative.

    Regards,

    Neeko

  • Neeko

    Hello David,

    I have a slight problem. I purchased a TAG Heuer CAF7011.BA0815 in February, traded it up for the WAF2011.BA0818 Aquaracer in March, then just recently traded that for the watch that I intend to keep for many decades, the CJF211A.BA0594 Link Automatic Chronograph. Man, what a beautiful timepiece this is. My slight problem? I registered each of these watches online at TAG Heuer "Product Registration". How do I contact TAG Heuer and let them know I don't own the first watches anymore? I have searched the TAG Heuer website but cannot seem to find any contact except for the service Center in Ontario, Canada (I live on the West Coast of Canada). Any ideas?

    Thanks!

    Neeko

  • DC

    Good question Neeko…and I don't know the answer…maybe a call to the Service Centre?

  • Neeko

    Hi David,

    Okay, thanks, I'll give that a try. I'm a bit surprised there is no provision for that. Keep up the great site!

    Neeko