TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m Ceramic Calibre 16

Posted by: David Chalmers   |   23 October 2012   |   45 Comments  

The final piece of the new Aquaracer range has now fallen into place with these photos of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m Calibre 16 (Ref. CAK2110). Like the Calibre 5 watch and the Calibre 72 Countdown Chronograph, the new Calibre 16 model features a re-designed case (the same as the Cal. 72 Chrono.), a helium-escape valve, re-designed dial and a ceramic bezel.

Design- TAG Heuer CAK2110

The Calibre 16 Aquaracer 500m carries over the design principles set by the other watches in the 2013 Aquaracer range- a more elegant and classical diver watch, but one that is closer to the Aquaracer 300m models than was previously the case.

You can also see in these photos the combination of highly polished, scalloped sides and the brushed finish used on the lugs. This detailing is carried over to the grips on the bezel, which are also polished to a high shine.

One of the best design features of the new model is the contrast between the horizontal streaks on the dial and the circular pattern on each of the three sub-dials- it makes the three registers stand out from the rest of the dial, giving them a three-dimensional quality.

The hands are carried over from the current Aquaracer 500m Chronograph, as is the large-arrow tip on the 9 o’clock register.

Like the Calibre 72 model, the new Calibre 16 ceramic Chronograph is available with either a bracelet or the fantastic Isofrane-inspired rubber strap.

Changes from Previous Model

The changes from the 2010 model (left) are quite stark and obvious when the two watches are placed next to each other:

  • Redesigned case- softer design consistent with the original Heuer 2000 and the Aquaracer 300m
  • 43mm (new) vs. 44mm diameter
  • Ceramic bezel vs. Hard rubber bezel
  • No cyclops
  • Smaller TAG Heuer logo; printed “Aquaracer” text
  • Larger 9 o’clock sub-dial
  • Rubber- ringed crown and Chronograph pushers
  • Horizontal vs. vertical streaks on the dial
  • Smaller helium-escape valve

Overall, I think that the new design is superior to the 2010 model, even though it is less distinctive- a similar view to one held on the changes to the Calibre 5 model.

2013 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m Range

Here for the first time are the three models that make up the 2013 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m ceramic range- the Calibre 5 watch (left), Calibre 16 Chronograph (centre) and Calibre 72 Chronograph (right).

During the review of the previous model, the Calibre 11 view was that dive watches should be watches, rather than Chronographs..but that has changed with these new models, where the Calibre 16 model looks to be the pick of the range.

Hopefully we’ll be able to get the two Aquaracer 500m Chronographs together over the next few weeks to see how the thickness and weight of the new model compares both to the 2010 model and the Calibre 5 Aquaracer.

 

***

Photos courtesy of TAG Heuer

Home » Aquaracer, Calibre 16, Current Model, Diver Watches
  • Robert

    Looks really nice, congrats!

    I wonder if the bracelet clasp is a bit re-designed, maybe to something like that of the most recent IWC Fliegerchrono bracelet clasp?

    I also wonder how smaller the Helium valve is, cannot be really seen on these scans.

    I hope that finally the TOP version of the ETA 7750 will find its place in the case (Glucydur balance wheel…) or is it the Sellita already? Anyway, who will tell which grade of movement is that, mainly regarding the "pacemaker"…

    Dial and bezel colour options? I'd go for a blue or blackeye-blue…

    How many ratches does the bezel have? Previous had 120.

    Now the day-date feature (like on the last but one version) is still missing for me to go and get one. Knowing the base movement it is really only a decision question by TAG-Heuer management.

    SO TH, please cut another hole into the dial and let the weekday display shine again!

    Best,

    Robert

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Hi Robert,

    Don't have a lot of answers at the moment. I'd expect the helium value to be smaller than the 2010 model, just as it is on the new Calibre 5.

    For movements, while there may be a couple of ETAs that sneak in, I would expect the majority of volume to come from Sellita

    At this stage, I believe that there is only a black-dial option…but you'd think other colours will eventually follow.

    Cheers

  • Robert

    Thx David for your prompt reply!

    For me the only deal-breaker is if there'll be no day-date variant.

    A nice "cold" blue dial with a black bezel (and of course the day-date windows at 3) – that would be really something! :)

    I think that manufacturing two types of dial is a no-cost project :) see the different versions of the Carreras – just to stay at TH…

    Best,

    Robert

  • KJ

    Thanks DC, very nice watch indeed!

    Do u know what's the lug size for this? Thanks.

  • Mike K

    That looks really nice. I'm not convinced that the new 500m 3-hand watch is better than the previous design, but when it comes to the chronograph this new design is way better. It looks so good.

  • Mike K

    They even got the color of the date disk right.

  • Trevor

    When is this scheduled to start hitting ADs?

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Not until 2013 Trevor- not sure exactly, but my guess is Q1 2013.

    Mike agree that the new Chrono looks really good- would be nice to have a blue dial/ blue bezel option…and maybe a couple of other colours as Robert says.

    KJ, not sure on lug size, but hope its 20mm or 22mm. Too hard to find non-TAG Heuer options for 21mm

    dc

  • Robert

    And a day-date option :) (Ceterum censeo Cartaginem esse delendam…)

    And make sure there's a TOP version 7750 inside with Glucydur balance wheel and Nivarox I. hairspring…

    Best,

    Robert

  • Robert

    One more thing occurred to mind, sorry if it has been discussed earlier:

    If a true diver's watch (Helium valve, etc. :) ) happens to be a chronograph some safety has to go against pushing water into the case when swimming/diving. This can be achieved theoretically either by screw-down pushers (like a. o. my Breitling Chrono Superocean) or by pushers usable underwater (like on the Omega Seamaster Chronos, the Sinn U1000 or on my IWC Aquatimer Chrono). Of course best is not to use chronograph when in water but an additional safety against (or when) using the chrono pushers by chance.

    It looks like the pushers on the AR Chrono are not screw-down :) , but I haven't read anything about her pushers usable underwater. Anyone expert chiming in?

    Thx

    • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

      Hi Robert,

      Not sure on the Chronograph question…but I suspect that this one can't be operated underwater. They're certainly not screw-down.

      Will see what I can find.

      dc

  • Mike

    So now the aquaracer looks exactly like a submariner. Why would anyone purchase it?

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Mike,

    Agree that the 3-hand watch is very similar (but no more so than a Planet Ocean), but this Chrono version is quite different to the Rolex.

    Either way, I think its a shame that they didn't carry over some of the distinctive elements of the previous 500m series.

    dc

  • Mike

    To me, what made the 2010 version unique was the texture of the watch. The narrow longtitudinal lines on the face, the ridges on the bezel. Tag is not Rolex and that is a good thing.

    This 2013 version seems to be a cop-out. Mimic a submariner. I always saw TH as about creating the nuances in their pieces that separate their lines from the competition's.

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Don't disagree that the new Aquaracer 500m series is not as distinctive as it used to be. And that's a shame.

    But as much as anything TAG is going back to its original TAG Heuer 1000 look. When that model was introduced in 1978, Rolex complained that the design was too close to the Submariner..but that went nowhere. TAG Heuer have been using that design template for 35 years now.

    So, yes, like many dive watches the design is close to Rolex..but it always has been- at least until the 2010 Aquaracer 500m series, which I guess is your point.

    dc

  • Robert

    I don§t mind a black ceramic bezel reminding me on the Sub. I mind a lot more that Helium escape valve 1. being there and and looking bad and 2. going after Omega.

    I strongly think that the "one dozen persons" on Earth doing saturation diving will always use the Sea-Dweller or a Seamaster, so trying to find a few new buyers by placing an escape valve on the watch cannot bring too much gain but makes the watch a tad more expensive and creates one more place that needs sealing and thus being a water hazard. If TH really wants to use an escape valve, why not use a recessed one like on the Sea-Dweller (and many others thoughout the watch industry) and place it on the case at 9 o'clock, and this way the thicker case part at 9 could finally have a "function" while it is only a design element ever since this line has been created some time in the nineties or so.

    But what bugs me even more is the missing weekday feature. But I've already written more than enough about all these earlier.

    And slowly-slowly the standard in this category is the quick micro adjust on the bezel clasp. Examples that come to my mind are the Rolex divers, the Breitling Ocean Racer rubber strap clasp and the newer IWC clasps on the Da Vinci, the Pilot and from now on the Inge lines.

    I hope someone at TH does also read these comments. Come on T! :)

  • Robert

    Sorry for a few misprints above!

    So in short:

    1. basis for an extremely nice TH is given with the new AR Chrono Calibre 16.

    2. weekday feature at 3

    3. get rid of the He valve or place a recessed one at 9

    4. quick micro adjust clasp on the bracelet

    Enormous success is programmed.

    Hope the best. Robert

  • Lucien

    In keeping with the theme of helium escape valve, I agree, loose it to a recessed option. My only wait & see is whether TH (self renowned & self proclaimed) timing experts across a multitude of sports go back to grass roots & actually put easily read chrono sub hands. Far to often fashion over functionality see tiny slimline sub dial stopwatch register hands in reflective silver against light background sub dials.

    For me I really hope this new model has nice crisp white sub dial register hands agaist those precise looking black sub dials faces & markings.

  • Robert

    Totally agree on subdial hands, but that's the point you can change whenever after purchase. (Alright, warranty issue…) Best ever subdial hand I've seen is that of the IWC Aquatimer Chrono ref. 3767 (I have the Cousteau Edition, btw. day-date :) ) Almost as visible as a chrono hand from the center…

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Thanks for the comments Gents:

    – Agree that the helium valve is for appearances only- its a way of differentiating between the 300m and 500m models. Yes, its something that very, very few owners will ever use…but you could say that of 1/ 10th features on a Chronograph…let alone the 500m rating. Who is going diving to 500m?

    – I agree 100% on the micro-adjustable bracelets. I've only seen one of these on a TAG Heuer- the one on the Monaco LS

    – I'm not that fussed by the Day feature- to be honest, I don't even use the date function

    Do people from TAG Heuer read these comments? Yes, they do…

    dc

  • Ron

    DC, do you think there will be a Blackout edition for the calibre 16?

    Regards

    Ron

    • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

      Yes, I do ;)

  • Ben

    Hi DC, any idea when this model will be made available at ADs? We are one month away from the end of Q1 2013 and still no sight or sound from TAG yet…

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Hi Ben,

    Will check it out for you…should be soon.

    dc

  • Ben

    Cheers, DC. Will wait for your insights.

  • Sebastian

    Do you actually know whether the line saying "500M/1600ft" will be off-centre as it is in the picture. It simply does not align with the line saying Aquaracer, which looks plainly horrible. There are other pictures on the internet where, interestingly, the design seems to be slightly different.
    http://www.juwelier-roller.de/bilder/artbild/tag-
    Where, David, did you get the pictures from and do you know whether they are official yet?

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Sebastian,

    Good question. These are pre-production images, and the final design of the watch can- and often does- change.

    My photos are direct from TAG Heuer.

    Cheers

    David

  • Sebastian

    I had contact to Tag and according to them image shown here is not correct and the writing will be centred as shown here: http://www.juwelier-roller.de/bilder/artbild/tag-….
    I have suggested to them to circulate new pictures over the internet.

  • Michael

    Will this watch ever appear in the flesh ?

    I cant see it now being Q1, as there hasnt been a sqeak from TAG about it and you would expect to see some build-up publicity ahead of launch.

    I read somewhere that the yachting countdown timer version will be released in September to coincide with the Americas Cup yacht race event, so i fear that this one might be similarly late to the party.

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Hi Michael,

    I've checked with TAG Heuer Australia this morning: it's due to be in the stores (at least in Australia) in March, but it's not in stock as of today.

    Should only be a couple of weeks away….

    dc

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Further update: They are in stock at the Melbourne boutique, with more expected in the next two weeks.

    Understand that this is a very Australia-centric answer, but should give you some comfort that if its not at your AD now, it will be very shortly

    dc

  • Sebastian

    It is now also online on the Tag Heuer site and the writing is indeed aligned.

    David, could you please find out whether the buttons of the chrono can actually be used underwater?

  • Andy

    From the Quality Section, 01 Water-Resistance:

    The professional diving chronograph, the Aquaracer 500M, must also pass a special test to verify that its push-buttons are water-resistant and operational down to 500m. This procedure has required specific testing equipment to be created.

  • hadrian

    I've been holding back from buying the aquaracer 500 due to the rubber part in the bezel. Having read that the new aquaracer 500 has a ceramic bezel really turned on my desire to buy one but let down by the fact that there is still rubber parts, now on the crown and pushers. I really don't know why TH uses rubber parts. But the rubber parts of TH formula 1 kimi I have fell apart after 4 years. And I really don't think a watch like the new aquaracer 500 should last only 4 years, it's just not worth it. Some say that it's hard rubber and different than the rubber from those of F1's, but hey, rubber is still rubber, it will fall apart someday.

  • http://www.calibre11.com David Chalmers

    Yes, there a rubber finish on the Chrono pushers are around the crown- much less than the previous model.

    I haven't heard any comments on problems with wear on the 500m model..does anyone have any feedback?

    dc

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  • GEOFF

    Hello David,

    I was wondering if you can please answer a few of my questions regarding my Tag Heuer Aquaracer Chrono 500m I purchased yesterday. It is the exact model which is above on this webpage. I have been experiencing a slight difficulty when screwing in the crown after I adjusted the time/date. It seemed to have trouble catching into the thread, and when I did turn it clockwise, I experience a slight noise almost as if was not screwing into the threads smoothly. It resembled almost like a hissing/rubbing noise. This frightened me at first, so I did not twist or attempted to put in the crown any further and there was a slight gap between the crown and the case. I called the AD where I bought it from and the Branch Manager asked if I can meet her today so she can take a look at it. In the meantime yesterday, I did a lot of research online and discovered many others were having issues with their Tag Heuer Aquaracer model and its crown either not screwing in all the way or it being "stripped."

    I took in my watch to the AD today and amazingly the Branch Manager was able to screw it on all the way to the case(crown sits flush against case) and stated I should "man handle it in whenever I tightened the crown." With that being said, I wanted to ask you from an expert (with Tags) point of view. Is what she said true? Does it take a bit of force for the crown to screw into the case or is it a design flaw from Tag?

    Another question I have for you is being that my watch is an automatic, to self wind I just unscrew the crown slowly and at the first pop out, I began to twist it counter clockwise to wound it up? I also noticed when it is twisted counterclockwise at that exact crown position, a slight clicking is heard at it rotates counterclockwise. Am I winding up the watch movement correctly?

    Any information from you would be greatly appreciated Sir.

    Respectfully submitted

    Geoffrey

    • MJM

      I just talked to TAG directly. The noise you heard is the watch winding while being screwed in. Perfectly normal. And it does take some oomph. Push in and twist. I have the CAK2111 and love it.

  • http://www.calibre11.com Calibre 11

    Hi Geoff,

    Yes, there were reports that the previous model has some issues with the threading of the crown. I'm not sure how wide-spread the issue was- I had one of the Aquaracer 500m and didn't have a problem.

    Having said that, I haven't read a single complaint about the new 2013 models, which is the one that you have. It seems as though the issue is now fixed.

    But of course, its still possible to thread the crown if not used correctly. I'm not sure on the "man handle" advice…doesn't sound right to me.

    I'd keep an eye on your watch and take it back at the first sign of any problems and while the watch is under warranty.

    dc

  • Robert

    If the blue dial version (CAK2112.BA0833) had the day-date feature (standard on the Valjoux 7750 / Sellita SW500) this watch could just be one of the best out there! For me e. g. the only deal-breaker is the missing weekday window.

  • Sandy Z

    I've hot a 2010 chrono 500m aquaracer
    Will the new ceramic bezel fit on it?

    • http://www.calibre11.com Calibre 11

      Hi Sandy- no, I don't think it will..case size is different..

      dc

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