In Depth Review- 2010 TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m Full Black

The arrival of  the new Aquaracer 500m Full Black at Topper Jewelers is the opportunity for the second “Topper’s Corner” on Calibre 11. I love the all-black look of the Full Black and it reminds me of the Sinn U1 Black that I loved and owned for a while. TAG Heuer have really revived the black-on-black look over the last couple of years, with black case versions of the Monaco, Grand Carrera, Formula One and now Aquaracer joining the range.

I had a quick look at one of these in the TAG Heuer store in Melbourne last week, but didn’t get a chance to compare it to the stainless steel model to check the differences. So, over to Rob from Topper Jewelers for that comparison and his review of the new Aquaracer.

The 500M is the most avant-garde model in the Aquaracer series, and the new Full Black 500m (Ref. WAJ2180) introduces many new design elements that build on last year’s popular WAJ2110 all steel watch to be the most modern looking of the range. Now that we have the Full Black Aquaracer in the store, we wanted to show you some detailed photos of TAG Heuer’s latest offering in the Aquaracer family, including some comparison shots with its all-steel brother.

Design and case

Last year’s 500m Aquaracer brought in several modern features, such as a “cyclops” over the date window at  9’oclock, a vertical dial treatment and an innovative hard rubber bezel with applied numerals.  These were paired with  functional dive attributes, such as an automatic helium escape valve, easily adjustable heavy rubber strap and a larger, easy-grip crown.   The result was a unique juxtaposition of style and function that looked dramatically different from all the Aquaracers and the 2000 Classic and 2000 Exclusive watches that had predated it.   The new Full Black retains the same basic design DNA of the Aquaracer 500m Steel and then adds its own design flourishes to give it a more modern, stealth look.

As is suggested by the name, the dial, bezel, case, crown, strap screws, rubber strap, and movement are all a subtle matted black.  Indeed only the bezel highlights, titanium deployment buckle, and helium escape valve aren’t black, and the watch’s main source of contrast from its all-black look is  the bright yellow and green superluminova on the hands, 12 o’clock bezel pip, and markers.

As to the composition of the case, we can assure the Calibre11 community that the case is made from light-weight titanium and not merely titanium-coated steel. Our store scale weighs the Full black including the rubber strap and buckle at 98.2 grams.  The similarly configured WAJ2110 steel watch weighs 130.3 grams.

The result of this titanium case and buckle is a large bold watch, yet with a weight very similar to the smaller  38mm Aquaracer.   TAG’s deployment buckle is also designed with the user’s comfort in mind.  Most deployment buckles on high end watches still utilize pre-set holes.  On this style of strap, the user must decide which hole he wants to slot the buckle.  The TAG deployment buckle utilizes pressure to close it, which means that as a wearer’s wrist size changes due to weather or other reasons, the wearer can make as finite an adjustment as desired  so they are never between holes.

The pressure system of the TAG deployment clasp allows for the smallest of micro- adjustments.

Picture of the double button titanium clasp in locked position

TAG is a veteran at making Black PVD watches, and in their 2010 line they consistently pair PVD with titanium.  The Aquaracer 500m Full Black is now the third current production PVD titanium watch as it joins the Formula 1 Chronograph, and the Grand Carerra RS Chronographs in this regard.

The Aquaracer 500m Full Black PVD (middle) along with the Grand Carrera Calibre 17 RS2 CAV518B.FC6237  $7,200 (right) and CAH1012 Titanium Formula 1 Quartz Chronograph $1,450 (left)

Customer satisfaction regarding coated watches is something a jeweller finds out about months or years after purchase.  While one can certainly appreciate the subtle texture of the finish at the moment of purchase, wearability is always a primary concern with black watches and something that is revealed over time.  Fortunately, the black electroplated watches from 1980s are in the distant rear view mirror.

Back then we would have clients come into the store with watches that had appeared to bleed and had revealed  white spots that provided an unattractive contrast to the coating.  This “bleeding” would begin shortly after purchase.   While it is certainly possible to scratch a modern generation PVD case, we have never had a customer come into the store with a current generation TAG PVD watch they’ve purchased and complained that the color had mysteriously eroded.  I asked Ali Portillo, who processes most of our repairs if she ever  had a customer complain about the PVD coating on one of this new generation watches.  At the risk of jinxing our client’s good fortune with this generation of product, she confirmed that bleeding has only come up on with the vintage electroplated pieces.

The TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500 M Full Black should be considered for someone who wants a watch that is daring and different.  At US$2,750 the watch is only a slight premium over its US$2,550 steel counterpart.  We think this watch will be one of the runaway hits of the holiday season and have ample quantities available.

Below are some close up photos of different aspects of the watch and comparison photos with WAJ2110.FT6015

The TAG Heuer Caliber 5 movement through the with its “smoked” finish, consistent with the rest of the look

Comparison with TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m Stainless Steel

Below is the Full Black Aquaracer WAJ2180 pictured with the stainless steel Aquaracer 500m, reference number WAJ2110.

  • mark

    Excellent review, the all black 500M aquaracer is a winner in my book, sharp looks, and style a very nice diver watch to add to any collection

  • wynonie

    Very interesting review – thanks. I must say, the new Aquaracers have really grown on me, this one especially. Its such an important line, as a link to the old, and much loved, 1000 and 2000 series that it carries so much heritage. I think they nail it here – sporty, well built, obviously high quality.

    I've got a Heuer pvd 1000 series from the very early 80's – maybe its time to upgrade?

    • DC

      Agree that this one is very tempting- great weekend watch, especially as Southern Hemp. heads into summer…

      I've been wondering if the black rubber strap from the Grand Carrera Calibre 36 will fit the Aquaracer? Wonder how that would look?


  • Jay

    Great review! I think i just found my new watch. I've never had a full black watch and this could be my first one. I have a vintage heuer diver and i think it's only fitting i get this plus the fact that the tag heuer 2000 series was the one got me into watches.

  • Diogo oliveira

    Hi there.
    I was wondering how much the WAJ2110 with stainless steel bracelet would weigh. Is it possible to provide this info ?
    Thank you.
    Best regards.

  • Mike K

    There is only one word to describe this watch… bad-ass! I can totally picture Batman wearing this watch over his bat suit.

    Man, I was saving up to get the steel version of the 500m. Now this watch comes along and makes my life complicated. Do I play it safe and get the steel, which is less daring and more office job friendly? Or do I say screw it and get this bad-ass mofo?!? Argggg….

  • clive

    Aquaracer Full Black – I want one but not with the foldable strap – does anyone know if it can be fitted with a Pin Buckle ???? – the retailers I have spoken to have all said no – but the steel aquaracer has a pin buckle???

  • DC

    Its a tough strap to replace- Firstly, its a 21mm lug and secondly you have the end pieces to take into account.

    Based on looking at mine, I'd be surprised if you could get a pin bucle to fit properly- I mean, one will fit, but the problem with be making it fir nicely against the lugs.

    Please let us know how you go


  • clive


    Thanks for your reply. I am looking for a luxury alternative to my traser 'black storm pro' watch which has a 22mm Nato strap. This is a Pin buckle nylon strap which is ultra thin & comfortable & ideal for sports/military because it never catches on anything. A silicone rubber strap is chunkier & wont shape to the wrist like nylon does. Its a shame the choice of strap is limited with the aquaracer – on the other hand I just saved myself $2,000 so its not so bad!

  • DC


    I have one of these Full Black Aquaracers and have put mine on a NATO and thought it looked quite good- only issue was that I only had a 20mm NATO, so really need to find a 21mm.

    What about the Isofrane straps? http://www.isofrane.com/


  • George

    Hi David,

    I think in later posts you mentioned owning this watch. I just got my hands on one from my local AD and I love it! Probably not since my aquagraph have I been this happy with a TAG diver. They really nailed the design on this one and pictures just don't do it justice.

    However, the one thing I noticed was that the crown doesn't screw down as silky smooth as my steel watches. Is this something you noticed with yours? I'm wondering if that is just normal "feel" for a titanium watch.

  • DC

    Hi George, Yes I have one of these- am wearing it now…in fact, I wear it most weekends.

    I haven't noticed any problems with the crown- but being a titanium case shouldn't make any difference to how the crown screws in- might be worth getting a look at if its worrying you.


  • Dian

    Why i cant read a review tag heuer aquaracer calibre 5 WAJ 2110 BA 0870…please posting….

  • DC

    Hi Dian,

    You're asking about the Calibre 5 Automatic Watch version of the Aquaracer 500m- i.e the same watch as the one above, but with a stainless steel case.

    Sadly, there are only so many hours in the day that I can review models, so not everything gets covered!


  • AM

    See I owned one of these full black aquaracers but i had to return it because the threads on the crown go and the crown wouldn't close anymore , this happened three times to me. Do you know if they fixed this problem for the full black chronograph


  • DC

    Hi AM,

    Yes, I have heard of these problems, as I mention in the article on the new Full Black Chronograph. I never had that problem with mine, so hard for me to comment from personal experience, other than to note that you are not the only one to have had problems.

    I don't know if the issue has been tracked down, but you'd certainly hope so.