CAJ2180.FT6023

First Look: Aquaracer 500m Chronograph Full Black

Given that one of the most popular 2010 TAG Heuer releases was the Aquaracer 500m Full Black watch, it comes as no surprise that a year later we now have an Aquaracer 500m Chronograph with the Full Black treatment.

The Full Black formula is pretty straight forward- take the Aquaracer 500m 3-hand watch, swap the stainless steel case for a lightweight titanium case (coated in titanium-carbide) and add bright Green/ Yellow (Lime?) highlights. Even the crystal caseback is “smoked” to give the watch the full stealth treatment- if you can call any watch with bright Lime hands “Stealth”.

Living with the Full Black Calibre 5

I bought a Full Black Calibre 5 a year ago when I was looking for a summer watch. It was the first Aquaracer that I’d owned, and I was looking forward to seeing if the watch lived up to the hype.

The only elements of the design that I was unsure of before I bought the watch was the rubber bezel. It’s an unusual material- not a soft rubber as you might expect. I was concerned about how the rubber on the bezel and crown would wear with time, but have to say that I noticed no wear at all over 12 months on either the bezel or the crown, which is also coated in rubber.

Some owners have reported problems with the crown tube striping on the Calibre 5, but again, I had no problems. Because I typically wore the Full Black only on weekends, I was winding and setting the time every week, so I probably unscrewed the crown more than most owners.

Overall I was very happy with the watch- the titanium case makes a real difference to the weight on the wrist (98 grams vs. 130 grams for the stainless steel version) and seemed to resist scratches well. It’s not a design that works all that well with a suit, but is great as a casual option.

The only part of the watch that I would change is the pattern on the rubber strap, which I think is too fussy given that the bezel and the dial are heavily patterned. TAG Heuer have some very cool smooth finish rubber straps (such as the one used on the Grand Carrera Calibre 36), and I would have preferred a plain finish to contrast with the dial and bezel.

And given that this a a “Full Black”, I wonder how the watch would look with a “blacked out” Bezel rather  than the bright silver finish.

Aquaracer 500m Full Black Calibre 16

As you can see, the Aquaracer Calibre 16 Full Black follows closely the design of the Calibre 5 model, with the design differences being the same as those between the standard watch and Chronograph models.Apart from the obvious additions of the three Chronograph sub-dials, the Calibre 16 Aquaracer has the date function and cyclops back in the traditional 3 o’clock position, unlike the watch which has the date at 9 o’clock.

  • Ben

    Whilst in the Tag boutique in Melbourne last week I saw an all black Aquaracer 500, however with the standard black dial (standard white index's and orange second hand) and the rose gold bezel.

    It look brilliant!

    Any ideas on this model?

    Is it a boutique only model?

    All I know is I need it!

  • Tman

    Any pic of the case back ?

  • moses

    i agree with you on the watch band. I would much prefer a standard smooth rubber strap. I purchased this last year and wear it to work.

    No problems at all.

    great read on a great site!

    keep up the fantastic work!

  • Matt

    Great Tag Heuer watch! Very stylish, I like the colors.

  • Himawan

    Hi David,

    I've got myself this stainless steel watch version. It was love at the first sight. Great watch, reasonable price. It's the bezel that makes it unique. Hope to see the rubber endures for years, as I wear it almost everyday.

    Interesting on how you wear it on weekends. What do you wear on weekdays, David? :)

  • Tony

    Nice…

    If I want one and there is no boutiques in my area…what are my options?

    Can I call a boutique and buy by phone?

  • DC

    Hi Ben,

    Yes, that is another Boutique-special. I haven't been able to grab a photo of that one yet. From memory, there is also a white-dial Aquaracer with a white strap.

    T-man, no Caseback photo yet…but hope its smoked

    Thanks Matt and Moses- we're on the same page re: straps. Seems to be my number one whine these days.

    Himawan, my collection is either re-edition TAG Heuers or the original Heuers. My favourite for work is the Blue Silverstone (Heuer).

    Tony- good question. Yes, I reckon order by phone is your only shot.

    Cheers

    David

  • Ben

    Awesome.

    Thanks David.

    I think I might have to grab the black boutique one for me and the white for the missus to keep her happy!

  • Keltoi

    Very cool watch, I am reminded of what Nigel Tufnel once said

    "There's something about this that's so black, it's like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

  • DC

    Good thinking Ben- expensive solution, but sometimes there is no other way!

    Keltoi, I'm familiar with the great Phil Tufnel, but not Nigel. Either way, he's right in this case

    dc

  • wynonie

    This looks great. They've nailed it. Thanks for the write up David.

    I notice they've gone for COSC certification on one of the more conventional Cal 16 divers ( saw it on the TH website). A shame they didn't do that here in my opinion – I think the pvd gives it a real premium finish and adding COSC would have put this firmly at the top of the Aquaracer range.

    I've got an old Heuer PVD 'Black Coral' which I still wear sometimes…but I think an upgrade is due!

  • ALV

    The Las Vegas TAG Heuer Boutique has the chronograph titanium piece. Call them for any questions. 702.380.2820

  • LHL

    I just received my full black chronograph aquaracer that I purchased from the Boutique in Las Vegas. Let me start by saying that this watch looks much nicer in person. I am so glad I purchased this watch. I know many have wondered if the back is a smoked exhibition and it’s not. It’s very similar to the stainless steel version, but this one is titanium and all black. Another thing I noticed right away is that since the dial and sub dials are all black and the hands are yellow/green colored, it makes the watch look very clean and easy to read. On the steel version many have stated that it looks a bit cluttered and not as easy to read as with the non-chronograph version. You don’t have this problem with the all black. The weight of the watch is perfect. Since it’s a 44mm and made out of titanium instead of steel, the watch is not heavy, but at the same time it is not to light. If anyone is really considering purchasing this watch, I would totally recommend it. Another thing to keep in mind, this watch is a limited production which means they are only making a small quantity and once they are all sold that is it. I got one of the last two at the Boutique in Las Vegas. I’m sure they will get some more in, but who knows when.

  • DC

    Thanks LHL.

    If you have the chance, we'd love to see some real-life photos of the watch- you can send them to me on info@calibre11.com and I'll post them here.

    David

  • LHL

    I will send you some photos for you to post. I am not a professional photographer, but I will send you several for you to pick the best shots. I also posted a small video on YouTube. This is my first video, but since no one else had done one on this watch I felt that it would be a good idea to do one. If you want to see it, I believe you can enter this site; http://youtu.be/E_iWiGq3kI8 if that doesn't work just do a search and enter (Tag Heuer Aquaracer 500m Chronograph Full Black).

  • DC

    Luis, you are far too modest- excellent photos, so thanks for sharing.

    David

  • Alex Martinez

    beautiful review. However I think the crown issue deserves a little more attention than just one line. I, unfortunately, was one of those people who had trouble with the crown… Its a beautiful watch, and I always got compliments for it, but I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone. I had the watch for 6 months (also a weekend wear) and it took another 6 months to have it repaired. When I got it back, the case back was scratched. When I confronted the "boutique" tag store, they said that they didn't have a replacement part (since the watch was so rare they said). They allowed me to return it… I got my money back. I put in the difference and got myself an omega PO. I loved my tag, but I wouldn't buy another one until the crown issue is fixed…

  • LHL

    I would like to thank you David for this wonderful article and review. Your article and review is what got my attention and decided to purchase my watch. I was originally going to purchase the stainless steel version, but when I read your review and saw what the watch would look like in all black, I made the decision to go with the all black one.

  • LHL

    Sorry Alex to hear about your bad experience with your Calibre 5 watch. I had a similar thing happen to me with another Luxury brand watch. I was very disappointed and thought that company was not worth spending my money on. I eventually spoke to someone else about what had happened to me and was told that the screw down crown is similar to a nut and bolt. When you push it in to screw, it has to fit right before you actually start turning it, otherwise it will strip. When I was told that it made sense, but I still felt like that should not happen. In any case, I got the watch repaired and fallowed the advice that I was given. Since then, I have not had any more problems and did purchase another watch from that company without further issues. I hope you don’t turn away from Tag completely and give them another try. Tag Heuer makes some wonderful watches and not to mention how nice they look as well. I will post updates on my watch and let everyone know how it’s working out for me. As for now, I totally recommend this Tag Heuer watch.

  • DC

    Hi Alex,

    Did you have problems with the Full Black model? This one came out several months after the standard Aquaracer 500m. I don't recall hearing any problems with the Full Black model, so maybe something was changed?

    Either way, agree with you that 6 months is far too long to get this resolved, let alone to get it back damaged. I'd be annoyed in your shoes as well.

    David

  • LHL

    Hi David,

    Just wanted to let you know that I sent you one more photo through email of the watch in night view in case you would like to add that to the rest of the photos in this article review.

    <img src="http://www.calibre11.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/17.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    The watch index markers and hands light up very bright and stay lite for quite some time. Makes telling time in low light much easier

  • DC

    Great Shot Luis- many thanks

  • LHL

    You can get this watch only at a Tag Heuer Boutique. The cost is $4,000 Dollars. They are very limited in production so it might be a little difficult to find. If you do find one and are able to get it I would highly recommend it.

  • Matt

    Was in Vegas last week and went into the boutique. Purchased the Aquaracer 500m. The boutique only had two left for purchase. Everyone is correct that this watch is limited production. Only 20 of them were made.

    I have a few Tags and this one by far is the coolest.

  • LHL

    Matt,

    Congratulations on your purchase. This is a very cool watch and with the lime color markers and hands it makes it very easy to read. I wear mine just about every day and I still don't have one scratch on it. Also, I have not had any issues with it what so ever. I'll actually be in Vegas in the next few weeks. Let's see what else I find out there. Enjoy your wonderful new time piece.

  • LHL

    Matt,

    How did you find out that they only made 20?

  • DC

    I don't know how many were made…but I can't believe that its only 20. Maybe 20 for the US market, but it just wouldn't make sense to make so few given the much larger number of TAG Heuer boutqiues that exist.

    Either way, they're not common!

    David

  • LHL

    I contacted the sales rep I dealt with at the Las Vegas boutique. I asked him if he could confirm if Tag Heuer only made 20 of this full black chronograph model. He ended up emailing me a page where it has 20 pieces for the USA boutique. He also clarified and stated that each boutique around the world would only get 20 pieces. He also explained that what he didn’t know is if Tag Heuer was eventually going to make more after each boutique sold out of their 20 in stock. So in any case, these are still very rare watches and the chances of you bumping into anyone with one of these time pieces is going to be very slim.

    As for diving with this watch. I actually have, but with the steel version. Since the full black model came out in November, I will have to wait until summer to try this one. The steel version did very well; I did not have any problems. What I did do though, once I was done diving I rinsed the watch very well to remove all the salt water.

  • JR

    I was also in Vegas a few days ago and purchased the black Aquaracer 500m at a Boutique,The sales person also said it was the last of 2 and that there were only 20 made world wide. I do not care if there is 1000 made, I liked the watch. Just started collecting Tags a few years ago and really like the history of the company.

    James.

  • JR

    By the way, has anyone actually used the watch for diving, I would like to know how it performed.

  • DC

    Thanks for chasing this down LHL- agree that at only 20 for the entire US market it's still very rare.

    I don't believe there will be any more of this watch made after the initial run.

    dc

  • John

    I hope they have fixed the crown & tube problem that has troubled the Aquaracer 500. I have owned one for 12 months and it is back for it's 2nd repair @ $120 = $90 shipping!!!

  • DC

    Hi John,

    I never had any problems with my Aquaracer 500m- but it appears that some have. Certainly you wouldn't expect anything on a watch like this to need repair twice in 12 months.

    David

  • Matt

    Update to my post From Feb 9th.

    A couple of weeks ago I went into Jarrod the Galleria of Jewelry in my small town in the Midwest. They had three of the watches at there store. Compared one of them with my boutique exclusive. Watches were identical. Called the LV Boutique and they didn't believe me and stated that they would check with Tag. They called me back and found out they released it to Jarrod also but would not tell me a number. While at the Jarrod store the sales lady said the company had SEVERAL and I would not have to worry about them selling out. Asked if that several was in the single digits. She said mid three digits. So the price at Jarrod was $800 less than the boutique.

    So the watch I had was returned to the Boutique.

  • LHL

    I just recently visited the Las Vegas Boutique and spoke to the sales person I always deal with. These watches are no longer being made. Jared Jewelers actually purchased several pieces from the boutique not from Tag directly. What the TH Boutique and Jared Jewelers have on hand is what is left. It was explained that these were going to be limited production and rare. That still stands true.

  • DC

    Thanks for the update

    dc

  • Justin

    I was just messing around online sunday and came across this beautiful watch by accident. Really wasn’t looking to spend a few k at that moment but something drew me to this piece. The more I looked online to find out more about it, I could not find anything. Came across this site and want to say thanks for everyone’s insight. I decided to run up to a Jared in Illinois during lunch break on Monday just to see if they had it by chance and they did. Spotted this timepiece right away in the case and for some reason didn’t pull the trigger on it then. Went home and couldn’t stop thinking about getting this watch so ran back up there on tuesday and had to purchase it. Spoke with the lady and she didn’t know the exact availability but they only had one and said she thinks somewhere in 350 range total. Guess another lady there called a regular customer to let him know they had the watch after I came in and looked at it. Want to say I’m very pleased with the purchase I just justify in my head making.

    Appreciate the article DC and everyone’s comments

  • LHL

    Justin,

    Congratulations on your purchase.Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

    I have had mine since November when it first came out. I wear it every day and have not had one problem with it. I still don’t have any scratches on it and catches many people’s attention because of the lime green markers and hands. I still love this watch and truly believe that it’s one of the best looking and well made time pieces by Tag Heuer.

  • DC

    Justin, nothing quite like the unexpected Sunday purchase!

    Enjoy

    dc

  • Paul Cox

    I purchase the all black with the rose gold bezel from a friend that got his at the LV Boutique. Does anybody know how many we're made. The ref is WA22182 which comes up with nothing on a google search
    Thanks

  • NMS

    Bought this watch a month ago, simply love it…it has stunning appeal being titanium its very light too

  • LHL

    Very nice watch. Congratulations.

  • spidaman

    I just saw this watch at my local Costco–at deep discount, of course. It looks much nicer "in the flesh" than the pics suggest. Beautiful!

  • LHL

    Service on my full black 500m chrono Aquaracer Part 1.
    I purchased my all black chronograph Aquaracer as soon as it made its appearance on November of 2011. I wear it just about every day and it still looks as good as when I first purchased it. I did start noticing that time was advancing quicker than it should and would have to adjust the time weekly. I also noticed that when I would screw in the crown that it did not seem to turn very much before it locked into place. I couldn’t remember if that is how it was or if it has gotten that way. The watch is still under warranty and decided to contact the Boutique where I purchased it from in the USA.
    Please read on to Part 2.

  • LHL

    Service on full black 500m chrono Aquaracer Part 2.
    I spoke to the same person who sold it to me and has kept in contact with me ever since I purchased this watch making sure that I am still pleased with my time piece and to remind me that he is available if I ever needed his assistance in any way. When I contacted him and explained to him my concerns, he right away assured me that he would help me and would take care of shipping the watch for me with an explanation to the service department of the issues I was concerned about.
    Please Read on to Part 3.

  • LHL

    Service on full black 500m chrono Aquaracer Part 3.
    I got the watch out to him; the service department contacted me as soon as they received it and had it back to me all within a month. The watch came in very well packaged and was amazed at how well they did with the service. A letter came with my watch explaining everything they had done including the replacement of the crown. I have had it for about a week now and everything seems to be working properly as it did when I first purchased my watch. I am very glad I own a Tag Heuer Time piece and the customer service that I have received from the person that I have been in contact with since day one has been exceptional. The service center did a fantastic job as well and I am very grateful.
    I wanted to post my experience for those who own or are considering of owning a Tag Heuer time piece.

  • Hi Luis,

    Thanks for taking the time to give this feedback. Too often, the only time that you read any comments about servicing watches is when the owner has had a bad experience and is looking to vent their spleen!

    Sounds like in this case, TAG Heuer got it right- good to also hear that this came from the TH Boutique…after all, if you don't get top service from the official company owned store, then it doesn't bode well.

    David

  • Scotti b

    Great to hear you had great service. I’ve owned the full black chrono for just over a year now with no problems. I only wear it at weekends, so I’m always adjusting the crown, I always use the tag heure logo on the crown as a reference point for releasing and retightenting!!! These watches have a oversized crown so you can accidently overtighten the internal threads of the crown. Finger tight is all that’s needed to make a good seal! It’s a fantastic watch to own, a lot different to the stainless steel tags I’ve always had. The titanium case takes some getting used to because its so light. Cheers scotti b.

  • Scotti b

    I’m sure here in the UK TAG Heuer are covering any crown issues under warranty, which is reassuring.