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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