Continuing on the fast pace of new models this year comes perhaps TAG’s most important mainstream release for 2011- the new Link series. Along with the Carrera, the Link is one of the top-selling TAG Heuer lines and is positioned as the “elegant” sports watch- you won’t see a Gulf-striped, PVD black versions any time soon.
First introduced in 1987 as the S/el, the range was re-named “Link” in 1999 after the distinctive “Double-S” shaped links in the bracelet. The design of the bracelet was one of the main points of differences of the watch, and the basic shape of the links continues today.
The 2011 TAG Heuer Link is a relatively gentle update of the last series that was released in 2007. On the left you see the 2011 Calibre S and on the right is the previous model. The case has been updated, with slightly shorter lugs, a shorter crown and re-designed, smaller Chronograph pushers. Moving to the dial itself and you notice that the vertical texturing used on many other TAG models finds its way onto the Link.
Overall, the re-design is aimed at making the dial appear larger and more “open”- notice how the hour markers are a thinner design and that the inner-bezel has been re-designed to also be thinner than the out-going model.
And of course, this wouldn’t be the Link series without that famous bracelet (Fast Fact: This is the sole TAG Heuer series that is only available on a bracelet), which has also received a new design. The “Double-S” links are still there, but they are flatter that the earlier model.
The changes between the old and new Calibre S model can also be seen across the new range- see the 2011 Link Calibre 16 Chronograph on the left and the old model on the right.
TAG Heuer Link Quartz Watch
Kicking off the Link range is the Quartz watch, which uses the ETA F06.111 movement and features a 40mm case. Like all of the new Links, the Quartz Watch is available with either a black or white dial- no other colours are available for the moment.
TAG Heuer Link Automatic Watch
Next up is the Link Automatic Watch (also 40mm), which is powered by the Calibre 6 movement (ETA 2895/2), the same movement used in the Grand Carrera Calibre 6 RS, but with a conventional second hand replacing the disc.
Again there is a use of different textures here- the vertical ridges on the dial, contrasted by the circular pattern of the sub-dial.
Below is the Calibre 6 Link range where you see two styles of fixed bezel offered- Roman and Arabic Numerals. The Link has been available for some time in markets such as Japan with Roman Numerals, and it’s not clear yet whether all markets will get both options, or whether there will be different bezels for different regions.
A quick word on the two-tone Steel and Gold Calibre 6 Link. Regular readers will know that I am no fan of two-tone watches, but I have to say the bracelet design on this model is beautifully done- rather than having gold links, there are much finer gold inserts, which gives it a much more modern look.
TAG Heuer Link Calibre S Chronograph
The Calibre S Chronograph is my favourite watch in the 2011 Link collection, using TAG Heuer’s in-house electro-mechanical Calibre S movement.
While early versions of the Link Calibre S used blue highlights on the bottom-right sub-dial, the new model switches to monochrome, which fits with the overall look and feel of the watch
TAG Heuer Link Day-Date
Next in the range is the Link Day-Date (42mm), which moves the Day function from the top of the dial to a position below the date, both of which have an elegant chrome window. Like the Calibre 6, The Calibre 5 Day-Date is available with two different styles of bezel.
For someone who never uses the date function on a watch, Day-Date combinations have always seemed like overkill to me, but it has been a popular complication, which is available now on several watches across the TAG Heuer range.
TAG Heuer Link Calibre 16 Chronograph
Sitting at the top of the range is the Calibre 16 Chronograph (which I suspect will be the Valjoux 7750, but I am interested to see if there are more Sellita movements making their way into TAG’s range)
The changes to the design of the dial are highlighted from this photo below from last year’s series, which used a more complicated pattern.
I like that the new Calibre 16 design removes the border around all but the 9 o’clock sub-dial- it’s a small touch, but it does help differentiate the old and new models.
I’ll be reviewing the 2011 range over the next few weeks and am looking forward to seeing whether the sum of these small changes gives the new model a distinct look from the previous model. It’s certainly a very gentle re-design, but one that keeps with the more classical, elegant look of the series.
For a detailed review of the 2011 TAG Heuer Link range, click here.