TAG Heuer has today announced the first novelties from its 2017 watch collection, with four new models launched in Geneva around the annual SIHH watch show. Yes, around SIHH rather than at SIHH, as we’ll explain shortly.
The new releases comprises a brace of Carreras and Aquaracers and serves as the entree before the main course of 2017 models that will follow in March at Baselworld.
The History of SIHH and TAG Heuer
Before 1990, things were relatively straight forward in the watch world, with all major brands releasing their new season watches each March at the Basel watch fair. However, in 1990 the Richemont group (which today includes Cartier, Jaeger LeCoultre, IWC and Panerai), decided to break away from Basel and create their own exhibition, called Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). And to ensure that Richemont brands had a chance to fill their order books from retailers before the Basel brands opened theirs in March, SIHH was organised for January each year.
As the Richemont stable of brands grew, others such as Audemars Piguet also joined SIHH meaning that there are now two annual watch fairs instead of one, creating a huge headache for retailers and the world’s watch media who make two trips to Switzerland within a 6-week period.
But given that the audience for these shows is really the world’s watch retailers rather than consumers, the Basel brands decided that they too would release some watches in January each year to make sure they are not forgotten. These brands are of course not invited to SIHH, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hold their own events in Geneva when everyone happens to be in town!
Which is a long way of explaining why these new TAG Heuer releases are happening in Geneva in January…but not “at” the SIHH show.
Aquaracer 300m Quartz Aluminium Bezel 43mm
Opening the 2017 collection is a range of quartz-powered Aquaracer 300m models. While these watches share the same 43mm stainless steel case as the Calibre 5 Aquaracer 300m models, the bezel switches from ceramic to aluminium to help keep the prices down.
There are three models in the Aquaracer 300m Quartz range:
- WAY101B.BA0746: black dial and red bezel
- WAY101A.BA0746: black dial and black bezel
- WAY101C.BA0746: blue dial and blue bezel
The most interesting of the new models is the red bezel Aquaracer, and while the look may remind you of the Tudor Black Bay, its inspiration comes from the TAG Heuer lineage of dive watches.
Aquaracer WAY101B- Red Bezel
This model looks great, with the plain black dial contrasted by the red bezel, red “300 meters” marking and the tipped red sweeping seconds hand. You can tell from the lack of reference to a Calibre that this is a quartz-powered watch.
TAG Heuer’s first foray into red bezel diving watches was the TAG Heuer 1000, which you can see below from the 1989 Catalogue. Like the 2017 model, this too was only available with a quartz movement.
Aquaracer WAY101C- Blue Bezel
Aquaracer WAY101A- Black Bezel
Carrera Day-Date Calibre 16 Titanium- Ref. CV2A84
The next model is an evolution of the hugely successful Carrera 43mm Calibre 16 Day-Date. The dial has been redesigned with reshaped numerals (the originals were inspired by the 2005 Vanquish) which are finished in beige SuperLuminova, complemented by a distressed brown leather strap.
The case remains at 43mm and is made from Grade 2 Titanium, which TAG Heuer says is “black PVD titanium”. It is likely that the case has a titanium-carbide coating, given that PVD is a process for applying a coating rather than a coating material itself.
Black, brown and beige doesn’t exactly look like a natural colour combination on paper, so we look forward to seeing how this looks in the metal.
The caseback appears to show a “stealth” black finish on the Calibre 16 rotor and components, but we’d need to see this in person to be sure…it’s a big job to apply titanium-carbide to all these individual parts.
Carrera Heuer-01 Full Black Matte Ceramic- Ref. CAR2A91
The third new model is a development of last year’s Carrera Heuer-01 Ceramic, with the 2017 model featuring a matte rather than polished ceramic finish and boasting the addition of a new black ceramic “H-Link” bracelet- the original rubber strap remains an option.
There’s been some confusion about this new watch, with several sites mistakenly reporting that it’s entirely made from ceramic- it’s not. The case, bezel, lugs and case middle are made from black ceramic, but the inner box section, screw-down case back and chronograph push-pieces are made from steel to enable the gaskets to work correctly.
Aquaracer 300m Lady 35mm
- WAY131L.FT6091: blue version, midnight blue ceramic bezel, blue satin strap
- WAY131M.FT6092: black version, intense black ceramic bezel, black satin strap
- WAY131L.BA0748: blue version, midnight blue ceramic bezel, steel bracelet
- WAY131M.BA0748: black version, intense black ceramic bezel, steel bracelet
- WAY131N.FT6091: blue version, bezel set with 35 diamonds, blue satin strap
- WAY131P.FT6092: black version, bezel set with 35 diamonds, black satin strap
The unique feature of these watches is the use of a natural mother-of-pearl dial in a semi-transparent blue or black lacquer that give the watch a distinctive appearance.
More to Come
So do any of these new releases offer us any clues on what to expect in March when the bulk of the 2017 collection is unveiled? Hard to say, as each of these are extensions on existing lines. Expect to see more versions of the Carrera Heuer-01 (TAG Heuer’s best-selling watch globally), the new Autavia and an innovative new high-end movement following in the footsteps of the Pendulum and Mikrograph.
But will we see an Aquaracer Heuer-01? More watches using the Heuer-03 movement? And what about the Link and Formula 1? We’re already looking forward to March!