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 (WAJ2180)
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 (CAJ2180)
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.
While I’m a big fan of the Aquaracer 500m series, I still prefer the watch to the Chronograph because to me a dive watch should be as simple and easy to read as possible. When you think about the classic dive watch designs, most are 3-hand watches.
Out of the Studio
Thanks to reader Luis Lopez who took these great photos of his new Aquaracer to show what the watch looks like in real life. I think it looks even better than the official shot, and its interesting to see the black caseback to match the stealth look.
Price & Availability
As with the two McQueen Monaco Chronographs shown here a couple of weeks ago, the Aquaracer Calibre 16 Full Black will only be available from TAG Heuer boutiques as part of the strategy to develop a niche line of watches for the boutiques. The watch arrives in the next couple of weeks, and while not a limited edition, will only be made in small quantities. No word on price yet.