Only a couple of weeks after we brought you the first review of the new Aquaracer 500m watch, we can today show the first photos of another new Aquaracer- the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m Calibre 72 Countdown Chronograph.
This is the first of the ceramic 500m Chronograph models, with the classic 3-register Calibre 16 500m Chronograph- which will share the same case as this watch- still to come.
TAG Heuer has released a number of watches with the Countdown function (also known as a “Regatta” function”) over the years, most recently the Aquaracer Calibre S. However, unlike that model, the new Chronograph reintroduces the “5-segment” display window found on the classic Heuer Regatta models of the 70s.
The history of the Aquaracer series stretches back 30 years, when Jack Heuer launched the Heuer 2000 series. While the name of the series changed to “Aquaracer” in 2004, the 2013 Aquaracer shares the same design DNA as the 1982 original. For more on the history of the 2000 Series, take a look at the series overview here.
The Countdown function is designed with yacht racing in mind. Depending on the class of yacht, the starting sequence for a race is typically delineated into 5-minute increments- the boats will jockey for position 5, 10 or 15 minutes before they can cross the starting line and start the race. This is where the Regatta function comes in, with the classic countdown function splitting time across 5 windows, each showing 1 minute.
The first watch sold by Heuer to feature the Regatta function was the Aquastar Regate, an independent brand which Heuer distributed in the 1960s. By the mid-1970s, Heuer began producing its own “Regatta” models, culminating with the Autavia-based Heuer Regatta (powered by Lemania) above. You can read about TAG Heuer’s history of Sailing watches here.
The design themes are the same as the 500m ceramic watch, with a case styled on the existing Aquaracer 300m Chronograph, but fitted with thicker glass, bezel and caseback to allow a greater depth rating. The other distinguishing feature is the rubber-coating on the Chronograph pushers and Crown.
Again consistent with the 2013 Aquaracer 500m ceramic watch, the new Chronograph features a ceramic bezel and an updated dial with black horizontal streaks.
What sets the Calibre 72 model apart are the two subdials and the Regatta/ Countdown function. The applied TAG Heuer logo moves further down the dial, while the date window sits at 12 o’clock. Also note that the new model uses Skeleton hands to allow the countdown function to be easily read.
There are three colours on the countdown function, each denoting 5 minutes, meaning that either a 5, 10 or 15 minute event can be timed.
Finishing the look is a fantastic new design rubber strap, with a look that draws heavily from the Isofrane straps of the 1980s. Isofrane supplied straps to Heuer for the 1000m deep dive , with the design signature of rectangular-cut holes. The “double keeper” and styled buckle complete the look.
Aquaracer 500m Calibre 72- America’s Cup Edition (CAK211B)
There are two Calibre 72 models available- both with a black dial. The Limited Edition model above is the America’s Cup Edition Aquaracer Calibre 72 Countdown, which marks TAG Heuer’s partnership with Oracle Team USA, the Defender of the 2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco.
The America’s Cup model features a Red and Blue Countdown indicator, “Team USA” logo and Red detailing on the chronograph seconds and 30-minute register hands, and the “Countdown” script on the bezel.
The Calibre 72 is a new movement supplied by Dubois Depraz. Named in honour of Oracle Team USA’s 72-foot Catamaran, the Calibre 72 appears to be the same movement as the one used in the Louis Vuitton Tambour LV Cup Automatic Countdown, called the LV171 by Louis Vuitton.
The movement is Dubois Depraz DD2140 Calibre, which is a Sellita Sw300 base and a DD Chronograph/ Countdown module.
The Calibre 72 features running seconds hand at 3 o’clock and a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock.
Pricing and Availability (Ref. CAK211A, CAK211B)
Photos: Courtesy of TAG Heuer; Lemania Heuer Regatta from http://www.onthedash