Last Updated on April 11, 2021 by Calibre 11
While the new Aquaracer Professional 300 maintains the same silhouette as the previous model, make no mistake that the new watch represents a significant step forward for the Aquaracer line. There’s a re-profiled and polished case, a redesigned caseback, new bracelet and rubber straps, an updated dial, new hands and a revised bezel. It’s a long list. So it’s somehow both familiar, yet all-new at the same time.
Launched today at the Watches & Wonders online watch fair, the Aquaracer Professional 300 Calibre 5 collection are the first new watches in the revised Aquaracer family, which will extend to other models and movements over the coming months. And yes, while the previous watch was the Aquaracer 300m, the new one is the Aquaracer Professional 300– no “m”.
Today we’ll show you five of the new models- the standard production blue, black and silver dials, the “special edition” titanium model and the highlight of the new range- the limited edition 844 tribute edition in titanium that draws inspiration from one of Heuer’s first, and most loved, dive watches from 1978.
Aquaracer Professional 300- Design
The Aquaracer Professional 300 is the first major redesign of the Aquaracer series since 2014 and brings back the “Professional” name, which was added to the dial of TAG Heuer dive watches during the 1980 and 90s. As we ran through the changes in the spec sheets, there are two key themes that we kept coming back to. Firstly, the new range steps up the quality of materials and finishing to justify a higher price point and secondly, TAG Heuer’s designers have enthusiastically embraced the 12-sided bezel as a key design thematic, with dodecagons featuring prominently.
Overall, we love the new look, which seems to keep all the strong elements of the previous model, yet also addressing a couple of areas which never quite gelled on the 2014 re-design.
Each of the five Aquaracer Professional 300 models uses the same basic 43mm case design, which may look the same as the 43mm 2014 Aquaracer 300m, but is actually thinner and lighter and with shorter lugs- a similar principle applied to the 2020 Carrera redesign. Despite these changes it’s no lightweight, and there’s no sign yet of the 41mm option many hoped for, but it’s a clear step in the right direction.
Look carefully and you’ll also notice the reprofiled crown guards, which are inspired by the original 844/ 1000 series.
Adding to the up-scale push is the more refined case finishing, a combination of brushed surfaces with polished highlights. It’s a handsome, strong case with a fresh look, but still very much an Aquaracer.
The bezel has also been updated, with the main change being the deletion of the bezel grips that have long been part of the 2000/ Aquaracer look. The result is a cleaner, more classic bezel.
While the dial retains the same horizontal patterning look (albeit it with the lines more spaced out than the outgoing watch), the applied hour markers have changed significantly- out go the over-sized, highly polished markers (that were too big and too shiny) of the 2014 300m series, replaced by what initially appear to be circular markers, but are actually 12-sided dodecagons, picking up the signature shape of the bezel.
Probably the most controversial element of the new dial is the circular (TAG Heuer must have been tempted making it a dodecagon) magnifier over the date window, which has moved from the 3 o’clock position to the 6 o’clock position. There seem to only be two camps when it comes to these magnifiers- love or hate.
You may have heard stories about collectors removing the magnifier on the Aquaracer 300m, but that won’t be happening with the Aquaracer Professional, because the magnifier sits under the sapphire crystal, rather than sitting on top.
Moving to the hands, it’s a combination of keeping the look of the sweeping seconds hand, while completely reimagining the hour and minute hands, which are a far simpler design- again, a big improvement.
Finally, the Aquaracer name on the dial now sits above the TAG Heuer logo, rather than below, while the “Calibre 5” text has been removed altogether.
Small things first- you may not have noticed that on the previous Aquaracer series, the angle of the trademark divers helmet varied across individual watches, depending on how many turns were required to properly tighten the caseback. But with the new caseback, your divers helmet will always sit straight, aligned to the top of the case. A nice detailed change.
The designers have redrawn the diving helmet logo, with no fewer than four dodecagons on the caseback. Again, it’s familiar, but a cut above the previous look.
Straps and Bracelet
The Aquaracer rubber straps have been upgraded, with what feels like a softer rubber than previous models, and a new folding mechanism, which is nicely finished with polished surfaces.
Apart from looking smart, the new clasp allows for micro-adjustment of 1.5 cm and works very well- intuitive and sturdy.
There are three new rubber straps- the standard strap in either black (FT6197) or blue (FT6198) and a special rubber strap for the 844 Edition. This strap- FT6201- is inspired by the late 1970s Tropic straps, featuring a grained surface and with dodecagon perforations.
The bracelet has also been refreshed- a similar look, but lighter, and again features the same folding clasp with the micro adjustments.
The Aquaracer Professional 300 Range
Aquaracer 300 Calibre 5 Black Dial- WBP201A
Opening the range is the steel 43mm watch with a black dial and matching black ceramic bezel model, which has long been the mainstay of the Aquaracer range. This is the classic TAG Heuer diver, with just a few hints of orange and bright white lume on the hands and hour markers.
The watch is available on either a bracelet or a black rubber strap.
Aquaracer 300 Calibre 5 Blue Dial- WBP201B
Next up is the 43mm steel watch with a blue dial and blue ceramic bezel- a slightly sportier hue than the black sister watch.
As with the black dial watch, you can choose either a bracelet or a rubber strap- this time, the rubber strap is in blue.
Aquaracer 300 Calibre 5 Silver- WBP201C
The Silver dial makes a comeback in the new line, with a beautiful golden-hued Silver dial teamed with a black bezel and orange highlights.
There is no strap option for this model- only the bracelet, although the black rubber strap will of course fit perfectly.
Aquaracer 300 Calibre 5 Special Edition- WBP208B
Next on the list is the Aquaracer Professional Special Edition, which features a 43mm matte Grade 2 titanium case and bracelet, with a sunburst green dial and a green ceramic bezel. The watch has yellow highlights- the “Automatic” text on the dial, the tip of the sweeping seconds hand and the triangle at the 60 minute position on the bezel.
TAG Heuer have not specified the number of watches to be produced, but it’s likely that this will be a 2021 model only.
Aquaracer 300 Calibre 5 Titanium Limited Edition- WBP208C
Last but not least is our favourite of the new range- the first time that TAG Heuer has drawn on a diving watch for a modern “re-edition”. The watch is a tribute to the French-made 844 series of 1978 (the precursor of the 1000 series), which featured 24-hour time on the dial in red, in addition to the circular lume plots.
The dial features a flat black dial, with a slightly grained finish and beige/ aged lume on the hour-markers and the hands. And yes, we’d prefer the watch with standard white lume, as regular readers will know. But it’s a fantastic watch and sure to be one that even vintage-lovers will warm to.
The 844 is a limited edition of, yes, 844 watches, with each watch marked with “One of 844” on the caseback.
Price and Availability- TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Calibre 5
Pricing for the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 is up on the previous models- the easiest comparison is with the steel blue/ black dial watches, which are about $250 more than the out-going model.
- Steel Aquaracer 43mm Blue, Black and Silver dial Aquaracers (WBP201A/ B/ C): US$3000 (bracelet)/ US$2700 rubber strap
- Titanium Aquaracer 43mm Special Edition (WBP208B): US$4,200
- Titanium Aquaracer 43mm Limited Edition 844 Edition: US$4,350.
Overall, that seems like very fair pricing given the number of improvements. However the 844 Edition is a significant premium, being some $1600 more than the equivalent standard black dial. Having said that, it’s such an iconic design and in titanium rather than steel, so we expect all 844 watches to move quickly.
The new Aquaracer Professional range will be available from June, with the exception of the 844, which follows in September.