Last Updated on September 7, 2021 by Calibre 11
The Night Diver is back. Following the release of the updated Aquaracer Professional 300 series back in April, we now have an all-black model with an all-lume dial, reprising the famous “Night Diver” watches from the mid-1980s. The “Night Diver” name comes from the Super-LumiNova coated dial- while most dials don’t glow, but have hour-markers that do, the Night Diver flips this around, with the entire dial glowing and only the hour markers staying dark. The idea here is that this is more useful when diving at night, making the watch easier to read.
Also new with the 2021 Night Diver is a freshly designed rubber strap, that is not only available on this watch, but also as an option for the blue and black dial steel watches launched in April- and of course, we have some great live photos to show you what this latest strap actually looks like on the wrist. And while the new strap is a cool addition, it’s the micro-adjustable clasp that steals the show.
History of the TAG Heuer Night Diver
While the modern incarnations of the night Diver have been based on the black-case Heuer/ TAG Heuer Ref. 980.031 (above), there was in fact a full-range of these glow-dial watches back in the 1980s, as you can see from this 1984 Catalogue scan (below). Three of these watches featured a coloured (Black, Khaki and “Pewter”) coating applied via a Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) process, while for the traditionalists there was always a polished stainless steel model. And yes, for new readers it’s important to remember that PVD is not the coating itself, but the method by which the coating is applied.
These 1980s PVD watches are lovely, but oh-so fragile, with the PVD coating wearing quite easily, especially on the links in the bracelet and the folding clasp. But if you find one that has been well-cared for, they are among the most collectible of these Heuer and TAG Heuer divers.
And of course, it wouldn’t be right to discuss these early Night Diver watches without also mentioning the watch’s fleeting appearance in the James Bond film The Living Daylights. You can click here to read more about that story.
2018 Aquaracer Night Diver- WAY108A
The new Aquaracer Professional is not the first time that TAG Heuer have revived the Night Diver name and look- for example, there was the 2018 quartz Aquaracer 300m that offered a full-black 43mm titanium case with bright white dial that was coated in Super-LumiNova. As with the original design, the entire dial is luminous, with all hour markers without lume, other than 12, 3, 6 and 9.
Think of the 2021 Aquaracer Night Diver as an update over the previous 2018 Night Diver- the case remains 43mm, but this time a sandblasted steel case rather than titanium. Along with the rest of the new Aquaracer family, the case has been modernised and re-profiled. Out goes the old bezel design for an updated ceramic bezel, with a cleaner look thanks to the removal of the raised grips.
You can read more about the upgrades to the 2021 Aquaracer Professional 300 range at this link.
The unique aspect of this model is of course the dial. Just like the 1980s original and the 2018 edition, there is no lume on the hour-markers, other than 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.
During daylight, the opalin dial is not quite the “electric lime” of the 1980s, nor the pure white of the 2018. Despite what you see in the official images, the live photos that we took of the watch earlier this year show a dial colour that is white with some faint green hues, depending on the light and how much of the Super-LumiNova is activated.
When lit, the dial looks fantastic, with contrasting green lume on the hour hand and blue on the minute hand, seconds hand and the triangle marker on the bezel. The black hour-markers contrast beautifully with the dial, and echo the look of the original 1000 series with its black circular hour markers.
The caseback uses the updated geometric Aquaracer Helmet design, which is set inside a patterned centre section. Despite the watch featuring an automatic movement (Calibre 5), there is no display caseback, a feature that we haven’t seen on the Aquaracer range for a few years.
A new rubber strap and fine adjustment clasp
The other big news with the 2021 Night Diver is the unveiling of a new rubber strap design that will be available across the Aquaracer range. The strap features horizontal ribbing in the centre of the strap, a reversal of the 2018 Night Diver that featured vertical ribbing.
Complementing the new strap is a newly designed clasp that not only looks great, but allows for micro-adjustments. This is super easy to use and a big step forward over the previous designs, both in terms of look and feel and usability. On the Night Diver model, the clasp is also DLC-coated. For us, the fine adjustment clasp is a far more useful solution than the divers extension that is fitted to some watches, although it does not provide the same additional width if you really do plan on wearing the watch over the top of a wetsuit.
Aquaracer Blue Dial- WBP201B.FT6198
As mentioned, the new strap design is also available on the blue and black dial models shown back in April- here is the rubber strap (FT6198) on the blue-dial steel Aquaracer Professional. As you can see, the share of blue is a good match for the rest of the watch.
Aquaracer Black Dial- WBP201A.FT6197
The strap for the black Aquaracer Calibre 5 is the same as the one offered on the Night Diver, the only difference being a stainless steel clasp rather than the all-black DLC- coated steel on the Night Diver.
Night Diver On the Wrist
OK, back to the Aquaracer Professional Night Diver, which we think looks great. We’ve seen a lot of all-black watches from TAG Heuer over the last few years, especially in the Aquaracer collection. All-black designs are what Australians would call a “Vegemite” look- you either love it or you hate it. We fall firmly in the “love” camp (both for all black watches and the black goodness of Vegemite), as there is something more special about the full black look, especially with a contrasting white dial.
Price and Availability
The 2021 TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver is available now, with pricing as follows in key markets:
- Switzerland: CHF 3,250
- Europe: €3,150
- Great Britain: £2,750
- North America: US$ 3,350
- Japan: ¥360,000
- Hong Kong: HKD 26,750
To put that in context, the stainless steel black-dial Aquaracer (WBP201A) is priced at US$3,000 on a bracelet, or US$2,700 on a rubber strap. That makes the Night Diver a $650 premium over the standard model. As we see the Aquaracer Professional family grow, there are some great options, from the limited edition 844 to the titanium watch and now the Night Diver. TAG Heuer has a rich heritage in dive watches, and we love seeing the wonderful 1000 series from the 1980s inspiring a new generation of watches.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver- Specifications
|Model Name||TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver|
|Year of Launch||2021|
|Production Type||Regular production|
|Watch Reference Number||WBP201D|
|Strap Reference Code||FT6197|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|