Hands on Review- TAG Heuer Link Series

One of the best pieces of advice that I can give to anyone wanting to buy a watch is this: go and try it on. That may seem obvious to most, but given that you can now research a watch and have it delivered to your front door without leaving the couch, there is an increasing temptation to buy a watch based on photos alone- most of which are taken in a studio with fancy lighting and heavy editing.

TAG Heuer Link 2011 13-WMLikewise, you can’t review or learn about a watch from official photos alone, because it’s only by holding the watch in your own hands and in natural light, that details become apparent.

I mention this because when I first saw photos of the revised Link series, it looked to me like a fairly gentle update of the previous model. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t even sure if it was a new model. Sure, there were a few changes- an applied logo here, new bezels there, but from the press photos it looked to be a very similar watch.

While I’d still categorise the new series as an evolutionary step over the previous model, there are many changes that aren’t individually significant, but the sum of which make for a watch that has a distinctively different feel to the 2010 model.

History of the Link

The Link series first appeared in 1987 as the S/el and was renamed “Link” in 1999 in recognition of the most distinctive characteristic of the watch- its bracelet.

The Link bracelet is made up of two “S”-shaped links that give the watch a more comfortable fit than traditional “brick-style” links.

The Link is one of the most important watches in today’s range, and one of only two current series (along with the Formula 1) that are pure TAG Heuer, having no equivalent model in the previous Heuer range.

Design Overview

While the dial of the new range remain faithful to the previous model, the case of the Link has been significantly softened into a curvier shape. The finishing on the stainless case steel case has also been upgraded, with a combination of polished and brushed steel surfaces. The polished effect is used sparingly to avoid too much bling- restricted to the side of the case and even the side of the bracelet links.

Providing a contrast to the rounded case is the newly designed bezel, which essentially has two parts- a thin “cushion-shaped” bezel with angled, square edges, into which is set the traditional circular bezel- a tachy bezel in the example below.

The lugs of the case have also been refined to a more shapely finish and have a brushed metal finish on the top-side.

While the early S/el watches featured an integrated case and bracelet, the newer watches have traditional open lugs. This means that leather straps or other bracelets will fit easily, although the Link is the only current series that is sold only on a bracelet- there is no official leather strap option for the Link.

  • mark shilaff

    Excellent article. I like the changes. Thank you for the great information.

  • wynonie

    Good stuff DC. Do you think we'll see another Cal36 Link?

  • DC

    Thanks Mark.

    Wynonie, my guess would be no Calibre 36 Link. As I understand it, TAG Heuer only get access to a limited number of El Primero movements.

    This year they're using them in the Monza and Monaco Twenty-Four, and as the Monaco Twenty-Four range expands I wonder if they'll have enough supply to put the movement in the Link?


  • jmash77

    I think I prefer the 2010 calibre 5 day-date to the new model, the separation of the day and date display is a little cleaner in my opinion. Might be a good time to keep an eye out for special deals…

  • The caliber 6 is not based on the 2824, but 2892. The rotor is completely different, as shown in the pictures.


    • DC

      Correct Flavio- too many ETA codes running around in my head.


  • seale_navy

    Did the new Link 2011 Calibre S exhibit loose minute hands?

  • DC

    No, it didn't. I've played with three Calibre S models and have never seen the loose minute hand. Does this happen during normal use, or only when the Chrono is in use?


  • seale_navy

    Well mine is the aquaracer calibre S, so I was wondering whether the problem still exist with the new 2011 Link.

    I experienced loose minute hands in chrono and time mode..

  • radheshyam

    hi friendzz i have one tag watch..bt i dnt knw wat to use chronograph n techimeter..? pls tel me any one

  • flieger45

    I have the 2010 Calibre 16 but it has the day and the date displayed. I think this is pretty rare because I have never seen it other than mine. Why is this?

  • Wilson Choo

    I just love it! Will buy one very soon.

  • DC

    Hi Flieger- this one?

    <img src="http://us.tagheuer.com/uploads/product/212x21186_main.png&quot; alt="" />

  • tg147

    Hi Cal11, do you think it's best to hold off on buying a Tag Link for women? Do you know if that will be updated as well? Specifically the one I'm looking at is the Tag ladies mother-of-pearl link. I like the new design. I'm just not sure if I should wait. Thanks.

  • DC

    Hi- no news on a new Link for Women. Given that the Mens version has been updated, I would have thought that the Ladies version won't be too far behind, but whether that is 6 months or 6 weeks I don't know.



  • Patrick-USVI

    The new links are ok, but those beadle are hideous!!! They remind me of the early years of 2000 to 2002, they don't look new and modern. I wish they would change these! And fast….

  • DC

    Hi Patrick- which part of the bezel? The lower-half with the square-edges, or the design of the insert?


  • Patrick-USVI

    Sorry for the iPhone autocorrect, it should have read bezel! Anyway, I don't care for any of the new link bezels, they look cheap and plain.
    There is not much to them, and I think they could have made something a little more interesting. Just mho!

  • Just bought my Link Day-Date (Day at 12 o'clock, black dial) in Taiwan and I couldn't have been happier. Thank you so much for your review, it really helped me a lot to understand the basic differences, the good points and the shortcomings. I followed your advice and went to the dealer and tried on various watches. I think it cost them some nerves, as I was taking a very long time (I'm picky by nature). If you want to see a lot of my photos, a video and the review of this specific model, go to my blog: http://mykafkaesquelife.blogspot.com/2011/11/tag-… For now, all I can share are first impressions, but I have to say I'm completely satisfied and happy 🙂 Thank you once again, I love your site.

  • Ron


    I have the 2010 Link Calibre 16 day & date watch that you posted a picture of for Flieger in August except in white. Is the Calibre 16 with a day & date rare? I assume there are more movements for the day. I have also generally only seen this watch with the date only.

  • DC

    MKL- great review that you've done- my congrtatulations and thanks for your support.

    Hi Ron, yes, you don't see that model too often..I guess it was a run-out special of the old shape. I like it- similar treatment on the 9 o'clock subdial as the COSC Calibre 16 Aquaracer