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.
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 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.
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.
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.
- Larger Chronograph buttons
- Larger, shorter crown
- Thinner two-piece bezel
- More rounded case
- Polished case edges and details
- Smaller, more angled inner bezel making the dial appear larger
If anything, the change to a softer case design harks back to original S/el of 1987, which hardly had a sharp-edge anywhere.
Again, its only when looking at the two side-by-side that the differences become clear.
Link Calibre S
The Link Calibre S (Ref. CAT7010.BA0952 in black) uses the largest case size- 43mm. The dial is a gentle evolution of the 2010 Link Calibre S- the use of an applied TAG Heuer logo, slightly larger hour-markers and the now-trademark TAG Heuer vertically streaked dial.
I also like the changes to the sub-registers, which were flat on the 2010 model. For 2011, the 1/10th register has a sunken appearance, while the 1/100th register has an applied, textured semi-circle.
I’ve now been able to spend a reasonable amount of time with various watches that use the Calibre S electro-mechanical movement. While I still prefer automatic movements in watches, I think that the Calibre S is a clear step-up from the usual quartz movement.
Link Calibre 6
You can see the difference between the old and new models below (2010 on the right), which highlights several of the changes that I’ve already mentioned- note the smaller crown and small, more angled inner bezel- it all helps to give the 2011 Calibre 6 the feeling of a larger watch.
Also note the changes to the design of the 6 o’clock register- a much simpler approach- and the applied logo
The Calibre 6 movement is an ETA 2895-1 movement, which is based on the ETA 2892 but with a running seconds complication. The movement has a nicely finished rotor and is visible through a sapphire case-back.
Link Calibre 5
The 2011 Link Day Date is similar to the 2010 model (below, right), with the most obvious difference being the change to the position of the day window.
One point that I noticed about the new range were the small quality touches on the detailed finishing. Take a look at the Macro shot below and you see the quality of the dial-printing and the applied window surround.
The Day Date uses a Calibre 5, which confusingly is not the same Calibre 5 used in the Aquaracer 500m range. Generally, TAG Heuer refer to the ETA 2824 as the Calibre 5, but in the new series, the Calibre 5 is an ETA 2834-2. The difference? Just that the 2834-2 has the added day complication to the date function of a base ETA 2824.
I would have used a different Calibre name for this movement to avoid confusion of having two different movements with the same Calibre number.
The Link Quartz gets a unique one-piece bezel design, which keeps with the style of the 2010 bezel design, although is thinner.
Link Calibre 16
The one model that wasn’t available to review was the top of the line Calibre 16 Chronograph, which you see above. Like the other watches in the 2011 Link range, the Calibre 16 (ETA 7750) is available with either a black of a white dial.
Link Price and Availability
The TAG Heuer Link range is fairly straight-forward. There are only two dial colours- white/ silver and black offered in either a stainless steel or stainless steel and gold case. Perhaps additional dial colours will be added later in the model’s life, as was the case with the previous Link
In most markets the Link range is available now, having been available at the TAG Heuer Las Vegas boutique exclusively from July.
The estimated prices for the watches at the time of writing in Australia are:
- Link Calibre S: $3650
- Link Calibre 5: $3350
- Link Calibre 6: A$3150
- Link Quartz: A$2250
Best to check with your local AD for pricing where you live, because simply converting the prices above into your local currency won’t necessarily give you an accurate picture.
For more photos of the latest Link range, click here for the Gallery.