Angus Davies explores the specification of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300m (43mm) Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph Ceramic Bezel Black Version and ponders whether its specification has been inspired by nature.
I often enjoy watching natural history programmes on television which focus upon aquatic creatures dwelling in deep waters. With evolution, fish have adapted to their environment. Some carve through water with consummate ease, courtesy of their streamlined shape and efficient means of propulsion. Alternatively, some sea creatures have acquired ingenious methods of hiding themselves from potential predators. Over the years, TAG Heuer has revisited its Aquaracer model, honing each element, enhancing each iteration of the watch and, in so doing, ensuring superb operation both on terra firma and beneath the ocean’s surface.
The latest evolution of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300m (43mm) Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph Ceramic Bezel Black Version seems to draw upon nature with several aspects of its specification. Allow me to elaborate further.
The dial. The black dial is decorated with a ‘horizontal streak effect’. These parallel ridges adorning the dial surface are reminiscent of the wake following an object moving through water. The darkness of the dial has a stealth-like quality, as if it wishes to hide from the menacing stares of potential predators.
Whilst the dial is black, the hour and minute hands are highly polished and lined with luminescent material, proving very visible in restricted light. The central chronograph seconds hand is slender and features a luminescent tip, framed with a vivid shade of yellow. The hour markers, again repeating the polished treatment of the hands, are lined with luminescent fill and are triangular in form but with truncated tips. A small seconds display resides at 9 o’clock. Its appearance resembles the cross hairs of a telescopic sight and its surface is smooth. Two chronograph registers are arranged along the north-south axis. Below noon, a 30-minute chronograph register is located, whilst opposite, above 6 o’clock, is a 12-hour chronograph register. Both chronograph registers share similar styling with snailed centres, framed with graduated scales.
The date display, positioned at 3 o’clock, is highly legible, courtesy of a magnified lens positioned above. A minute track frames the dial surface, allowing the wearer to read elapsed times easily. Overall, the dial of the Aquaracer 300m (43mm) Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph seems to exhibit a discreet, almost covert character while remaining incredibly simple to read.
TAG Heuer watch brand offers different variants of the Aquaracer 300m (43mm) Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph, including a polished steel option. However, in this instance, my attention is directed towards the ‘sandblasted black titanium carbide coated titanium Grade 2’ . The surface is matt, avoiding attention and evincing a hushed persona.
Conforming with the tradition of divers’ watches, the Aquaracer 300m (43mm) Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph is equipped with a solid caseback, hence the movement is hidden from view. The TAG Heuer Calibre 16 is a self-winding movement with Côtes de Genève motif adorning its oscillating mass. The frequency of the balance is 28,800 vph (4Hz), the power reserve is 42 hours and the movement contains 25 jewels.
The sea is a hostile environment, especially for a finely tuned mechanical instrument such as a watch. There are many lessons which can be drawn from nature when designing a timepiece for underwater use. Circular forms tolerate pressure better than square or cubed shaped objects. Dark tones prove helpful when avoiding the attention of ravenous sharks and a tough outer shell permits exploration of the deepest depths of the ocean. Ultimately, whether the design and specification of the Aquaracer 300m (43mm) Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph is inspired by nature is something TAG Heuer has not revealed. However, with this watch sharing many similarities with those creatures which live beneath the ocean’s waves, I suspect there are some specification details which do draw upon the study of natural history.
Whatever the reasons were behind the specifications of this timepiece, the fact remains the watch is comfortable to wear, simple to read, stylishly understated and, courtesy of its robust construction, practical both on land or in the sea.