Launched in 2004 as an offshoot of the 2000 Series, the Aquaracer is the quintessential TAG Heuer dive watch. Solidly constructed and usually good value, the Aquaracer has pretty much stuck to the same aesthetic since it was launched. But it leaves staid looks behind with the Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition, a surprisingly cool diver designed by Bamford Watch Department (BWD), the watch customiser par excellence.
Coming a week after the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Ghost, the new Aquaracer is the second BWD collab in as many weeks. But the Aquaracer at the other end of the spectrum, both in design and price. The Laureato Ghost was entirely in white ceramic, while the Aquaracer is all matte titanium and more accessibly priced – although it is expensive for an Aquaracer.
BWD excels at applying new colours and textures to existing designs to create a whole new look. This has been achieved here, most notably with the sandblasted finish on the case and bracelet. Because the material is titanium – nearly all Aquaracers to date are steel – the result is a grey, granular surface that gives it the feel of no-nonsense “tool” watch.
The dial features a notable degree of nuance for a “tool” watch, including a radial pattern and moulded Super-Luminova blocks for hour markers. A quirky detail that’s been found on other BWD watches also makes an appearance here: an alternating white-and-orange tip for the seconds hand, which brings to mind a clownfish or traffic cone.
At 43 mm wide, the Aquaracer Bamford is large, but suited to its sporty appearance. And thanks to the lightweight case material, this will no doubt sit more comfortably than the steel version.
But all of its appeal comes at a steep price of US$3,900, which is a hefty 40% higher than the regular-production model. That is perhaps justified by the case material and the design – this does look better than its counterparts.
That said, it is still a Tag Heuer dive watch powered by a reliable but low-cost ETA 2824, albeit one regulated to chronometer standard. Competition in this segment is strong, with some contenders having proprietary movements with superior functionality, including longer power reserves. Tudor, for instance, offers an overwhelmingly superior value proposition but with plainer design.
A key detail of the design is the stamped concentric motif on the dial – with a prominent crosshair in the centre – which harks back to the linear, horizontal pattern found on the regular-production model. The radial pattern makes the dial appear more energetic, and brings to mind a shooting target or radar screen, giving the watch a little of a military-issue feel.
Legibility is excellent, with the hands in bright orange, with their centres coated black for a “phantom” effect of floating hands. And the indices are made formed from sticks of solid luminescent material – essentially cast from resin mixed with Super-Luminova – giving the dial depth and contrast, especially with the thickness of the hour markers.
Key facts and price
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition
Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 12.8 mm
Water resistance: 300 m
Movement: Calibre 5 (ETA 2824)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours
Strap: Titanium bracelet with folding buckle
Limited edition: 1,500 pieces
Availability: Now at Bamford Watch Department, TAG Heuer’s online shop, boutiques, and authorised retailers
Price: US$3,900; or 5,500 Singapore dollars
For more, visit tagheuer.com
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