Wednesday, 21 June 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON: Aquaracer Chronotimer Quartz

CAF1010.BA0821

I've just watched the video review by Breitling Source (see lower down the page) and I thought I would write a little bit about this particular watch.

This model obviously comes from the same family as the yellow dial Calibre S model that I was nearly tempted by not so long ago, with the same split bezel (which I think I like, but I'm not quite sure). This is the sort of watch I can imagine turning up in the TAG outlet's like Bicester Village, it's about the right age and would probably be a great bargain for someone.

Failing that a little research shows that you can pick one like this up from Watchfinder for just under £1000. That sounds a little steep to me, I wouldn't imagine this cost as much as the Calibre S models originally, though I could be wrong. I think £900 second hand would probably be a bit more realistic, but then again I suppose you're paying for Watchfinder's guarantees etc.

Having said that, a quick look at eBay shows a range of £750 to £3500! Would anybody seriously pay £3500 for one of these? That's a chunk of money, I didn't pay that for my Heuer 01.

This watch was available on either a bracelet or a black rubber strap, and while I think the yellow dial version looks much better on the rubber, this one probably looks better on the bracelet. One thing I would say if you do plump for the rubber, is that if and when you need to replace it, expect it to be a little more than your standard F1 straps, since in my experience the straps with ends designed to fit snuggly into (and fill) the space between the lugs are unexpectedly pricey (the strap for my 2000 series was over £100 for example, whereas the strap for my F1 was £45).

Having watched the video I get the impression that the internals of this watch might not be too dissimilar to the workings of the Formula One Kirium, given the layout of the digital elements on the dial. While I'm not usually a massive fan of analog-digi watches, this one is okay. My one complaint would be that the watch has been designed (like the F1 Kirium) so that you can turn off the digital elements, leaving the dial black, except of course here they've framed the lower display with a slightly tacky silver bead. I think this was a mistake. It doesn't look that great and if it wasn't there the watch would so much cooler when the digital was turned off. 

The more I look at the watch and think about that the more it annoys me. This watch could have been so much better, just with that silver bead omitted. And that's the sort of detail failure that perhaps explains why TAG watches from this era (2008) aren't especially well loved. Indeed, even though I kind of liked the yellow dial Calibre S, there was something about it that wasn't quite right and I ultimately passed it over for a different watch.

Honestly if this watch came up at a good price I might have been tempted, but now that I've noticed that frame it's really put me off. I think it makes the dial look rather crowded as well, especially as it comes so close to the date. It's a bit of a shame really.

That aside the dial is quite nice, I like the contrast of the white markings on the black dial, and if you've watched the video you will know that they are lumed and the watch also has a back light. The white TAG logo also looks great (as on the F1 Kirium) and was definitely a good choice.

All in all it's a bit of a workaday TAG Heuer, that you could probably pick up easy enough if you wanted one, personally I don't think I've ever used the chrono on my F1 Kirium, and while the chronograph on an automatic is a nice looking thing to have even if you don't use it, the intrusive nature of this one begs the question will you actually use it? If not, then maybe this isn't the watch for you.

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