Sunday, 13 May 2018

SPOTLIGHT ON: TAG Heuer Aquaracer CAF101D (Project Fugly)


Watch design, like most design of course, is subjective. But occasionally a designer drops the ball badly, and the CAF101D is one such example. I mean the three hand 41mm version is a fairly ugly watch, with it's vast expanse of plain yellow dial, but this one takes the biscuit. Seriously, as much as I love TAG, I'm fighting the urge to go full on Archie Luxury on this one.

"Get a Man on the Mooooooooooooooooon!"

Sure the case and bracelet are fine, as is the colour, you should know I have no problem with the yellow itself, I own a yellow Calibre S Aquaracer after all. The hands are fine too, no problem there at all. The date window is a bit ugly if I'm honest, it's not a good start... maybe a black edging with a yellow date wheel would have been the best way forward, or white perhaps if yellow was too much of a stretch (better white than a mismatched yellow in all honesty) and having the TAG logo stuck right up against it doesn't help either.

The half circle running seconds is, lets be charitable, a poor execution of a less than optimal design choice. It looks rubbish on the three-hander and it looks just as bad here, but the real problem is that once you introduce those sub dials what you've basically done is create a stupid looking face. And it's one of those things that once you've seen it, you can't un-see it, so every time you look down at your CAF101D you'll notice that dumb looking face staring back at you. And while generally I really like the black inner ring on these kind of Aquaracer bezels, in this instance I think it just emphasis this design flaw all the more, giving the face a defined shape in the way that a standard bezel wouldn't. 

I can't help thinking that someone, at the design stage, should have spoken up and said 'it looks kinda like a stupid smiling robot face, let's start again'. But clearly either no one spoke up or no one listened.

I don't really get why the subdials are so half-arsed as well, they look like an after thought just printed on the dial like that. Compare and contrast with the applied subdials on the Calibre S version, okay I'm sure it's a much cheaper watch (and frankly it shows with it's crappy, printed TAG logo), but for God's sake it surely wasn't that cheap, was it?

Interestingly, I can't find a single one of these for sale anywhere, which either means the owners love them so much that they're not selling, or... they've all been put in the crusher where they belong. We can only hope it's the latter. This one is surely best avoided unless it's dirt cheap, and even then you should only buy it as a gift for someone you don't like. In short, it's quite ghastly, and quite possibly one of the ugliest watches TAG Heuer have ever made.

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