Sunday, 16 February 2020

ON THE WRIST: TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 16 Chronograph


TAG Heuer Boutique / Bicester Village, 24th January 2020

I'm told we're in for a good year this year, with lots of new releases on the way, which is exciting of course - but at the same time it's slightly sad to see a watch as nice as this one come to the end of its run. It seems like only yesterday that these black PVD Aquaracers came out and now here we are 4-5 years later and these pieces are destined to become just another horological memory. Maybe like me you've always told yourself you'll pick one of these up 'one day' but you've never quite gotten around to it? Well if that's the case and you want to bag yourself a new one at a pre-owned price then look no further than Bicester Village.

I must admit I've always had a soft spot for these Aquaracers, but I find myself conflicted between the two available models; on the one hand I find the Calibre 5's 41mm diameter too small on my 7.3/4" wrist, but on the other I find the Calibre 16's dial a little cluttered. Ideally then I'd really like a 43mm Calibre 5, although then there's always the potential for 'empty dial syndrome'...

Having tried on both versions relatively recently, I think if I had to choose one or the other then I would go for the Calibre 16. Yes it's a lot more expensive, but the extra 'wrist presence' justifies the cost. Of course both share that polished ceramic bezel and the yellow detailing on the dial and textile strap, which gives these watches an eye-catching, glamorous edge... so ether way you'll certainly be getting something which will constantly draw your eye. But for me, I think I'd get used to the Calibre 16 dial... but the Calibre 5 will always be a little too 'buttony' for me.

You know when TAG Heuer first brought out these woven textile straps I really wasn't sure about them at all. But having had one in my collection now for over 6 months, I have to say I've grown to like them. They seem a lot more hard wearing than they look, although obviously you have to make some effort to avoid getting the stitching dirty. Admittedly they aren't cheap to replace, the gold coloured one for my Aquaracer WAY208C costs over £200, which seems a bit excessive... but then again I don't feel like I will need to replace my strap anytime soon. If you're going to wear these every day though it might be a different story... you can always purchase a very nice (and much cheaper) fitted rubber strap for those days when you want to get extra 'dirty'.

Black watches are always slightly 'difficult', since they rarely come on bracelets so the choice of strap is always something of a challenge. You also have to accept that the coating is relatively easy to damage and difficult and costly to repair, but on the other hand black watches look damn cool and this one is no exception.

I have a horrible feeling that when these are all gone I will suddenly want one, but right now I don't really have the budget for this. That said, £2375 will make this yours, and you'll be saving £1020 off the regular price, doesn't seem bad at all does it?

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