You can't be a traditionalist with a name like the 'Aquaracer'. That's the whole point. Where other watches are named after very opulent French words, when it launched in 2004, Tag Heuer wanted its new dive watch be a child of the future. It doesn't sound like the others: Aquaracer is that lost instalment of Tron where the computer suffered water damage, or how Aquaman travels around beneath the waves. This watch is a modernist through and through.
But, as befits a watch marking its sweet sixteenth, Tag Heuer has steered in a more classic direction. The 43mm Tortoiseshell Effect Calibre 5 Automatic is still very much an Aquaracer: heavily detailed dial, Super-Luminova indices, unidirectional bezel and so on and so forth. But this one is more Mr Ripley than it Jason Momoa covered in scales. Or, at the very least, a happy medium between the two.
Its tortoiseshell bezel (a trickster of sorts, being crafted from resin rather than anything endangered) would definitely send Dickie Greenleaf and co into a meltdown. Back when nobody had a problem poaching endangered sea-dwelling creatures, tortoiseshell was the go-to material for sunglasses and accessories and thus its classic credentials were cemented. There's a reason why we're still dressing like The Talented Mr Ripley some 70 years later.
The new Aquaracer is powered by the ETA 2824-2, an automatic movement with a date display at three o'clock and 42 hours of juice. And, with a rubber strap – which plays impersonator once again thanks to a textured surface inspired by alligator leather – it's ideal for an Aperol-drenched jaunt to the beach in Italy or France (but probably not Spain). That, and your classic summer knitwear and seersucker suit. Not half bad for a watch from the future.
Available from early August at tagheuer.com, priced around £2,000
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