THE TAG HEUER CARBON AQUARACER CALIBRE 5 IS THE LATEST ‘SPECIAL CARBON SERIES’. THIS MODEL IS OFFERED IN THREE VARIANTS. EACH VERSION FEATURES A CARBON BEZEL, A CARBON EFFECT DIAL AND LIGHTWEIGHT GRADE 5 TITANIUM, BLACK PVD CASE. ANGUS DAVIES APPRAISES THE COMPOSITION OF EACH MODEL AT CLOSE QUARTERS.
This detailed review of the TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 includes live images, specification details and pricing.
WBD218A.FC6447 (with hints of blue)
When it comes to TAG Heuer’s new products, it seems that 2018 is the year of ‘carbon’ themed watches. At Baselworld 2018, TAG Heuer unveiled a new timepiece housed in a carbon case, endowed with a chronograph. The TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford marked the beginning of a new collaboration between the avant-garde Swiss brand and Bamford Watch Department.
The special carbon series
More recently, TAG Heuer unveiled a triumvirate of carbon themed models. In this instance, the attractive and faithful Aquaracer Calibre 5 provides the basis for this contemporary trio. The TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 features a carbon bezel and and carbon effect dial. Recently, I had the opportunity to get hands-on with these watches and appraise their composition at close quarters.
As previously mentioned, the surface of the dial is described as ‘carbon effect’ and it is magnificent. It resembles fabric with a tight weave, imbued with black and grey coloured tones.
WBD218A.FC6447 (with hints of blue)
The hour and minute hands are faceted, highly polished and lined with grey SuperLuminova. The plump nature of the hands heightens readability. They converse with trapezoidal indices which share the same faceted design as the hands and again incorporate grey luminescent treatment. Positioned adjacent the indexes are neat, coloured squares that match the colour of the central seconds hand. In between each index, crisp markings prove useful when reading off the minutes and seconds.
The TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 is offered in three variants. One model has ‘hints of rose gold’, another has ‘hints of yellow’ and the third model, my personal favourite, features ‘hints of blue’. The model selected determines the colour of the central sweep seconds hand, the aforementioned ‘coloured squares’ and the topstitching on the strap.
Irrespective of which model is selected, all versions feature a date display at 3 o’clock. Above the date aperture, the sapphire crystal is fitted with a magnifier which helpfully enlarges the numerals presented, augmenting readability.
The dial employs many dark shades which cause the indications to come to the fore, facilitating ease of read-off. Indeed, while the dial proffers much eye-appeal it does not eschew practicality. The legibility of each variant is excellent.
Holding the TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 proves enlightening. This is an incredibly light watch. The case is made of grade 5 titanium, covered with black PVD. The case exhibits a stealthy character, sitting deferentially against the dial.
The low mass of the watch, case shape and neutral 41mm sizing, grant impressive levels of wearer comfort.
The bezel is carbon. It is made by randomly injecting fibres into a resin which is subsequently pressed at high temperature. The resultant surface is mottled with black and grey hues. As the fibres are randomly injected into the resin, no two bezels will look the same, providing an agreeable dose of individuality. The TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 remains a diver’s watch, therefore, the bezel is unidirectional and usefully marked with a 60-minute scale.
As a consequence of its diver’s watch remit, this timepiece exudes a palpable sense of robustness. The caseback is solid, as convention dictates. The crown nuzzles between the shoulders of a crown protector. Lastly, the folding clasp holds the watch steadfastly in place and feels hewn from granite. Indeed, there is a ubiquitous sense of quality throughout, despite the watch’s comparatively modest pricing.
Residing beneath the screw-on caseback of the TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 is the brand’s self-winding Calibre 5 movement. Owing to the solid caseback, it is not possible to appraise the movement finishing.
The Calibre 5 has sold in large numbers and has an enviable reputation for reliability. The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4 Hz) and the movement contains ’25 – 26 rubies depending on the execution’. The power reserve is sufficient to deliver 38 hours of autonomy.
Unlike the Monaco Bamford which is endowed with a carbon case, the TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 features a case made of grade 5 titanium, covered with black PVD. This metal also proves light while being cheaper to produce. However, cheaper does not mean inferior, merely that case material is different. Instead, TAG Heuer has chosen to spend a significant proportion of its budget on the carbon bezel. This has allowed the Swiss firm to offer the TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 at £3250 – £3300, depending on the specification (RRP as at 3.12.2018). Based on said prices, these watches stand out from the crowd.
When TAG Heuer unveiled the Aquaracer, it was marketed as the ultimate sports watch, inspired by the aquatic world. With its devilishly good looks, the TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5 remains a practical ownership proposition. Its dial is simple to read, its maximum water resistance of 300 metres should suit active wearers and, lastly, the lightweight case and bezel ensemble augments wearer comfort.
TAG Heuer has democratised carbon, bestowing its benefits to a wider watch-buying audience. In the coming months the brand from La Chaux-de-Fonds will unveil further new watches and I look forward to seeing which materials they choose to employ.
- Model: TAG Heuer Carbon Aquaracer Calibre 5
- Reference: WBD218A.FC6445 (with hints of rose gold); WBD218A.FC6446 (with hints of yellow); WBD218A.FC6447 (with hints of blue)
- Case: Grade 5 titanium; diameter 41mm; sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback; water resistant to 30ATM (300 metres).
- Functions: Hours, minutes, central sweep seconds; date
- Movement: Calibre 5; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 25 – 26 rubies depending on the execution; power reserve = 38 hours
- Strap: Black nylon with black, yellow or blue topstitching
- Price: £3250 (RRP as at 3.12.2018) – (yellow and blue); £3300 (RRP as at 3.12.2018) – (rose gold)
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