While we here at ISOCHRONO tend to prefer mechanical watches, we’re not above understanding that there is a time and place for non-mechanical watches as well. To this end the new TAG Heuer Acquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph, offered as the ideal watch for adventure, exploration and tagged to be the ultimate outdoor companion, might be a suitable candidate for your consideration under specific circumstances.
The first ever Aquaracer appeared in 2004, featuring the line’s six signature features: unidirectional bezel, screw down crown, 200m water resistance, luminous markings, sapphire crystal and double safety clasp on the bracelet. The 2022 Aquaracer released last year added a solar powered movement by famed movement maker in La Chaux-de-Fonds, La Joux-Perret, in keeping with the philosophy of being in tune with nature, whilst navigating the great outdoors. This 2023 version comes with all these elements intact, now presented in titanium and offering durability, lightness, comfort and robustness.
The design here always proposes ultimate readability in any lighting condition, or lack of. The dial is partly translucent to allow the solar charging, complemented by polar blue accents to invoke the northern lights of the Arctic Circle, recalling the outdoor origins that inspired the Aquaracer.
The features and titanium construction already makes this a standout candidate for a do anything, go anywhere watch for all times. The icing on the cake, so to speak, is the in house solar movement, Caliber TH50-00. No one can dispute the convenice and usability of a quartz powered movement, let alone one powered by solar energy. This movement only needs a 2 minute exposure to the sun to power the watch for a day. After a full charge, the watch can run up to 6 months provided it is exposed to another 20 hours of sunlight. Thereafter, only 10 seconds of sunlight gets it started again.
As an Aquaracer and with a unidirectional timing bezel, it can be used for diving, and this is where I find the application of the solar powered technology especially useful. First of all, it is nice that Swiss made versions of solar powered watches are coming to market more and more. It’s no secret that Japanese solar powered watches have been around for a long time, and while these offered many technical advantages to buyers who were interested in a set in and forget it type of watch, they didn’t have the kind of styling and name-cachet of their Swiss made counterpoints. To this end, it is good that TAG Heuer is heading the charge in this kind of technology for the entry level segment of the market.
The Solargraph does look good and wear well after all, and I see potentially two types of customers for this watch. The first type would be those who love their mechanical watches but would not want to put them through any abuse when engaging in outdoor activities. The second are for those who are looking for a Swiss made quartz watch to wear everyday, but can now get a watch like this, and dispense with the need for regular battery changes.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph (WBP1180.BF0000)
Movement: TH50-00 Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date Dial: Black Sunray brushed dial Black applied indexes with white Super-LumiNova® Black hour hand with white Super-LumiNova® Black minute hand with Super-LumiNova® /Polar blue lacquered central hand with Super-LumiNova® Rhodium plated TAG HEUER sticker logo / 3 o’clock angled date / AQUARACER SOLARGRAPH 200 M / 660 FT printed Case: 40 mm diameter/ Titanium grade 2 sand blasted case/ Titanium grade 2 sand blasted 60-minute scale unidirectional turning bezel Flat sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment/ Steel screw-down crown at 3 o’clock/ Sand blasted titanium grade 2 screwed case back Water resistance : 200 meters Bracelet/Strap: Sand blasted titanium grade 2 bracelet/ Titanium grade 2 folding clasp with double safety push-buttons with comfort link extension; TAG Heuer shield Availability February 2023 with a 5 year warranty