A professional look for the TAG Heuer Orange DiverBorna Bošnjak
TAG Heuer has not been shy about taking plenty of inspiration from their back catalogue and integrating it into their new releases. Rather than just rehashing the same old design, however, they’ve always brought something new and/or improved to the table. We first saw this with the Tribute to Ref. 844, as the same iconic reference lends its design features to the new Orange Diver.
Released in 1978, the 844 was Heuer’s first take on a dive watch, years before the Techniques d’Avant Garde acquisition. In the magazine excerpt above, we can see two famous early Heuer divers — the references 844 and 980.xxx. If you’ve not read the phenomenal historical deep dives by OnTheDash (pun fully intended), what are you doing?
Orange stands for professional
Surely I can’t be the only one who associates those two? Orange has always been well-represented in dive watches, and while TAG Heuer does well to implement it on some Aquaracers, they went all-out with the aptly named Orange Diver. The horizontal teak-deck, garage-door, *insert other simile here* pattern makes the design for me. The bold colour is given peaks, troughs and shadows for a dynamic display of light. While not overdone, I’d much prefer if the AQUARACER script migrated south, possibly even displacing the white AUTOMATIC line.
Zooming in closer, let’s take a look at the attention to detail. It wouldn’t be me writing an Aquaracer review without the word dodecagonal — it sounds so much better than 12-sided, I’m sorry. Either way, the indices are a mixture of that shape and truncated triangles, all filled to the brim with lume. I especially like their polished surrounds, it helps the indices stand out extra well, though they did confuse me slightly at first. I couldn’t quite make out how TAG Heuer chose to orient those eight markers, as they don’t sit in line with the pattern on the dial. They are, it turns out, alligned tangentially with the stepped rehaut. Unlike the Superdiver, the Orange Diver retains the under-crystal cyclops for better functionality.
I’m seeing more and more bicolour lume in the watches we’re reviewing, and I’m all for it. The minute hand of the Orange Diver glows blue, matching the index on the dive-time bezel and tip of the seconds hand. The hour hand and markers glow in a uniform green. I’m slightly disappointed by the exclusion of a fully lumed bezel — especially because both the Superdiver and Solargraph have one.
Big size, short lugs
This seems to be the running theme for the facelifted Aquaracer. While the name suggests a 43mm diameter, it actually measures in at 43.7mm, with the callipers positioned at 10 o’clock and 4 o’clock. It’s the 49.8mm lug-to-lug size where the Orange Diver really shines, as even I could pull it off on my 6.1-inch/15.5cm wrist. With a thickness of 12.5mm, including the slightly protruding sapphire crystal, it doesn’t wear overly top-heavy, though it’s not a lightweight watch when mounted on the bracelet.
There’s not much to say about the case finish, as it’s really simple, but done well. The hairline brushing is consistent, broken up only by that lovely feature line spanning the length of the case, from lug-tip to lug-tip. It’s almost automotive in its execution, reminding me of the tension a beautiful curve can provide to what would otherwise be a plain design.
The bracelet echoes the simplicity and quality of execution. It’s well-integrated into the case, and done so with a female end-link which is a big bonus on a big watch. Tapering to a rectangular clasp, it offers a fuss-free on-the-fly adjustment system which has worked really well in my experience. It might not be the most elegant and discreet of solutions, but it matches the tool-tastic aesthetic.
The TAG Heuer Calibre 5 is not a new kid on the block. Historically based on either the ETA 2824 or Sellita SW 200, it’s a simple and relatively cheap-to-service workhorse. The example in the Orange Diver lists a 38-hour power reserve, which leads me to believe it to be of Sellita origin. This would make sense, considering ETA’s third-party export exodus.
The case of the Orange Diver is a difficult one. TAG Heuer has done a great job with the throwback design, as they didn’t just lazily rehash an old model, instead updating it to modern standards with improved materials. The case and bracelet make for an exceedingly wearable proposition despite the size, which deserves plaudits too.
While the construction, wearability and design are all on point, the movement will be a sticking point for many. It either lags behind the competition at its $4,750 AUD price point, or exceeds the price that other Sellita-base movements can be found at.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver pricing and availability:
The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver is available now. Price: $4,750 AUD
|Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver
|43.7mm x 49.8mm x 12.5mm, 21mm lug width
|Stainless steel bracelet
|TAG Heuer Calibre 5, Sellita SW 200 base, 38-hour power reserve
Made in partnership with TAG Heuer. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.