The summer watch is a category as important as pilot’s watch or doctor’s watch, but without the historically derived definition that comes from a serious professional context. A loose definition might include a watch that needs to be robust, waterproof and easy to read after five Aperol Spritzes, but it also needs to be fun and communicate a bit of personality. After all, the summer holidays (regardless of the hemisphere you live in) are a time when the workplace persona can be dropped, you can relax into the warmer weather and leave your more conservative timepieces in the safe for a few weeks. Bright colours, uncommon textures and interesting materials are all part of the summer watch playbook, as they aim to complement your board shorts instead of your boardroom suit and tie. For all those reasons, the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer “Tortoise Shell” is one of the most compelling summer watches to hit the market this year.
Being born into the Aquaracer family of TAG Heuer makes perfect sense, as the tool watch DNA of the collection nicely matches up with the brief of being a robust and waterproof watch. True to heritage, this latest member of the Aquaracer gene pool houses the workhorse TAG Heuer Calibre 5.
The automatic winding movement is functionally focused, with the only complication beyond the time being the date display. Not something you might need moment to moment in the hedonistic liminalism of the warm summer sun, but helpful to remind you to go back to the office.
But where much of the Aquaracer collection is sleekly designed with a pallet of more neutral tones, these two new TAG Heuer Aquaracer “Tortoise Shell” references break the mould with exciting colours and visual textures. The 60-minute bezel has been produced in a marbled resin that gives the appearance of tortoise shell, a design decision rarely seen in watchmaking and more commonly seen in reading and sunglasses. This mottled effect has been produced in brown (with a black dial) and blue (with a blue dial) tones that complement several printed highlights on their respective dials.
As you would expect from a TAG Heuer Aquaracer, both 43mm steel cases are water resistant to 300m, which should be more than enough for floating with a Campari and soda next to a pool bar in the Mediterranean. This is achieved with both a screw-down crown and caseback, the latter of which features the engraving of an antique diving helmet. The lume is liberally applied (remember, a great summer watch needs to be easy to read at night too) in both blue and green Super-LumiNova that offers a nice visual contrast.
Attaching the watch to your wrist is one of TAG Heuer’s comfortable rubber straps, which is fastened with a folding clasp. The straps feature an alligator leather texture and match the colours of the respective dials. Both watches are anticipated to be available in August 2020, in time for the end of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, and the beginning of our warmer months in Australia.