The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date & GMT give watch fans what they want

The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date & GMT give watch fans what they want

Jamie Weiss

The Carrera and Monaco are icons, but I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the TAG Heuer Aquaracer – especially since the brand’s refresh of the Aquaracer range in 2021, and extra-especially the Aquaracer Professional 300, which is the flagship of the range. I love the angularity of its dodecagonal bezel, octagonal lume plots and slabby case – as well as its luxury tool watch credentials at an extremely reasonable price. However, there are two tweaks that I, and many TAG fans (including our founder Andrew), have been wishing for the Aquaracer. Firstly, the Professional 300 has, until now, been available in 36mm and 43mm sizes – the former’s too small and the latter’s too big. It’s also suffered from a somewhat underwhelming 38-hour power reserve. Thankfully, TAG Heuer has addressed both those concerns, refreshing the Aquaracer Professional 300 range with new Date and GMT models in Goldilocks 42mm cases, and now featuring a more impressive, COSC-certified movement.

The cases

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date & GMT on wrist

As mentioned above, TAG Heuer has shrunk the case diameter of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Date and GMT down from 43mm to 42mm. What’s in a millimetre? A lot, actually. In a market where consumers are increasingly baulking at diameters that start with a 4 rather than a 3, 43mm is simply far too big for many consumers. 42mm, however, is one of the most popular diameters in the industry.

More crucially, the lug-to-lug measurement of the Aquaracer Professional 300 is now 48mm, down from 50.3mm – which makes a world of difference. Generally speaking, a watch’s lug-to-lug impacts its wearability far more than its diameter. Watches can have very long lugs or fixed first links, for instance. In comparison, the new Aquaracer Professional 300 features compact lugs and a beautifully draping bracelet.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date & GMT profile

TAG Heuer has also shaved 0.2mm off the thickness of the Date model compared to the previous 43mm iteration, bringing it down to 12mm. The new GMT model is slightly thicker than the Date at 13.45mm to accommodate its second time zone, however. Otherwise, the Aquaracer’s case design is largely the same – which is a good thing, in my opinion – aside from its edges, which feature slightly broader polished finishes, softening its obliqueness. The case is also slightly more curved, and the crown guards are a little sharper, referencing the OG ref. 844. They also retain the same closed caseback with a diving helmet motif as previous Aquaracers.

The dials

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date green dial

A more noticeable change for these 42mm models is that they now feature the same wave-effect pattern that was previously only available on 36mm Date models. Organic-looking yet not too on the nose, this wavy pattern is pretty handsome, although I still like the “teak” striped pattern found on other Aquaracers. A layer of lacquer gives it beautiful depth, with the GMT models featuring a slightly thicker coat, giving them a darker look. Three dial colours are available: blue, green and black, the latter of which is only available on the Date model.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date blue dial

All three dial variants feature contrasting-coloured seconds hands and “chronometer” dial text: baby blue for the black model (a look first seen on the original Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph), orange for the blue models, and lime green for the green models. All models feature colour-matched ceramic bezel inserts, with GMT models getting bi-coloured ones, half in black and half in their dial colour, plus colour-coordinated GMT hands.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT green

Something else I’m very glad they didn’t change with this refresh is the 6 o’clock date window magnifying lenses, which sit under the crystal rather than on top of the crystal, as is often found on dive watches. I’ve always thought this was one of the most subtly compelling aspects of the modern Aquaracer’s design.

The straps

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date & GMT strap

In typically confusing watch brand fashion, there’s a variety of strap and bracelet options for the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 range, with each getting its own reference number. Black and blue dial variants of both the GMT and Date models have the choice of either a colour-matched rubber strap or a new three-link steel bracelet with wholly brushed top finishing, while green dial variants only have bracelet options. It can’t be that hard to come up with a green rubber strap, can it?

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date & GMT bracelet

Anyway, both the rubber straps and bracelets feature a common folding clasp design, with two pushers and on-the-fly micro-adjustment. Not enough people talk about how TAG Heuer really nails on-the-fly micro-adjustment, both with the bracelets and rubber or leather straps. The brand’s current offerings are robust and extremely easy to use – it’s little quality-of-life features like this that really help get watches across the line for prospective customers. Specifically, you get about 10mm of adjustment, which is more than enough to accommodate your wrist swelling and shrinking throughout the day, or even the chunkiest of wetsuits.

The movements

TH31 00 calibre

The most substantial change the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 range brings to the table is a better movement under the hood, the TH31-00 calibre. Previously, the Aquaracer Professional 300 was powered by the Calibre 5, which is based on the ETA 2824-2 and features a pretty wimpy 38-hour power reserve. The TH31-00 family, however (which is a Sellita base calibre that’s been modified by AMT, a branch of Sellita that produces higher-end custom or bespoke movements, including exclusively for TAG Heuer) boasts a “weekend-proof” 80-hour power reserve, and is also COSC-certified – that’s a big upgrade.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT blue

The TH31-03 that powers the new Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT features the same power reserve as the date-only TH31-00, but as mentioned earlier, is slightly thicker, which is to be expected. Both movements come with a 5-year warranty.

The verdict

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date black

Without being too prosaic, TAG Heuer has simply made a good thing even better with the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date and GMT. I foresee the wave-effect dial being the only potentially contentious element of these 42mm models, but I don’t think they’re dealbreakers by any means. TAG Heuer hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater: they’ve iterated, refined and improved the Aquaracer, listening to what fans watch to produce a fundamentally better watch.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date and GMT pricing & availability

The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Date and GMT will be available from June 2024. Price: CHF 3,700, ~US$4,100 (Date), CHF 3,900, ~US$4,300 (GMT).

Brand TAG Heuer TAG Heuer
Model Aquaracer Professional 300 Date Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT
Reference Number WBP5110.BA0013 (black on bracelet)
WBP5110.FT6257 (black on rubber)
WBP5111.BA0013 (blue on bracelet)
WBP5111.FT6259 (blue on rubber)
WBP5116.BA0013 (green on bracelet)
WBP5114.BA0013 (blue on bracelet)
WBP5114.FT6259 (blue on rubber)
WBP5115.BA0013 (green on bracelet)
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 12mm (T) x 48mm (LTL) 42mm (D) x 13.45mm (T) x 48mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel Stainless steel
Water Resistance 300 metres, screw-down crown 300 metres, screw-down crown
Crystal(s) Sapphire Sapphire
Dial Black, blue or green lacquered wave pattern Blue or green lacquered wave pattern
Strap Rubber strap or three-link bracelet, both with folding clasps and micro-adjust Rubber strap or three-link bracelet, both with folding clasps and micro-adjust
Movement Calibre TH31-00, Sellita AMT base, automatic, COSC Calibre TH31-03, Sellita AMT base, automatic, COSC
Power Reserve 80 hours 80 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date, unidirectional diving bezel Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT, bidirectional GMT bezel
Availability Available from June 2024 Available from June 2024
Price CHF 3,700 (~US$4,100) CHF 3,900 (~US$4,300)