TAG Heuer’s new 34mm Solargraph is proof of solar supremacyBuffy Acacia
- TAG Heuer have shrunk their Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph down to 34mm.
- The dials include a versatile blue, wild sparkly green and several mother-of-pearl options.
- Despite the small size and 9.7mm thickness, they’re still 200 metres water-resistant.
Blasting through the quartz versus mechanical debate like tissue paper, solar-powered watches have risen to the top of the conversation in the last couple of years. Between the convenience of no more battery changes and the environmental benefits, they’ve been given even more of an edge over mechanical watches which can sometimes be too much of a hassle. TAG Heuer joined in on the action in 2022 with their Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph range, and now they’ve expanded the lineup with five more references in 34mm cases. Small wrists of the world rejoice, because the dials are actually interesting too.
Part of why solar-powered watches are becoming widespread among the top Swiss brands is because of the design freedom with modern technology. Citizen were ahead of the times with their Eco-Drive introduced in the ‘90s, but now it seems everyone is getting creative with photovoltaic cells. TAG Heuer may have a particular leg-up in this regard as their Calibre TH50-01 is a collaboration with Manufacture La Joux-Perret SA, who are in turn owned by Citizen. The result is a watch which can completely pass under the radar, because the dial only needs slight transparency to absorb light and turn it into power. If you absolutely need it to, the Solargraph can run for up to 10 months without any light, but hopefully you’ll be giving these dials a chance to shine in the sun.
Of the five new references, there are three new dials. The 34mm versions definitely sway more towards the dress-diver side of things, although they are not inherently women’s models. Doing away with the horizontal ridges, the most versatile of the three dials is a deep blue sunburst paired with a turquoise seconds hand. Next occupies the space between turquoise and sage green, which TAG Heuer confusingly call “Polar Blue”. Whatever they call it, the swirling texture creates a sparkling effect which almost looks glittery, but in a far less gaudy way than it sounds. Finally, there’s a mother-of-pearl dial which is the hardest one to believe is solar. It’s also the most feminine of the three, and is available with no diamonds, diamond hour markers, or diamond markers plus a diamond-set bezel.
Downsizing the Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph to 34mm came with some personality changes beyond the simple dimensions, although I do very much enjoy small dive watches which retain some bulky elements. The 1980s-style bezel is there with all of its inelegant charisma, but it’s been polished to accentuate its wrist presence, and the markings are engraved but unpainted for subtle visibility. This contrast of textures really highlights the variety of finishing across the entire case and bracelet, and sets it apart as its own model rather than just “the small version” of another watch. The lug-to-lug measurement of 40.6mm and the thickness of just 9.7mm will come as welcome news to those who prefer compact sizes and the comfort they bring, especially considering the 200m water resistance has been upheld with a screw-down crown.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph 34mm pricing and availability
The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph in 34mm will be available from TAG Heuer retailers in February 2024. Price: A$3,100, US$2,150 (blue, “Polar Blue”), A$3,400, US$2,350 (mother-of-pearl), A$4,300, US$2,950 (mother-of-pearl, diamond markers), CHF 4,900 (mother-of-pearl, diamond bezel)
|Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph 34mm
|34mm (D) x 9.7mm (T) x 40.6mm (LTL)
|Blue sunburst, “Polar Blue”, mother-of-pearl
|Three-link steel bracelet, folding clasp with on-the-fly adjustment
|TH50-01, in collaboration with La Joux-Perret, solar quartz
|Hours, minutes, seconds, date
|Available from February 2024
|A$3,100, US$2,150 (blue, “Polar Blue”)
A$3,400, US$2,350 (mother-of-pearl)
A$4,300, US$2,950 (mother-of-pearl, diamond markers)
CHF 4,900 (mother-of-pearl, diamond bezel)