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What makes the 2021 Aquaracers special? We caught up with Guy Bove, Product Director, TAG Heuer, just days after the second edition of the digital version of Watches and Wonders to find out.
Excerpts from the interview:
What makes the new Aquaracers special?
What makes the new Aquaracers special is firstly its history. It’s a watch we’ve had in our portfolio since the last 25 years. It is super wearable for a fairly big watch. It is very distinctive with its 12 sided bezel which we now merged with knurling on the edges for better grip. So you have a bezel which looks good but is at the same time very functional. We’ve given the watch an angular look which is what makes it, sporty yet elegant. So you can wear it with pretty much any attire and still take it around the world and go diving. We hope that the work we put into it will keep it looking good and relevant for years to come. The watch looks great on smaller wrists as well, despite its 43mm size. As far as I can tell it is the perfect everyday watch.
The previous generation Aquaracers were offered in 41mm and 43mm sizes and now they’re being offered in a 43mm and 36mm. Taking into consideration the success of the 40mm dive watch globally, was this a tough call?
I would probably have to say #WatchThisSpace. Even though the previous generation was also 43mm, it was a lot bigger and chunkier, so it felt like a big watch on the wrist. With our new generation 43mm, it is designed extremely well, so even though it is a 43mm, it wears very elegantly.
Vintage timepiece or tribute pieces are not easy projects to work on typically. Could you take us through some of the challenges you faced with the Tribute to Reference 844 Limited Edition.
The first challenge was figuring out how to use the 844 because that reference led to a whole series of tool watches. There have been a lot of generational changes. What we didn’t want to do is go back to our past and recreate the 844 as is. There were some things about the 844 which we used in terms of look and feel in the current Aquaracer collection. For example: the knurling on the sides of the bezel, the large hour markers on the dial at 12, 3 and 9, the octagonal markers. We used the idea of the dial layout in our regular collection. We took away the engraved dial surface and went for a flat look like the original 844. We also used red markings on the dial like the original 844 to ensure wearers don’t make any mistakes when transcribing time. Basically 1:34PM is 13:34PM in 24 hour time and having that written on the dial helps people avoid any errors in reading time. On the original 844, we had a tropical rubber strap which had a leather like texture with holes in the front for better breathability. We used that idea but went for a textile finish instead of leather and we also made the holes angular to tie in with the rest of the design. We used the main look and feel of the 844 with an overall Aquaracer design. Then on the dial we went more specific and we used the vintage look. One of the things that is hard to spot in the press images is the titanium case (Not Steel) and so it is a high spec model in the Aquaracer range.
TAG Heuer is a brand known for its now-iconic designs. Where do you stand on the ‘Date Debate’?
If you have a look at the new Aquaracers you will see that the date has now moved to the 6 o clock position and we have integrated a magnifying glass under the glass. It does not stick out. It helps users see the date better. We’ve started moving our date windows to the 6 o clock position which also makes it less conspicuous, but also adds a little bit of presence to the 6 o clock part of the watch. We feel our customers like the technical features as well as the design of our watches and a lot of them in our case have date windows. I feel having a date window simply adds to the experience of having a time teller on your wrist.
What is the most challenging stage of watch creation?
If you have a look at our brand, each collection describes a different facet of TAG Heuer. We’ve got an elegance collection, tool watches, everyday watches, the connected – Each of these watches tell a different story. The first question when you look at a new design is how is that facet going to tell the TAG Heuer story. Secondly, who should it bring into the brand. And then you get into size, thickness and of course not to forget what part of our history is this going to refer to. There is a lot of thinking that goes on prior to designing. The new Aquaracers are 2 years of work which involved weekly rounds of design, discussions with our CEO, figuring out which colours to use, design, mechanics – There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Yes the watch looks nice and hopefully it tells the story we intended it to tell but all of that comes with thousands of design decisions. It is all about getting that to line up and look effortless. We want our watches to fit in with the idea of continuity and also to stand out as a great watch.
Do you have a favourite in the collection?
It would be the Tribute to 844. First off all I love titanium watches and I like the colour scheme with the Lume and the red and I do like more of a rugged look. The flat dial also works well for me but I have to say I wore the blue dial 43mm for about a week recently and I just kept looking at my wrist time and again. They’re very functional and beautiful and sit very well.