How on earth did diving watches ever get so popular? It’s a reasonable question given that scuba diving is a niche pursuit at best and few of us, to paraphrase Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, truly love the smell of neoprene in the morning. Despite being purpose-built for aquatic exploration, in reality few diving watches ever get to backroll their way into the ocean. The point of that bezel may be to check how long you’ve been submerged underwater, but should you actually use it to ensure you don’t overcook the pasta well, hey, you’re hardly alone.
Despite all this, diving watches remain one of the biggest categories of watch around, because they’re tough, durable and, would you believe it, waterproof, too. Since launching in 2004, TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer has become extremely popular as a sporty watch that can handle the bumps and bruises of an active lifestyle. This year, the range has been spruced up with a range of upgrades and seven new models. But one of the most eye-catching is this green-dialled model hewn from grade 2 titanium.
“Lightweight” is often a byword for insubstantial. But when it comes to performance, it makes a lot of sense. With a diameter of 43mm, this isn’t some dainty sliver of a timepiece that’s designed to quietly protrude from a tailored cuff. It’s a sizable watch that delivers serious wrist presence. Yet, when you strap it on, the titanium build makes it deceptively light and comfortable.
That unobtrusive feel does not come at the expense of hard-knock functionality. This Aquaracer packs a ceramic bezel insert, 300 metres of water resistance, a screw-down crown and a solid caseback. On the dial, the rhodium-plated indices and sword hands are bedecked in white Super-Luminova to guarantee easy visibility. If you’re going to dive, in other words, it won’t let you down. Further reassurance comes from the watch being propelled by TAG Heuer’s Caliber 5, an automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve and a date display at six o’clock. In short, it’s a strong all-rounder on land or sea.
While these rugged capabilities are undeniable, this is no pug-nosed bruiser with a cauliflower ear. The titanium may have been sandblasted to tone down the sheen and ram home the tool-watch credentials, but there’s no disguising this is a good-looking timepiece. The olive green adds pleasing depth to the dial by bringing out the horizontal striations. It’s matched by the similarly hued bezel with the colour scheme ignited by perky orange accents. Compared to previous models in the range, the overall design has become slightly more streamlined with shorter lugs and a thinner build that offers greater finesse. Whether you’re after a diver for the life aquatic or just a hardy everyday wearer, the Aquaracer will ensure you’re never out of your depth. Price: $6,100