A name synonymous with motor racing, TAG Heuer is now eyeing a bigger slice of the pie in the dive-watch segment. Luckily, the foundation was laid in 2004 when the LVMH-owned brand debuted the Aquaracer collection. No sooner had the current young CEO Frédéric Arnault taken over the helm than the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT made a high-profile comeback. 2021 was the year to claim its stake as a luxury tool watch, for a lifestyle in and out of the waves. Winning with build quality and a refreshed design makeover, the Aquaracer welcomes back the Professional 300 with a GMT function.
The Aquaracer can trace his heritage all the way back to the iconic 1978 Heuer 844 dive model. Balazs delved into the historic reference when he covered the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT relaunch here. The original Aquaracer laid down six signature features in its blueprint — a unidirectional bezel, screw-down crown, sapphire crystal, luminous hands and hour markers, double-safety clasp, and superlative water resistance.
While these are the fundamentals of the Aquaracer, the GMT models feature a bi-directional bezel for the ease of adjusting to a second timezone. This very feature with a bi-color GMT scale is also one that has seen the most significant update from the two prior GMT versions (which, at the time of writing, you can still find on the brand’s website, albeit unavailable).
The dodecagonal steel bezel now has a knurled edge and holds a scratch-proof and fade-resistant ceramic insert. This is cast with a 24-hour scale and divided into two colors to indicate day and night. In a new color scheme, the deep blue half of the bezel ring spans from six o’clock in the evening to six in the morning, whereas the other half in milky white represents the remaining 12 hours in a day. The pairing with a highly legible GMT hand in yellow lacquer takes the guesswork out of reading the second timezone.
According to TAG Heuer, the blue, white, and yellow color palette was deliberately chosen to “represent the sky, the water, the sun, and the crashing waves near the shore”. The matching blue dial features horizontal grooves, which we recognize from the standard diver and previous GMT versions. This Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT carries the same 43mm form and profile in stainless steel. From lug to lug, the case measures 49mm, just like the three-hand model that Dave reviewed last year. The crown also screws down and features guards for protection, just as before. The rest of the aesthetics obey the design codes for the new generation of the Aquaracer Professional 300. As such, the date now sits at 6 o’clock under a circular magnifier.
As you’d guess, the “300” in the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT name denotes the water resistance. You can even find an Aquaracer Professional 1000 super-diver in the brand’s collection. For the luxury sports-watch market, these over-engineered watches demonstrate TAG Heuer’s capabilities in the field. While superlative technicality is not the purpose of the new Aquaracer 300, a dive watch good enough for professional use is reassuring for customers who partake in that lifestyle.
Powering the latest GMT model is TAG Heuer’s Calibre 7. This is a Swiss-made, Sellita SW330-based automatic movement with a power reserve of up to 50 hours. It is the same movement we have seen in the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT’s predecessors. This ultra-reliable caliber beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) and sits beneath a solid case back. Just like the other new Aquaracer Professional 300 models, the steel case back of this GMT watch is engraved with a repeating hexagonal motif and a “scaphander” diving helmet. The scaphander has been a symbol of the Aquaracer since 2004, though it now appears much more angular in design. Those with an appreciation for detail will be happy to know that the graphic will always sit upright too. Hats off to TAG Heuer for putting in the effort on that.
The GMT diver comes on either a stainless steel metal bracelet or a matching blue rubber strap. It features the same new micro-adjusting clasp for the straps that Dave raved about in his hands-on review of the non-GMT model here. The beauty of it is that you can adjust it freely to suit your desired level of comfort.