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Worth Editors Test Out the Tag Heuer Aquaracer

We put the men’s and women’s versions of Tag’s versatile timepiece to the test.

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5. Photo by Caitlyn Fish

The Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5. Photo by Caitlyn Fish

I lead an active life. I have five kids, and our family is always on the run trying to make the most out of every single day.

I love super complicated watches, but they are, by nature, delicate. I need an attractive watch that I can wear to the gym, to the office, to play football with my sons, on my motorcycle and then out to dinner with my wife. I definitely need a watch that is water-resistant, as well, as I am in “training” for the Fete-des-Baigneurs this year, where crazy people swim in the lake on January 5, so my wife and I are swimming in the Lake Geneva every other day, no matter the weather.

Not many watches fit this bill. Most sports watches are too dedicated to their sports to be versatile enough—for example, dive watches are in general too thick and bulky to look good enough under a suit cuff—while pilot’s watches are often too big, as being able to read them at a glance while flying is key.

The Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 is the exception. The stainless steel cased, rubber strapped, automatic Aquaracer I wore for a week is water resistant to 300 meters, has a ceramic unidirectional bezel, an attractive black dial with luminous markers and hands, and a date window (with magnifier), and at 43mm is small and thin enough to fit in anywhere, and tough enough to take on anything I do in my life.

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I know this firsthand, as I visited the Tag Heuer facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, not too long ago and saw the brand’s torture chamber with my own two eyes. In this room, Tag Heuer actually destroys samples of each model they make with drop tests, vibration tests, torsion and impact tests, sweat and humidity tests, extreme temperature tests and more. The engineers then figure out how to make each watch tougher and more resistant. As a result, Tag Heuer watches are some of the toughest and most reliable on the market.

And that’s exactly what I need in my life—a watch I can put on in the morning and forget about until my hectic day ends.

While wearing the Aquaracer for the week, I found myself admiring its versatility (I banged it around quite a lot, and it was no worse for wear) and its attractiveness. It was easy to read, day or night, and I got quite a lot of comments on the watch. I found myself looking at it more than just to get the time, but to admire how it looked on my wrist.

In this age of watch specialization, the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 is capable of plunging into a cold lake and then going out to a fancy dinner, which is exactly what I had it do.

—Keith Strandberg

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Ladies Quartz

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Ladies Quartz

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Ladies Quartz

I have no children and am not currently training for a polar bear plunge, but I had the same desire as Keith for a watch that would take me from the office, to workouts and various events around the city, to the frequent weekend trips I make to visit friends in other cities.

I needed something both beautiful and functional, and the Aquaracer I chose fit that bill exactly. The two-tone stainless and gold-plated steel bracelet meant I didn’t feel like I needed to treat it with kid gloves, but the 18-karat gold bezel, mother of pearl dial and diamond details meant it still had the beauty I look for in a piece of everyday jewelry. Its 32mm case is the perfect size for a smaller wrist—when I finished my try-on test and had to send it back, my own watch’s 38mm stainless steel case felt downright bulky.

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When testing out any watch I’m always curious what reactions I’m going to get—the watch world sometimes feels like an exclusive club I don’t quite belong in. On a weekend trip to Charlotte, NC, I was at one of the city’s (many) breweries, which are packed with young professionals with dogs and toddlers in tow. When I asked two guys who appeared to be in their twenties if I could pet their dog, I got a “only if you trade us the watch” in response. I didn’t take them up on that offer, but I did feel like I was making my first foray into the club.

That weekend later took me to a quick stop at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, an outdoor enthusiasts’ playground that includes manmade whitewater rafting and kayaking courses, standup paddle boarding and ziplining. I had a flight later that afternoon so didn’t get to test out the watch’s endurance there, but I have no doubt that the Aquaracer, with its water resistance up to 300 meters, could have handled whatever I threw at it.

—Jessica Thomas

The Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 5 retails for $2,500; the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Quartz for $2,900.

Contact: tagheuer.com

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