Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300 Watch Review

Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300

The Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300 is one of the newest versions of the Aquaracer lineup, and like previous variations through the years, there are changes. Still, it’s not a totally revamped model. Most would consider this a positive as if something works, let’s not mess with it too much. And like previous versions, there are lots of different colors and materials to choose from, stainless steel or titanium, blue, black, all black with lume dial, green titanium, limited edition versions, and much more. The one I have in hand here today comes from Saltzman’s Watches of Newport and is the all-blue model, with a blue rubber strap. Pricing starts at $3300, and there is a bracelet model as well, but I chose the rubber strap for a specific reason, a specific reason that turned out not to be what I thought.

Specifications:

  • 43mm Stainless Steel Case
  • 12.2mm Thick
  • 50mm lug to lug
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • 128 grams in weight
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • Ceramic Bezel Insert
  • Screw Down Crown
  • 300m Water Resistance
  • Caliber 5 Movement (SW200-1 OR ETA 2824)
  • Rubber Strap with micro adjusting clasp
Price $3300 as shown
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I skimmed a review of this watch from another website and they went at this piece with What if it was your only watch? I don’t really think of that much, like what if you did have only one watch, you bought a solid attractive watch, one that could pretty much do anything and go with almost anything and you went with a brand name and one that most people will recognize as well, And then I started thinking about how this watch in some past iterations wouldn’t really be considered for this, as they were definitely more rugged and more “dive watch”, with a more rugged aesthetic and materials as well . This Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300 has a more classic appearance with the sunburst dial with horizontal lines and the glossy ceramic insert. This is not the 500-meter beast it once was, no, now it is only 300m water resistant and just over 12mm thick, a watch that can easily slide under a shirt cuff and look just as good on the golf course as well as that nighttime dinner party.

I think this is also possible because Tag has really changed up the Aquaracer lineup in recent years as well. If the 300 is still too much watch for you, then there is the 200 Solargraph. And if the 300 is not extreme enough and you really want to look like you are diving all the time, even when you are not, there is the PRO 1000. The Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300 is the goldilocks of the bunch in my opinion, not too hardcore and still more than just some quartz fashion titanium piece. It’s slim, the machining and finishing actually live up to a watch that will cost closer to $4000 once taxes are figured in (on the bracelet at least), and in most of the colors, it is a very striking watch. But would I want it to be my one and only?

Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300

Unfortunately, the answer is NO. Not in this colorway or configuration at least. See, sometimes I just pick the wrong watch for review. The wrong color, the wrong strap. This Tag Heuer Aquaracer at its core is a pretty great-looking piece (we will talk movement in a bit), but this blue configuration and the rubber strap needed a little more time in the lab in my opinion. I talk about this in the video and it’s definitely a big detractor for me, and I hate to sound like someone just looking for things to knock, but really, go look at the Tag Heuer website for this model. Look at the photos of it and the color. Then come back here and look at my photos. If you are curious as to who captured it as it looks in real life, like, what it will look like after you plunk down over $3,000 for a dream watch and it arrives at your doorstep, well, it’s not Tag, I can tell you that much.

Allow me to take a swerve in the road here so to speak, and let’s talk about what this specific watch looks like on the Tag Heuer website and social media. Imagine if we didn’t have social media, imagine there were no review sites like this, but you still ordered watches (and other products) online, and you saw those images and ordered one, and then the watch pictured here is what showed up instead? You would always feel like you were scammed. As I show in the video, and this goes for a lot of watches, lighting plays a huge role in how something can look, and still, photography doesn’t tell the whole story. But I am using studio lights as well, I have a strobe light as well, and this watch was a hit with a lot of light. Still, it doesn’t have that vibrant blue color that appears on the Tag website. Companies need to start taking more realistic photos and stop with color correction in Photoshop.

Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300

Okay, now with that out of the way, the 12-sided bezel is still here, less clunky than past iterations and though it is easy to turn, and looks great, it might be too easy to turn, at least on my example. The crown on the other hand is solid and turns very smooth, and screws back down into the case nice and tight. The case finishing as I alluded to before is absolutely excellent and I caught myself looking at the case sides of this watch more than the dial. Take away everything else and you still have a watch case that looks just fantastic.

Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300

That dial of the Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300 is no slouch either, with a great hue of blue ( I do love the blue used for the dial), and those horizontal lines really do make for an eye-catching dial for a watch that would look rather plain if they just went standard sunray or gloss. The indices are a mix of octagons and what I guess I would call a cross between a rectangle and a trapezoid shape, and whatever they are called, they look great on the dial. And that date magnifier? i love it. Yes, I love a date magnifier! why? Because it’s under the crystal, not an unsightly wart on top. The one thing on the dial that really sticks out to me though is the model name above the Tag Heuer shield logo. This is not always the case and not sure why they decided to change it up, and even though it is minor, it is odd to me and I don’t really like it.

Then we come back to the colors. I know, I already had a long rant, but it’s not just that the color of this watch doesn’t match the website and promo photos, but possibly even more importantly, the colors don’t match themselves either. The color of the bezel, dial, and strap are all different shades of blue, with the dial being a dark blue, the bezel is more blueish/green and the strap has almost a purple hue. And again, yes, none of these matches what they show on the website, and it’s a big letdown in this example.

Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300

The strap looks nothing like it does on the website, and yes, it bothers me. But, let’s move away from the colors as there are at least 10 other color options of this model available, and I’m sure some look better than this. How is the fitted rubber strap with the new sliding micro-adjustment clasp? The strap itself looks good, I like the lines, they match up with the dial and allow the strap to stand out a bit, and it’s not too stiff nor is it too floppy. As this is a loan sample I was not able to actually wear this piece though, so I really can’t comment on day-to-day comfort. You may be wondering though, why couldn’t I wear it? Well this is a cut-to-size strap, and a very long strap at that, and this should fit up to a 9-inch (22.86cm) wrist out of the box. I can’t believe major brands are still making cut-to-size straps in 2023. But, that new clasp looks great and is pretty much the same clasp on the bracelet model, and of course it’s very functional and easy to use.

Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300

I do wish this strap didn’t need to be cut, as I chose this strap specifically over the bracelet model, thinking that Tag was doing similar to Oris and a few others and I didn’t need to cut this piece to adjust to mine 7 1/2 inch (19.05cm) wrists. With a 43mm case, that is pretty thin, I assume if this strap was the right size for my wrist, it would be pretty comfortable to wear all day. Again, that is something I am assuming, and it could very well be, or it could be digging into my wrist from the clasp or crown after a few hours of wear. But that is still not the worst aspect of this piece.

The review I read on this Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300 tried to spin the movement in this watch, your one and only watch, as a pro. See that Caliber 5 movement isn’t in-house, it is a Sellita SW200-1 or ETA 2824 movement, Top grade movement I am told, with a Tag labeled rotor. This is not a $1000 Swatch watch like a Mido, this is a $3300 watch, and you are not even getting COSC, let alone an in-house or heavily modified movement. And you won’t know what movements you actually have until you are to open the watch up. The movement may or may not have a plastic movement holder as well. That one I can’t confirm (again without opening it up), but this was the case in the past. I hope they at least upgraded that in this new generation.

Not everything is sour grapes (that could be the color name of this strap though), as the dual Super-LumiNova not only looks fantastic in the dark, it does hold a decent charge for a few hours as well. No, the ceramic bezel insert isn’t fully lumed (its only 300m water resistant after all 😉) but the triangle is, so you can still use this in the dark to time your fish on the grill, or you know, in the water as your backup dive watch. Whatever you prefer.

So to summarize, I don’t like much about this piece. 😂 I mean, reading this back, I really took a bite out of this Tag Heuer Aquacer 300, didn’t I? At least on this example, I think I had every right to. There are a myriad of other colors available, and of course, a bracelet is an option as well, and I firmly believe if I got the stainless black version of this watch on a bracelet, it would have had a very different review, well, minus the movement that belongs in a much less expensive watch.
But on the other hand, I am glad this is the one I reviewed. I don’t love having to be this critical, but at the same time I was very hyped to get this watch in hand for review, but afterward, I was very blue. What shade of blue, well that’s hard to tell, but you get where I am coming from. This could be a wonderful watch with a few corrections, but after all, I’m just one man and this is my opinion, so if you do like this piece or any of the Tag Heuer lineup, don’t forget to hit up Saltzmans Watches and mention this review when you do.

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