[VIDEO] The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Solargraph is the Aquaracer We’ve Been Waiting For

The TAG Heuer Aquaracer has had a relatively sorted history since its introduction in 2004, taking on a range of identities scarcely connected between era specific design codes that come and go. The bits that have connected through the years remain as compelling today as they were in the pre-Aquaracer 2000 Series watches, and after a generation of Aquaracer growth, their latest effort in the Solargraph feels to have finally found a lasting voice by tying it all together in a cohesive package. This is the first Aquaracer since those early 2000 Series watches that has felt like a fully matured concept to my eye, and I hope it’s a sign of things to come within the family. 

To this day the Aquaracer exists in many forms spread across the Aquaracer 200, 300, and 1000 ranges. Each adopts the general dive watch aesthetic at the core of the collection, but you’ll find complications ranging from chronographs and GMTs alongside gem-set colorful dials in a range of sizes. It’s a collection that covers a lot of ground. The Solargraph, as seen in its newest guise released earlier this year, manages to capture a near perfect distillation of the Aquaracer design language, and manages enough restraint to feel like a fresh, and I’ll venture to say more timeless execution of the theme. That’s merely at first blush, however. We recently spent some time with the watch to see just how well that pans out in practice.


[VIDEO] The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Solargraph is the Aquaracer We’ve Been Waiting For

Grade 2 Titanium
TH50-00 Solar Powered Quartz
Black Translucent
Green and Blue
Grade 2 Titanium Bracelet
Water Resistance
Lug Width
Screw In

LVMH Watch Week is something of a spectacle to observe, with no shortage of glistening high-end hardware to discover. From sapphire clad Hublots, to high-frequency Zeniths, and even one of the thinnest watches ever produced from Bulgari, there’s plenty of dramatic watches to enjoy. You can see our photo report right here, and see all of our favorites right here. Ironically, a general consensus began to quickly form around a solar powered quartz watch from TAG Heuer being the low key hit of the affair. It’s the one watch we (realistically) wanted to revisit straight away, and we weren’t alone in that sentiment.

So why was this watch the subject of so much curiosity? In light of the current trends embracing a certain era of fashion and style to which the most popular Aquaracer references of the past belong, the current watch finds itself perfectly positioned to capture some nostalgia and present it in a very on-trend manner within this very Solargraph. TAG Heuer has achieved exactly this, capitalizing on the parts that recall the necessary vibes of a bygone era, within a quite contemporary package as a whole that has been executed very well. I’d say you couldn’t have one without the other, so kudos to TAG Heuer on nailing the execution here. 

Beneath all that, there is a very simple appeal to the Solargraph. There’s no big mission statement or deep story to understand with this one, everything falls into ‘what you see is what you get’ territory here and that’s a very good thing for a tool watch to be these days. That said, there are In fact, there are a couple small details that would benefit this watch further, which seem to have been overlooked in the name of retaining that simple message. But we’ll get to all that. 

The Aquaracer Solargraph is a 40mm sport watch that’s been rendered entirely in grade 2 titanium. The whole watch weighs just 82 grams and sits on the edge of featherweight territory with any notable compromises to the in-hand and on-wrist quality. The case measures 46.5mm from lug to lug, and a scant 10mm in total thickness. All those numbers combined should tell a pretty clear story of just how pleasant this watch is on the wrist, and it is, but they are only part of that story. 

As we’ve discussed, there are other qualities outside of those measurements that can have a big impact on wearability, and thankfully this watch remains downright lovely in everyday use even light of the shape of the case and the articulation of the bracelet. It sits flat, moves where it needs to move, and doesn’t hinder any activity you’re likely to throw at it. All prized qualities in a sport watch, making the Solargraph a great potential daily wear companion.

There are only two drawbacks to the watch that weigh against it in such a consideration. The relatively minor first is the crown, which sticks out a touch further from the case than I’d prefer, and the second, a far more serious strike, is the lack of a quick adjustment mechanism in the clasp. I don’t think all watches need a slick quick adjust clasp, but this is a watch vying for every day active usability, making its omission all the more glaring. We see unique solutions to quick adjustments increasingly often, and at all manner of price points, and all things considered, this isn’t an inexpensive watch. I wouldn’t call it a dealbreaker, as I found the bracelet rather agreeable in fit on my own wrist, but that will vary from person to person and from activity to activity.

While on the subject of the bracelet, there are other details worth taking into account with the Solargraph. Starting with the good, the end link design allows for a high angle of articulation with the first central link of the bracelet. The center section of the end link has a hollow portion that allows that center link of the bracelet to rotate freely at one of the most important points of the connection, right as the bracelet begins to fall off and around the wrist. Oftentimes this central meeting point is stiff, extending net effective measurement of the lug to lug in wear, and while this isn’t the most graceful solution, it is indeed a solution that works with this watch. 

The not so good when it comes to the bracelet is link removal. This isn’t an issue you’ll come across often with this watch, and ideally an AD will handle this for you, but the links are held together via pin and collar that need to be hammered out. It’s an exceptionally impractical feature, especially in light of the lack of quick adjustment. This isn’t as big a deal as the lack of quick adjustment, but it’s an annoyance likely to stick with you if you attempt to size yourself.

Aside from these issues, the bracelet is overall quite comfortable in use. The angular design of the links fits nicely with the rest of the watch, which has a blocky angularity to it that feels somewhere between brutal and elegant. The uniform matte texture leans to industrial vibes, but the overall sparse nature of the design provides enough sophistication to the look which lands a healthy balance between these realms. The Solargraph is a distillation of the Aquaracer design language, stripped to its necessities, still easily recognizable, forgoing any extraneous finishing or flourishes. As such, it feels like the most mature execution of the Aquaracer, perhaps ever. That also means it might not be the best GADA type watch, as it lacks any real formality. However, anything south of a suit and I think you can get away with this watch in your ensemble. 

The case and bracelet are the real focal points of this watch. They are restrained, intentional, and practical, all at once. But the situation could easily be sullied by poor choices made in the dial. Thankfully, here too TAG Heuer exercised a healthy amount of restraint, bringing just enough personality to the table to be effective, but not so much that you’re left overwhelmed. The base of the dial is a dark gray horizontally textured plate that allows light to pass through it en route to powering the movement. As such there the dial can take on slight purple hues in the right light and at the right angles, which isn’t a bad thing in my book. 

Atop of this stage we get applied hour indexes that mirror the angularity of the case, and a set of baton shaped hands that provide plenty of legibility without overpowering the dial. It is here that we find the only subtle applications of color, in the form of a light teal application to the name of the watch at 6 o’clock; at the chapter ring marking each hour at the perimeter, and my favorite in the seconds hand. It’s a small detail that’s been handled with care, and ends up making a sizable impact on the experience of reading the watch.


Another subtle detail you’ll end up discovering in low light situations in the use of multiple lume colors. Each of the hour markers, as well as the hour hand glow green when charged, while the minute and seconds hands take on the light blue appearance. 

I have just a few observations about the dial and I’m not sure they qualify as complaints, but they stand out as slightly odd choices. The first is the size and placement of the Aquaracer name at the top of the dial, above the TAG Heuer applied logo. My initial thought is that this would be more appropriately placed at the bottom half of the dial, above Solargraph, creating three lines of text (that seems reasonable?). For some reason the branding at top billing makes more sense, but perhaps that’s just what I’m used to. 

Next is the use of a reflective nature of the material used for the TAG Heuer logo itself. It gets lost in most light and feels unnecessarily fussy against the sunburst texture of the base dial. Lastly, and we’re really getting nit picky here, is the ‘Swiss Made’ placement at the very bottom of the dial, which sits in parallel with the lines on the dial, rather than following the curvature of the chapter ring. Another watch with a similar dial texture is the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and the Swiss Made on that dial follows the curvature, which for some reason feels the more natural placement. Of course, this is hardly a big deal but it’s a detail that, when you notice it, you’ll always notice it. 

All that aside, this watch is more than the sum of its parts. As a whole, it’s quite charming and handsome to my eye, and the on-wrist experience is exceptional. This Solargraph hits differently than any Aquaracer to have come before it, even the limited edition George Bamford example from which this watch looks to have taken inspiration. See more of that watch from 2020 right here. I suspect this watch will pull new eyeballs toward the brand from folks who don’t care or really think about the brand, and perhaps for good reason. TAG Heuer needs to earn that attention and this is just the type of watch to do it. But there’s another reason that this watch should garner attention.

As the name suggests, this is a solar powered watch, housing the caliber TH50-00 developed by la Joux-Perret (owned by Citizen) for TAG Heuer, and appears to be based on the Citizen E168. The watch can be powered by sunlight or even artificial light, and while this is far from the first solar powered watch we’ve seen or covered (here’s another favorite from Seiko), this TAG Heuer represents using it in an elevated fashion that I’d like to see more frequently from brands in this (or even higher) tier of prestige (whatever that means). 

That’s not to say I want to see more expensive solar powered watches. Rather, I want to see watches equipped with such movements given more care and attention, and not treated as mere entry level or the stuff of starter watches. Getting a watch that’s been well made, with premium materials and finishing and design considerations that also happens to use a movement like this shouldn’t be taboo. We’ve seen brands like Citizen (with their The Citizen watches) and Seiko (within the Astron collection)takes these steps, as well watches like the Cartier Must in a slightly different genre, but this TAG Heuer represents an on-trend tool-ish watch that feels separate from those examples. It doesn’t feel niche. 

This brings us to the price of this watch, which is $3,050. A hefty sum to be sure, considering the quartz powered movement within. That pushes the watch outside of value range, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be found here for the right person. There are a lot of truly great features to this watch, from the material to the overall execution, and if you’re the type of collector that appreciates higher-end quartz movements I think you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. It’s also worth pointing out that the first version of the Solargraph, which used a black DLC steel case and rubber strap (with a trick lume-embedded carbon bezel) is also priced at $3,050. This full titanium watch with bracelet weighed against that feels slightly more reasonable.


There are plenty of other great watches in this price range, many of which you can find reviewed right here in the pages of this website, but none quite like this one exactly. The Solargraph is a unique watch that manages to elevate the solar powered quartz movement in a manner that hasn’t been done before. Of course, just being expensive does not equal high end, but there’s been some genuine TLC put into this watch that comes through on the wrist, and I applaud TAG Heuer for taking such a route with this movement. 

The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Solargraph isn’t without fault, and the price is likely to leave you frustrated, but there’s no denying that many will find a truly compelling watch here. But more than that, my hope is that it sets a trend of taking solar movements more seriously in a wider array of watch types and from a greater selection of brands. That’s the hope, at least. If that doesn’t happen, that’s all the more reason to appreciate the Solargraph for what it is. TAG Heuer

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.