TAG Heuer has been slowly revamping their Aquaracer line since the watch saw a refresh last year with some dial changes and a slightly sleeker 300 meter water resistant case, and this summer of affordable GMTs, we’ve finally come to the travel version of the Aquaracer this week. The new Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT slots nicely in with the rest of the Aquaracer line, and offers a compelling option for watch buyers who are interested in an affordably priced dive watch that just happens to be a GMT (or is it the other way around?) from a marquee name in the watch industry.
According to TAG, the driving force behind the design of the new GMT was to create a bonafide tool watch that could easily transition from active use in and around water to more casual use. To that end, they’ve chosen colors for this watch that are likely to be versatile for most users while promoting legibility. The dial is a dark blue with the familiar horizontal lines running across it, and hour markers are a sharp contrasting white, and filled with lume. For the ceramic bezel, TAG has gone with half blue and half white. You’ll find a splash of yellow in GMT and seconds hands, which pair nicely against the dark blue. It’s a clean and sporty look, and I think you’d be hard pressed to think of a situation where this relatively neutral color combination isn’t appropriate.
The case is really the modern Aquaracer’s secret weapon. Measuring 43mm, it wears smaller thanks to the short lugs and has brushed and polished finishing that is surprisingly good for a watch at this price range. The case has a modern, angular aesthetic that complements the 12 sided bezel particularly well. That bezel, by the way, still has fluted edges to make it easy to grip even in wet conditions, which in my experience is also a nice feature in dry conditions.
If there’s a gripe to be had with this watch, it’s probably in the movement. The Aquaracer Professional 300 GMT is powered by Heuer’s Calibre 7 movement, which is a modified Sellita SW300. The GMT functionality here is of the “caller” variety, meaning the local hour hand is not independently adjustable. While the use of this caliber certainly keeps the price of the watch competitive and won’t be of much consequence to many owners, it makes using it as a true travel watch a less elegant experience.
That said, the new Aquaracer GMT still stacks up as a solid go anywhere, do (almost) anything tools watch. It can be had on either an Oyster-style bracelet or a rubber strap that matches the color of the dial, and it carries a starting price of $3,500. TAG Heuer