The atmosphere at the headquarters of Swatch Group and LVMH on the evening of 25 September, 2013, will never make it into the history books. What will, however, is the extraordinary victory of Team Oracle USA sponsored by TAG Heuer after catching up and overtaking the Omega sponsored Emirates Team from New Zealand in the last regatta of the world’s oldest sports trophy. Aquaracer 1 - Seamaster 0.
TAG Heuer and Omega, two historical rivals, are not only competing in the Asian markets but also in sports. And competition is fierce in all areas. TAG Heuer has in fact invested a great deal in R&D to clinch the victory. The outcome was a revolutionary concept, an intelligent and multi-connected smartwatch for each member of the team and a herald of future generations of sports watches. As a tribute to this improbable victory, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m Calibre 72 Countdown Limited Edition proudly displays the team’s colours.
The icon of the catamaran is engraved on the steel case back. The model comes with two different dials, one with the Team USA logo at 6 o’clock, the other, the Defender, is more discreet, without any logo.
TAG Heuer, a tradition in regatta chronographs
TAG Heuer is usually associated with race cars, but let’s not forget that, as of the 1940s, Heuer was already making the Solumnar and the Mareographe, a.k.a., Seafarer. But it was the Regatta, equipped with the Lemania 1345 movement, that gave Heuer’s ”divers” a reputation. The Regatta, as it’s still known today, was developed in association with Aquastar, which backed the reputation of Heuer's "frogmen" in the 1960s. The regatta function, as it is still known today, ensures the visual and technical success of the 72 Countdown calibre as well as that of any upcoming regatta racer.
As the commemorative applique is placed at 6 o’clock, the date aperture was unconventionally located at 12 o’clock. Between the minutes and seconds apertures in bi-compax configuration is a colour scale that serves to give a visual indication of the fifteen remaining minutes 15 minutes before the captain’s prow cuts through the departure line. It is a very helpful feature for any good helmsman who only wants to see red as being the five last minutes prior to the start of the race, which appears as white. This function is exclusive to the Limited Edition and it is to be found on its ceramic bezel. Also on the Limited Edition, the sweep second hand is red and the seconds subdial is at 9 o’clock.
Genuine “diver” finishing
The chronograph, equipped with the self-winding Calibre 72, is water-resistant to 500 metres. It also features an automatic helium valve at 10 o’clock. It premiered on a Rolex Submarine 5514 for the professional divers of the Comex (Compagnie maritime d’expertises). Its first commercial appearance was on a Doxa Conquistador. The idea was to prevent what had happened to Jacques Cousteau’s son. During a dive, his Submarine’s glass shattered due to excess pressure. But don’t worry; this only happens during professional dives with a diving bell.
And the marine world is omnipresent on this watch. The dial was given a “boat deck” look, it’s the open-worked hands are diamond-shaped for better readability. Similarly, the pushers have been rubber-coated for more efficient use. As the steel strap would be too heavy to wear under water, use of the rubber strap is recommended for diving. When back on dry land, divers can change back to the steel strap.