The Future Is Bright With TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer Solargraph – Now In Titanium

The Future Is Bright With TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer Solargraph – Now In Titanium

Randy Lai
Randy Lai


When TAG Heuer released their inaugural Solargraph in 2022 – a new technologically strident offshoot of the popular Aquaracer family – it quickly established itself as a crowd favourite amongst watch literati, tech enthusiasts, and indeed, most of the team here at Boss Hunting HQ.

This year, we wanted to shed some light (pun very much intended) on the follow-up to that release: a full titanium Solargraph – bracelet and all – that tackles the ‘made for the outdoors’ mission of the Aquaracer in a vigorous, practically sophisticated way.

The general thrust is very much in keeping with last year’s carbonised release. Make no mistake: if what you’re after is an extremely robust tool watch that excels on-piste, under the water, and in any number of high-octane settings you care to mention, TAG Heuer’s Solargraph still delivers a competition-beating experience: albeit now in slate-coloured titanium, evoking the many rocky surfaces wearers are liable to encounter when testing the watch in its native habitat.

Pictured: The original Solargraph’s carbonised bezel, loaded with luminescent material (left) versus the new version in sandblasted titanium (right).

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Nominally part of the wider Aquaracer Professional 200 sub-family, it’s never a bad idea to (briefly) revisit the Solargraph’s historic origins. Like almost all Aquaracers, this watch gets the bones of its look from the historic Ref. 844: a unique part of Heuer’s lineage that broke from the traditional specialisation in precision timing equipment for racers and aviators.

Launched by Jack Heuer himself in 1978, even then the Ref. 844 was a watch that signalled a thirst for adventure. Brought to market following a request from Heuer’s North American distributors – many of whom were seeing their clients embrace water sports in record numbers – the 844 became the forerunner to what TAG enthusiasts now know as the ‘six design codes’, all embodied in Aquaracers of the modern age.

To wit, the Solargraph is – first and foremost – a built-for-purpose tool watch. It nails this brief by integrating all of the original Ref. 844 ‘design codes’: a chunky diving bezel that cannot accidentally be turned backwards; 200 metres of water resistance; a screw-down crown; luminous indexes; a sapphire crystal and push-lock bracelet.

Dressed in Grade II titanium, these features combine to create a watch that is ready for any situation – though of course, the Solargraph is at its absolute best when you wilfully put yourself in, shall we say…challenging circumstances.

Whether it’s kite surfing or an arvo spent scrambling across mountain plateaus, for every instant that the Solargraph is exposed to sunlight (or even artificial light, for that matter) it becomes a more compelling proposition on the wrist. This symbiotic relationship with the great outdoors is entirely by design, as the proprietary calibre TH50-00 at the heart of the Solargraph – the result of a unique partnership between TAG Heuer and La Joux-Perret – is powered by ‘Eco-Drive’ technology.

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In layman’s terms best thought of as a solar-powered quartz movement, this signature tech gives the Solargraph a relentless degree of reliability. Utilising a solar module sandwiched beneath the watch’s dial (itself a semi-transparent layer), the Solargraph is able to absorb light in the surrounding environment – even once the sun goes down and you’re ensconced comfortably in your own home – converting that into energy which is then stored in an integrated lithium-ion cell.

Pictured: The solar module (including an aperture for the date wheel) that powers the Aquaracer Solargraph Calibre TH50-00. The module observes both direct and reflected light, storing it in a lithium-ion cell integrated into the base of the movement.

It would be foolish to compare this technology to that of the humble, mass-manufactured quartz movement. Right from the get-go, the Solargraph does away with one of the latter’s flagrant shortcomings – ergo, the battery. With no need to consider the headaches of such a plug-in power source, TAG Heuer’s watchmakers have instead focused their efforts on optimising the Solargraph’s performance and the results are nothing if not impressive.

Case in point: a full two minutes of exposure to sunlight will give wearers nearly a day’s worth of power, whereas leaving the watch in an illuminated environment for 24 hours will give the Solargraph enough juice to stay ticking over for six months. For the prolific collector who cycles through dozens of watches at a time, there’s even an invaluable ‘power saving’ mode: allowing the watch to function (albeit with reduced luminescence) for up to 3.5 years.

Like all robust daily wearers, the Solargraph’s appeal isn’t just technical (or compelling considering its price). The density of light-absorbing components housed within the calibre TH50-00 imbue this release with plenty of presence under the cover of darkness – by turbo-charging the numerous luminescent details across the dial.

Unlike last year’s DLC-coated debut, the new Solargraph incorporates an unilluminated bezel. The lion’s share of original design cues remain intact however, and these include some truly punchy indexes (which it’ll be hard to miss even 200m below sea level) and a striking blueish-green handset. In tribute to the Aquaracer’s all-terrain aspirations, this small flourish is inspired by the celestial phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis – just one of many breathtaking locations that this watch is bound to shine in 24/7.

Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].



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