Tag Aquaracer waj2150
Are you looking for a diver’s watch? A Professional Divers watch? there is a lot of competition out there for this market. Prices from $600.00 all the way to $25,000.00 give or take.
The Tag Aquaracer is no exception to this rule. There are many new versions of this watch, and if you head on over to the Tag website, you are going to find the latest versions in many flavors. Obiously, Tag provides a lot of variances to this watch, and the qualities of each of these versions will vary also.
This watch recently came in for service. This is not one of the latest versions of the Aquaracer, but a few years old now, and this watch, of course came in because its running just a bit slow, and has poor reserve.
The owner of this watch dives only occasionally, and tells me he has never been below 120 feet. While this version of the Aquaracer is rated to 500 meters, it was designed to be a true professional dive watch, not just for the casual diver.
To be honest, I’ve been doing watch and jewelry repair for what seems like a lifetime, and with that in mind, I’ve only met a hand full of people who dive professionally, and most of these divers use dive computers, and not their watches while diving, especially in a dive bell.
Light Service and Testing
As I mentioned, this watch is not used all that often, but is running poorly. This indicates that because the owner doesn’t use the watch, that the oil has probably dried up, and we have to open up the sprint barrel, and take a look at the mainspring.
This is common for any mechanical watch. If you don’t use them, they are going to seize up, just like a car or motorcycle thats been sitting in the barn for 20 years. Because so many collectors have higher end mechanical watches, I always recommend that you either put them in a watch winder, or wind them at least once each month.
After taking the back case cover off, removing the autowind fly-wheel, I was a bit shocked to see what’s inside! So, lets take a look…
Watch my Video Review Here!
What is inside!
You can not get this model any longer, since this version is out of production, however, lets take a look at the fact that many of these watches are on the market, either as refurbished watches, or as pre-owned.
I was shocked to see that they are listed on many online sites, priced from $2,500.00 to $3,500.00, even for a pre-owned watch. In most of the shops I see locally, they are selling for about $2,000.00 out the door, however, I would bet that they have not been serviced at that price.
When I opened up this watch, I found a clone movement. Now, I know what many of you are going to say, someone probably switched it out!
So, I started to do some research, and found that no, this was the movement that Tag shipped with this watch. The sw200-a ETA CLONE! My God!
What does that say about a $5000.00 watch! I’m not sure. The sw200 watch is a clone, and it is not made to the same standards of the ETA original. This doesn’t mean that the movement is bad, it just means several other issues that the customer will have to be aware of over time.
Yes, it says that it is swiss made. From my experience, it is swish assembled. Sellita is not a bad company, and their products are manufactured well. Just not to the same standards as the Original.
Is this Legal? Yes, the patents ran out years ago on the ETA movements. Its fine that companies make clones. I’m ok with that, just that I would not put this movement into a watch that retails over $5,000.00. It isn’t right!
The parts for these watches are a bit harder to get, that work well. They are typically made in in China, and from personal experience, I have a 65% success rate with replacement parts. With the equivalent ETA, I have a 96% success rate. That is the biggest difference in my opinion!
Serice or Replace
So, should we service this, or get a new one! (Movement I mean)!
I guess that most watchmakers would just purchase the much cheaper clone, and oil it up and put it in the watch. Hell, the customer won’t know… It is the same movement that came with the watch!
That is one way, but, I have a moral issue with that sometimes.
I guess that you be the judge. However, I’m one to go with the original movement, one that is of high quality, comes with a fantastic warranty from the manufacturer, and parts are very easy to get, and not worry about.
The quick fix, is just to replace a clone, with a newer clone. It will cost the customer just as much, and I guess, fine for the end results, but, again, I have a problem with putting a Pontiac motor in a Ferrari!
Overall, what do I think of this watch!
I have to tell you that, putting aside the fact that the watch shipped with a Clone watch movement from the factory, the watch is really nice!
The band is very high quality, and Tag is know for making many of their own cases, bands and clasps.
Each of these, are made to great standards, and overall, have a perfect fit.
The case, in my opinion, has two issues. First, the ever popular Helium release pressure valve. I’m not a big fan of these, mostly because they do very little to avoid problems with Helium penetration into the watch, when diving below 1000 feet for more then four days! True! Thats how long you have to be and depths like that, to build up the helium inside!
The other weakness, the glass back cover. This tells me Tag was more worried about appearance than function. If the glass back was thicker then 1.2 mm, it would perform at depths over 1000 feet, however, the limited size of the crystal gasket would not be able to support the pressure inside the watch over several days, at those depths!
Is this worth the investment?
Hey, whats inside may not matter to you, but lets say, the rest of the watch is fantastic for casual diving, and general wearability.
Tag uses great materials, and this watch will hold up for a long time. As long as you take care of the bezel, you will not have any major expensive repairs.
Yes, the Helium release is a potential issue for water egress, but, the watch runs very good, and is made to last a long time.
Personally, I know what it costs to make a watch at these standards. If you had to buy this watch, and spend about $2,500.00, then you’re doing well. Make sure, that the seller will give you a warranty, and if not, make sure you have the watch serviced, this will make it last longer.
If you like to collect name brand items, and that is more important, then, yes, it is a Tag, and will hold its value because of the name branding. Just be careful, refurbished pre owned watches of this quality commonly sell for about 35% lower then their newer equivalents, and retain value from there…
I would put this on my list, but, remember, it did ship with a Clone movement! That is my biggest issue! LOL My opinion only.
I hope this helps, and good luck watch collecting!