I am a fan of TAG Heuer watches. I just picked up a new piece the day I wrote this. It has history, name recognition, and the Aquaracer is a unique style you won’t find with other dive watches. Of course it does not have the prestige of other manufactures as most pieces utilize standard ETA or Sellita movements. That doesn’t take away from the value you can get out of the right timepiece. This article however, is not about that.
Even though I am generally a fan of the brand, there are a couple glaring issues I have when purchasing them. First off, TAG Heuer is almost as counterfeited as the big brands. One must practice strong diligence if you are going to purchase a TAG Heuer. The sheer number of copies on the market is staggering, especially since the standard ETA 2824 is also one of the most copied movements in the world. It is the basis of many of the chinese clone movements produced by the thousands.
The second major issue I have is value retention. TAG Heuer is guilty of some of the worst appreciation in the business. A $2300 watch is worth about $1000 as soon as you leave the store. TAG Heuer is a true manufacture, however, the majority of TAG Heuer watches are equipped with off the shelf movements from ETA or Sellita. The only way to get a true in house TAG Heuer is to spend hefty sums on their premier watches. This has its benefits. Using off the shelf movements mean more thought can be placed on the watches physical identity and the Aquaracer I just picked up has personality.
The main point of this blog is to address point number one. Being one of the most copied watches out there, I had to take quite a few steps before I handed over my money. I will go over these steps with you so you can perform your own diligence when you decide an Aquaracer is right for you.
Steps to Take Before You Purchase Your Own TAG Heuer
- Learn More About the Watch
- Register the Watch on the TAG Heuer Website
- Check the Watch Movement
Learn More About the Watch
In the modern internet age, information is readily available. Finding out about specific watch brands has never been easier. Using Duckduckgo or Google, I had a wealth of knowledge to study the watch I was picking up.
This is the specific model.
I just had to Google the reference number and information was just handed to me.
This isn’t always viable, depending on the generation of a watch, but the manufacturer is the absolute best source of information. Fortunately, the TAG Heuer website has a load of information hidden within, even on models discontinued. You may not find it simply by visiting the site, but a quick Google search could bring you even to the listing of a discontinued watch.
That is exactly what happened in the case of this green dialed stunner, and it was worth the time. The manufacturer website has the best descriptions and photos so you have a baseline to compare a piece in real life.
In addition to the TAG Heuer website, the search allowed me to discover other sources of knowledge. There are a surprising number of fans on different forums that actually know what they are talking about. You can include watch blogs, as some of them receive watches to review and have hands-on experience. After doing my research, I will be more equipped to study a new pickup well before I get burned.
Upon my visit, I use my magnifying glass to perform my in person inspection. There are few obvious things to look for. Are the parts made with precision? Is the text on the dial applied well? Does the lume work as intended? Is the cyclop legitimate? Does it have the proper magnification? Under a magnifying glass, glaring issues will appear.
Registering the Watch on the TAG Heuer Website
An option you have with many different watch brands is to check the serial number on the manufacturer website. TAG Heuer has an after sales support page. I can check if the watch had the warranty activated and will give the me current warranty status. This is a great way to make sure the watch is legit as their site will tell me if the serial number matches what the current owner claims. I was also able to send the info to a TAG Heuer contact I’ve made from my business that verified the active warranty on this timepiece.
Checking the movement
Since I’ve been seeing a flood of super clones lately, I alway inspect the movement. This is one of the only ways to really grasp the validity of any timepiece. Since I did my research, I knew I was looking for an ETA 2824-2 movement. I will compare the particular movement to one of the real ones. It’s not always possible, but having a watchmaker inspect it will be further validation.
The movement is the biggest indicator of a legitimate watch.TAG Heuer utilized a screw off caseback on the Aquaracer. I just used this simple tool to unscrew it.
Here are two excellent resources to learn about movements.
Buying a preowned TAG Heuer is a stressful experience. The biggest takeaway from this is to familiarize yourself with the model you are interested in.This will minimize the chance of picking up a watch that is not legitimate. Remember, the biggest giveaway of a fake watch is the movement which will help separate the clones from the real pieces.