Swiss luxury watch brand TAG Heuer in association with its sailing partner ORACLE TEAM USA has developed AQUARACER 72, the first-ever Smart Watch dedicated to competitive sailing. During the 34th America’s Cup, every crew member of the defending champion wears an ultra-intelligent “extreme” edition of the Aquaracer 72.
For this year’s 34th America’s Cup, the R&D departments of TAG Heuer and ORACLE TEAM USA co-invented onboard connectivity equipment and an ultra-innovative and intelligent smartwatch that give every crew member instant access to crucial race condition data in real-time.
The embedded system uses special editions of the commercial AQUARACER 500M CALIBRE 72 COUNTDOWN chronograph, customized for each sailor’s specific tasks and wirelessly linked directly to the boat’s onboard computers.
The extreme-tech and exceptionally resilient digital chronograph is the first watch designed specifically for and by a professional sailing team. At a glance easy-to-read with a wide-open 51mm face, it weighs only 108 g and is impact resistant to 5000 G. The leather-strap, like the case itself, is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably over a wet suit.
Classic TAG Heuer aquatic design codes are respected but the technology is completely new and innovative. The optimized high-contrast LED screen displays constantly updated information on how the boat and its sails are behaving, including boat speed, foil balance, sail pressure, true wind speed, true wind direction and true wind angle. Connected to captors and computers located throughout the boat, the real time data stream allows for unparalleled reactivity and synchronicity.
For the project, TAG Heuer drew technical inspiration from its watch, eyewear and telephony activities. The Aquaracer 72 uses the brand’s patented “splashproof” technology, first used in TAG Heuer eyewear. The data processing equipment onboard the 72-foot catamaran was waterproofed using technology developed for the iconic TAG Heuer MONACO chrono.
For the watches worn by ORACLE TEAM USA’s “grinders” — the sailors who man, at lightning speed, the boat’s winches during the crucial pre-start and tacking duels — the brand developed a special “heads-up display” with polarizing lens based on TAG Heuer Eyewear-developed photochromic technology.
Jimmy Spithill, the team’s skipper, communicated with his crew on a waterproof phone, the RACER SUB NANO, strapped to his forearm, and outfitted with TAG Heuer MERIDIIST mobile telephony technology. Only 50 of the special Aquaracer 72 were produced and none are available commercially.
This year, the brand has also launched a limited edition AQUARACER 500M CALIBRE 72 COUNTDOWN AUTOMATIC CHRONOGRAPH 43 MM specially dedicated to the fans of TAG Heuer & ORACLE TEAM USA .
Two other limited edition Aquaracers honor ORACLE TEAM USA are Aquaracer 500M Calibre 16 Chronograph (2012) and Aquaracer 500M Calibre 5(2012). All three AQUARACER 500M have helium valves and proudly bear the official colors of ORACLE TEAM USA- red, black, and white–on the hands, pusher, and face.