Tag Heuer & Oracle Team Reinvent The Sailing Chronograph

September 2013

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.

“This was a first for sailing and a first for Swiss watchmaking,” said Stéphane Linder, Tag Heuer President and CEO. “It represents the next-generation of competitive sport technology. We’re looking forward to participating in similar ventures with teams across the full spectrum of professional sports.”

The first-ever Swiss Sports Smartwatch: the Tag Heuer Aquaracer 72
The first-ever Swiss Sports Smartwatch: the Tag Heuer Aquaracer 72

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.

The Oracle Team in action
The Oracle Team in action

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.

Source: Tag Heuer