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Monday, November 7, 2011

My TAG Heuer Link Day-Date Calibre 5 Automatic Watch Review

My first high-end automatic Swiss watch

Those of you, who follow my blog for few years might remember, that one of my dreams was acquiring a high-end automatic Swiss watch. I have blogged about wristwatches a lot in the past. And after nearly four years of scheming and dreaming this dream came true last Saturday. I bought the TAG Heuer Link Calibre 5 with the Day and Date complications in Taipei's Ximending and today I would like to introduce the watch to those of you, who plan to buy this watch or just seek information. I hope it will be useful to you. Please scroll all the way down for a small demonstration video I made today and drop some comments after that. Thank you!

Link Day-Date wants to be sporty and elegant and it brilliantly succeeds in it.

From a dream to reality was a long way

I think it's best, if I say we have found each other, even if it sounds cheesy. I was a big fan of Breitling watches, especially in 2009 I have done a lot of research on them. If you'd asked me about my favorite watch at that time, I'd told you Breitling Airwolf (with the white dial). But there were two problems with Breitling for me in the past. For one, they were too expensive for my budget (the ones I liked were over 3000 Euros) and secondly, they did not impress me that much in real as they did on photos. Checking the enormous online resource on your favorite watch is important, but the real thing is going to your local dealer and see the watches with your own eyes or even better, try them on. After I did that, it was a sobering experience for me and for a long while I have lost interest in getting a Swiss watch (there were also many other things happening in my life, which made it nearly impossible to focus on a watch at that time). And then in late 2010 I discovered TAG Heuer. I still wasn't as obsessed as I used to be, but I was definitely eyeing it. And then I moved to Taiwan and my life went up and down: So many things happened in a very short time, it was and still is crazy. And this was the time, where I finally had the time and the need to focus on my work and career. After my Taiwanese wedding, I have finally had the chance to save some money and reward myself. That's where the idea of buying a TAG Heuer watch became more and more concrete. I've read information online and visited two dealers in Taipei, tried various models, before I decided which one I would like to buy. And when I knew what I want, I finally bought it two days ago (yay!).

Read more about buying a watch in Taiwan>> (Coming soon)

TAG Heuer: Swiss avant-garde since 1860.

Why did I choose TAG Heuer?

I never saw TAG Heuer in the same group such as Rolex, Omega or Breitling. The first association of the latter ones is prestige and sometimes boasting. Of course this is just the first thought someone has, who's not very knowledgeable of the world of exquisite timepieces. Those who know these watches, must be smiling, as it's very obvious to them what each brand really represents. But let's go back to TAG Heuer. I can only speak for my country, when I say that it's not among the top desired luxury watches, it was always quite unknown to me. I only saw the name during various sports events such as skiing. And later, when I started to travel, I saw a lot of TAG Heuer watches at airports, where the fascination with them started to grow. That's where I came to the notion, that these watches are very stylish. I like the sporty design, that matches casual outfits, but still looks exquisite enough for a formal wear. I had three favorite series: Link, Carrera and Grand Carrera. The latter however was too expensive and too big and bulky and I might bought it, if I was 20 years older. Carerra is awesome, but at this point of my life, I'm not ready to spend over that much for a watch yet, but naturally Carerra might be my next watch, maybe in 10 years? Who knows. At this point I chose a watch from the Link series, which labels itself as a sporty and elegant wristwatch, something that appeals to a not so young anymore guy, that's stuck between traveling for fun and business trips. I needed and wanted a watch, that could accompany me in all these situations and a Link fits perfectly in my current life.

Which TAG Heuer Link to choose?


The current TAG Heuer Link series offers watches with following movements:

Calibre 16: Chronograph, 43mm, white or black dial
Calibre S: Electro-Mechanical Chronograph, 43mm, white or black dial
Calibre 5: Day-Date, 42mm, white or black dial, bezel with Roman or Arab numbers
Calibre 6: Date, 40mm, white or black dial
Quartz: 40mm, white or black dial

The choice is especially big, when it comes to Day-Date, my instant favorite. This year the model was redesigned (see photo above for a comparison, photo by TAG Heuer) and the numerous small changes do give you some time to think, however I was instantly enamored with the 2010 model, which features the Day of the week complication at 12 o'clock. In addition I need to admit, that I was almost equally fascinated with the Link Calibre 6 model for a while. However, I did not like the small second hand at 6 o'clock, I like a big second hand and a bit bigger case, 42mm looked better on my wrist than 40mm. But when I finally sorted out, which model and movement I want, I was having a hard time deciding, whether I want the model with the black or the white dial. I was strongly leaning to white, my wife, too. However, the dealer told me black looks better on a young person, while white might be more suitable for older gentlemen. He had a point and he tipped me over to the black version. And I'm very happy I followed his advice, as I completely love the watch. And I consider myself very lucky, because I feel that the new design is not good, it's too simple, when it comes to the dial and too over when it comes to the bezel (with the redundant numerals). The best part of the 2010 Day-Date design is the unique curved day display at 12 o'clock. No idea, why they placed it down to 6 o'clock and merged it with the date complication, they destroyed one of the finest design elements of the watch. I also love the numerals in English letters, which are now gone in the new model, another faux pas, if you ask me. That's why I'm very happy, that I bought the model with the older design, which I like much more.

Let's see some of the strongest points of the Link Day-Date, which will be one of the main focuses of my future reviews.

High-end quality:

- Fine brushed polished steel case
- Polished steel crown and bezel
- Scratch resistant sapphire crystal, double anti-reflective treatment
- Scratch resistant crystal caseback
- Distinctive S-link bracelet with a secure folding clasp
- Hand applied TAG Heuer logo
- Hour numerals in English language
- Luminescent hour and minute hand, polished
- Sweeping second hand, polished
- Luminescent hour markers
- Water resistant 200m
- Power reserve 38 hours

Complications:

- Self-winding Calibre 5 movement
- Day of the week at 12 o'clock
- Date at 6 o'clock

My TAG Heuer Link Day-Date photos

This weekend I have realized, that it's very hard to take good photos of a new watch. Firstly, my wife's camera had limits when it comes to close objects in a bad light. I took much better photos, when I used her Nokia N8 and went outside under the day light. That's why you'll see photos of various quality, some were taken inside in the evening, some outside during the day. I chose my favorite photos and hope you like them, too. These are the photos that show my watch in the best way possible:

This is the famous TAG Heuer box.

And there it was, so shy, when she first saw my hand.

The first closeup.

The view from the side.

The anti-scratch sapphire crystal with double anti-reflection treatment.

Took this photo outside, hence the very clear photo.

I wish every day was Sunday.

A closeup on the upper part of the dial.

This is as close as it gets with my camera.

The face of the watch from the side.

Distinctive S-Link bracelet, one of the watches most notable characteristics.

Folding clasp with a security mechanism to prevent unwanted opening. The logo on top.

Sapphire crystal case back, that shows parts of the movement.

Another beautiful shot.

That's how it looks like on my hand.

Please check my demonstration video for a better idea of the watch.

New video of my Link Day-Date with a more cheerful music.

Link Day-Date in conclusion: My highlights

I love this watch, because it's really an exquisite timepiece. It's a wristwatch, that has a sporty touch, but still feels like a luxury watch, however not in the kitchy sense like a lot of golden watches, more in the sense of a high-quality product, that seeks perfection in functionality and design. The first two days I'm completely happy with it and I have to say, that the Calibre 5 movement is very accurate. The dealer told me, that 6-10 seconds per day +/- is within a norm, if it over these limitations, the watch should be brought back and needs to be adjusted. I was told, that especially in the first 3 months, when the watch gets used to your daily hand motion, a certain kind of inaccuracy can occur. I still need to wait and see, if I will have a problem in this area. If you're right now trying to figure out, which TAG Heuer watch you think would be best for you, you have no better option than visiting your local dealer and try on various watches. Get the feel on your wrist, get to see the design and all the fine touches from closeup and your decision will be made much faster. If you're into the TAG Heuer Link series, I hope this post serves you as a good reference. Now I need to stop writing this post, it's late, I have no time. But at least I have a great watch.

Please check my post about TAG Heuer Link Date Calibre 6 here>>

[My SWISS WATCHES page][All photos by MKL, 2011, except one by TAG Heuer]
Related: [2010 Link Review][2011 Link Review][TAG Heuer Website]

19 COMMENTS:

Looks good on your wrist!!

Although you shared lots of watches knowledge to me, and made me amaze about the technology of a good watch, however, I am still not into having a good watch, haha. But I must say that this TAG Heuer Link Calibre 5 really hits my heart, and then I start to think if I would buy a good one for myself or not...But there are still so many girly things I haven't bought, so maybe in three years, I would like to buy one. I would set the goal for myself.

Black one really suits you, the design is almost perfect and elegant.

Cool watch, got any going anti-clockwise?

Are you Tag Heuer's Asian Ambassador? The watch you have looks heavy to wear, though very smart.

Wishing fun with it.

Congratulations Nino on your Tag Heuer watch! You deserve it for all the hard work you've done :) I bet you did a great review of it...although I did lose myself after the first two paragraphs since I've never really analyzed a watch that much beyond looks LOL My parents have matching Tag Heuer's and they're reputable, good quality watches. I'm glad you're happy with your purchase :)

1) Young people no longer wear watches.

2) There genuinely is no real improvement beyond what can be bought for a few hundreds pounds when it comes to watches.

3) Even if you do have the money, it's always better spent on something else - it's a big world.

@Gnetch: Thanks.

@LilyChen: Thanks. I believe you won't be bitten by the watch bug and that's fine for me :)

@Bananazஇ: Nope, none, haha.

@ZACL: Nah, writing watch reviews attracts visitors and also it's a pleasure for me to share information, which I had not available prior to my purchase. This model in particular is not very often reviewed.

@Karen: Thank you, Karen :) This review is meant for TAG Heuer fans and interested, so it's fine. Hope you enjoyed the photos :)

@FOARP:

1) Maybe where you currently reside, but come to Taipei and observe. My watch is nothing compare to what (young) guys wear here.

2) Depends what "improvement" means to you. If you ask me, there is a lot of different stuff you can get for more money, but the value of that depends on the individual.

3) Depends on what you see as "better" - I didn't buy this watch based on reason, but based on a lot of factors outside that universe. I'm mostly the way you say here, but sometimes I wanna do something that breaks this rule: It feels very refreshing to do something very unreasonable once in a while :)

"It feels very refreshing to do something very unreasonable once in a while"

This I can agree with. I'll probably never spend that much on watches, but suits are a different story . . .

I myself would have bought the 2010 model with the large curved day complication. And black looks "garang"(Malay for fierce) and good. The chain or what you call it could be a little more garang too to complement. Great buy!

@FOARP: Suit up! :)

@ordinary malaysian: But I bought the one you have described :)

@MKL, that's what I was saying actually - "great buy!"

Christmas Come early this year! Santa went all out to get you this - poor Santa

I have the 2010/2011 version. Every time I look at it on my wrist, I say out loud: THE PERFECT WATCH!

How do you change the day without winding through 24 hours?

@wecare232323: First pull the crown out and make sure that the hour hand and minute hand are below equator (point downwards, south from 3 and 9). For example 4.40 would be a good time to set them. Then push crown in for a millimeter and start to turn the crown - one way will change the days of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...), the other way will change the number of the days of the month. After you finish with this, go to set the right time again and there you go - it should be fine.

I have recently been considering whether to buy the 2012 or 2010 model of this watch. I am pleased to say, after reading this blog and trying the two watches on, I have finally purchased the 2010 model and am proudly wearing it now.
Good blog, thanks.

@Anonymous: Glad to hear that :D

Thanks much for this review. My kid brother passed away suddenly this past January, and his wife wanted me to have his watch, this exact one, to always remember him. I'm just thrilled, not just because of the history with my brothers' watch, but that he and I had such similar tastes. Again, thank you.

@Anonymous: Enjoy this watch! Almost 2 years later I still love it. The sapphire glass doesn't have a single scratch. The bezel is a little scratch prone, the bracelet tends to get a little dirty, but overall this watch has never failed me. The accuracy is amazing. I'm sorry about your brother.

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