The 2000 Series was a hugely important model for TAG Heuer and was one of the key reasons that the company stayed afloat in the 1980s and 1990s. With the 1000 Series, Heuer saw that it could address the demand for affordable, reliable dive watches, and the 2000 Series represented the development of the dive watch category, with modern styles that moved from the traditional dive watches of the 1950s to the contemporary styles of the 1980s and 1990s. The success of the 2000 Series spurred TAG Heuer on to create the 3000, 4000 and 6000 series, each essentially a different take on the theme developed by the Heuer 2000 back in 1982.
For a model that lasted so long and offered so many variants, the basic shape never really changed, proving the strength of the design. The TAG Heuer 2000 lives on today as the Aquaracer and, 40 years after Heuer offered the first 2000 Series dive watches, you don’t have to look hard to see the heritage of the collection.
Heuer introduced its first dive watches in 1978, with these models soon being developed into the 1000 Series collection. These dive watches were met with success in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but Heuer realized that there were limitations in the collection. The style of the 1000 Series watches mimicked some traditional dive watches from the 1950s, and the 1000 Series was limited primarily to three-hand dive watches, as Heuer never developed 1000 Series chronographs to match the style of the dive watches.
In 1982, Heuer addressed these limitations with the 2000 Series, a collection that offered a “completely new fashion look.” Compared with the 1000 Series, the new 2000 Series included a greater variety of styles and materials, moving well beyond the traditional look of a dive watch.
With many elements of the dive watch being dictated by the demands of diving (for example, the hands must be highly-visible, even in low light), the element of the 2000 Series dive watches that allowed for the broadest creativity was the rotating bezel. The bezels became the defining elements of the 2000 Series watches, with the collection including two different styles – a more traditional bezel that was flat, with an aluminum insert, and knurling around the edge and a second style of bezel that had more prominent grips, in a rectangular shape, which the catalogs sometimes described as “lugs”.
The updated 2000 Series watches also featured a new style bracelet, replacing the “jubilee” from the 1000 Series. With the 2000 Series, Heuer also extended its line-up of dive chronographs, with a wide selection both quartz and automatic models.
With the new 2000 Series of dive watches, Heuer attempted to build on the popularity of the 1000 Series collection but offer more creative styles of watches and to extend the range into quartz and automatic chronographs.
Designed by Eddie Schopfer, the 2000 Series dive watches had a flatter, more elegant case than the 1000 Series, an upgraded bracelet, a unique dial and a new bezel design that took less inspiration from the traditional dive watches from previous decades. The 2000 Series was a “softer” and more modern design that the 1000 Series, but still used several key elements of the 1000 Series design, include the crown guard and the “Mercedes-Benz” style hand on the non-chronograph versions.
The 2000 Series dive watch was also the first TAG Heuer model to boast the “Six Features” that would prove the guiding philosophy of the design of TAG Heuer’s dive watches through to the late 1990s.
The Heuer 2000 diver watch was available in two versions. The first featured a black aluminium bezel insert and a dial with small triangular hour markers, except for the baguette-style markers at 9 and 6 o’clock and an oversized triangle at 12 o’clock. The second version of the diver watch had a stainless steel bezel with six grips. This dial had baguette-style hour markers, except for the circle at 9 and 6 o’clock and a diamond-shape marker at 12 o’clock. It was this style that endured through to 2005 as the classic look of the series. While later models would offer the 2000 Series dive watch as an automatic, the Heuer 2000 Series time-only was only available with a quartz movement at first.
Like the 2000 Series three-hand version, the 2000 Series Chronograph was also available with either a colored aluminium insert bezel, or the stainless steel bezel design seen on the models. The 2000 Series was launched during the era when two-tone watches were popular so there was a good selection of pieces in this style within the range.
Heuer used top-quality movements in the Heuer 2000 Series. Both the quartz and automatic chronographs use the Dubois Depraz 2000 chronograph module: the Automatic movement (LWO 283) mates the DD2000 module to the ETA 2892 base, while the quartz movement (Calibre 185) uses an ESA 555.XXX (also known as the ETA 955.XXX).
The Dubois Depraz 2000 module was the result of a partnership between Lemania and Dubois Depraz that began in the late 1970s. Because Heuer contributed to the funding of the project, the LWO 283 was initially exclusive to Heuer, but when Lemania sold its shares in Heuer in 1984 to TAG, the use of the movement became more widespread among the Swiss watch brands, including many brands producing the highest quality chronographs.
The quartz chronograph was effectively a forerunner of the Calibre S movement, which TAG Heuer would use some years later, combing a quartz base with a mechanical chronograph module.
Heuer offered a broad range of model variants of the early Heuer 2000 Series. In addition to the models described above, there was also a fixed bezel model and yet another bezel variation with the words “Heuer 2000” printed on it. These two models shared another variation of the Heuer 2000 dial - the hour luminous markers being unique to these two versions. Finally, there are two special PVD iteration of the Quartz 2000 Chronograph featured in the 1983 Heuer catalogue. The square case is reminiscent of the Heuer Carrera and Cortina powered by the Lemania 5100 movement and the jubilee bracelet is something featured on no other 2000 Series watch.
Following the creation of TAG Heuer in 1985, most of the Heuer range continued as TAG Heuer models, with only small details being changed. We may see watches from this era with a mix of parts, for example, a TAG Heuer dial, but matched with a Heuer bracelet, it was simply a case of using available parts until they ran out. The 2000 Series carried on essentially unchanged, the only difference being that most models dropped the word “Quartz” from the dial and moved the “2000” marking from just under the Heuer logo to sitting above the 6 o’clock area. The word “Professional” was now featured on almost all models.
TAG Heuer also added additional models variations, including the quirky “Tristar” 2000 of 1985. This model was a fixed bezel version of the 2000 Series watch and featured a bespoke bezel with three gold stars.
Bigger changes came in 1989 with the launch of the Super 2000, which remained in the catalogue until 1994. The Super 2000 was essentially an up-market 2000 Series offering a distinct look to the rest of the range. The design featured six gold TAG Heuer logos on the bezel, bespoke gold Chrono pushers and crown, a newly designed set of hands and a cyclops over the date. Most of these watches came with a leather strap.
1990 was the last year of the original Dubois Depraz-based chronograph movements, with the 1991 models instead using the ETA 251.262 (Quartz Chrono), ETA/ Valjoux 7750 (automatic movement) and for the first time an automatic time-only watch, which used the ETA 2824-2 movement. Cosmetically, the main change was the introduction of a colored TH logo and several new case designs, such as the reference 540.206 model that borrowed its bezel design from the TAG Heuer Super Professional. The reference 540.206 was typical of the new 2000 Series quartz chronographs, in that the sub-dial placement moved to a 10 o’clock, 2 o’clock and 6 o’clock layout, a design shared with other quartz chronograph TAG Heuer models of the same era, such as the 6000 Series.
1994 was the last year that the colored aluminium bezel variant was offered, from then on, the 2000 would offer a steel bezel only. This was also that last year of the Super 2000, which would be phased out when the new TAG Heuer 2000 Series was released the following year.
TAG Heuer released the second generation 2000 Series in 1995, being the first time that the model range had been re-designed since 1982. In view of the success of the collection, the design changes were subtle. The key design changes were:
While the above makes for a long list, the new look succeeded in that it was clearly a 2000 series, but was just different enough to look more modern and up-market than the older design.
Further significant changes came in 1998 when TAG Heuer simplified and re-organised the 2000 series into three distinct models- the Classic, the Sport and the Exclusive.
The 2000 Classic is similar to the 2000 model from the 1995 re-design that continued almost unchanged, although some models would revert back from the colored TAG Heuer logo to a mono-chrome logo.
The TAG Heuer 2000 Exclusive would eventually form the design basis for TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer series, and was the most ambitious of the new designs. The watch featured large numerals at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock with polished hour batons at the other hours. This design introduced a new hand design and a larger, more modern bezel, was incorporated into generations of Aquaracer models.
The 2000 Sport was a short-lived model (phased out in 2000) that re-introduced the colored aluminium bezel to the 2000 Series and featured a unique dial with numerals marking each hour.
As the TAG Heuer 2000 series entered its third decade, the company continued to offer a range of niche 2000 Series models, three of the better-known of these are the Multigraph, the Aquagraph and the Gold 2000 Chronometre.
TAG Heuer released several watches in the early 2000s that re-introduced digital read-outs to watches: the Kirium, Formula 1, Monaco 69 and Microtimer were all examples,as was the 2000 Classic Multigraph. The watch was a stylish combination of the old and the new -- the case design from the 2000 Classic (itself closely related to the original 1982 model), but teamed with a digital read-out that could be turned off when not needed. The watch featured a bespoke crown used to toggle between functions.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, TAG Heuer has always had an outstanding dive watch, the 1000 m and the Super Professional, and the Aquagraph maintained this tradition. The Aquagraph may represent the ultimate timepiece of the 2000 Series, being waterproof to 500 meters and offering a range of bespoke features, such as the unique dial design and the Calibre 60 movement (again bringing back a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module to the 2000 Series) and the largest case used in the collection.
The brushed stainless steel case features a helium escape valve and measures approximately 44.5 millimeters in diameter, with a thickness is 16.2 millimeters, lug-to-lug measurement coming in at 50 millimeters and 22 millimeters between the lugs.
The pushers are protected by rubber covers, giving the Aquagraph a distinctive look and allowing it to be the first chronograph that could be used under watch. To rotate the bezel, you push down on it with two fingers and continue to hold it down while moving the bezel to ensure it cannot be changed by accident.
In the early 2000s, TAG Heuer offered solid gold chronometers as part of the 2000 Series collection. The basic gold watch (WN5140) featured a Chronometre Calibre 5 movement (ETA 2824-2) and retailed for well over USD 10,000. At the top of the line, there was the WN5141 featuring a diamond accented bezel and dial (plus a sapphire at top of the bezel and on the crown) and a price tag of close to USD 50,000.
In 2004 TAG Heuer released the last major updated to the 2000 Series- the 2000 Aquaracer. The 2000 Aquaracer brought back the colored aluminium bezel and introduced a dial design that borrowed a little from the Aquagraph. The watch was available as both an automatic and quartz, and is similar to the watch that TAG Heuer would later sell as the TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300m. But more significant than the watch itself was the new “Aquaracer” name, which would be the first time that TAG Heuer used it and was the last new 2000 Series watch released before TAG Heuer dropped the “2000” name for “Aquaracer” in 2005.