New Oracle Team USA wristwatch technology designed with TAG Heuer.
With summer in full swing and water sports happening in all their glory, it’s a good time to talk about how some watch brands keep pace — continually creating new technology to time sports.
Such is the case with TAG Heuer, which last summer — for the 34th America’s Cup —unveiled some new professional timing for Oracle Team USA in its continual efforts to improve technology and offer cutting-edge timepieces. That particular technology was the result of the brand’s R&D department working side by side with Oracle Team USA to co-invent onboard connectivity equipment and intelligent smart watches so each crew member could have instant access to crucial race data in real time.
The specially developed watch gives each sailor exactly what he needs on board the ship.
The 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 optimized high-contrast LED screen displays constantly updated information on the boat, such as speed, foil balance, sail pressure, true wind speed, true wind direction and true wind angle.
Connected to captors and computers located at the home base of Oracle Team USA and throughout the boat, the real-time data stream allowed for strong and swift reactions. Easy to read with a wide-open 51mm face, it weighs only 108 g and is impact resistant to 5000 G.
TAG Heuer drew technical inspiration from its watch, eyewear and other divisions. The Aquaracer 72 used patented splashproof technology, first used in TAG Heuer eyewear. The data processing equipment on board the 72-foot catamaran was waterproofed using technology developed for the TAG Heuer Monaco chrono.
For the watches worn by Oracle Team USA’s grinders — the sailors who man 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 this special Aquaracer 72 were produced to equip the team (though TAG Heuer created a limited-edition version: the AQUARACER 500M Calibre 72 Countdown Automatic Chronograph 43mm for the outside world). The true glory of this project was to improve technology in sports timing and lay the groundwork for new inventions.
Oracle Team USA in San Francisco for America’s Cup 2013