Mega-golfer Tiger Woods and Swiss luxury watchmakers TAG Heuer have teamed up to create a professional wristwatch for golfers. Why is this watch for professionals? And why is it the subject of a technology column? Because the design is a breakthrough — an expensive breakthrough, but a breakthrough nonetheless.
Let's start with what the Tiger Woods Professional Golf Watch is not. It's not ugly or heavy; it’s quite attractive and amazingly lightweight. And it isn’t like most other regular watches and doesn’t get in the way of somebody swinging a golf club. Woods saw to that.
Woods was already a paid ambassador for TAG-Heuer watches when they asked him to help design a timepiece specifically for active golfers. As I’ve come to learn, that is not an easy task.
“At the beginning of the project we ran into problems," Woods is quoted in the press material accompanying the watch. "Golfers have very precise reasons not to wear a watch — the added weight on the wrist, the strap being too loose or too tight, not to mention the intense demands the game puts upon the wrist.”
The resulting device is made of titanium, stainless steel and silicon rubber. It weighs only 55 grams — or just under 2 ounces — making it 60 percent lighter than a similar size TAG Heuer steel watch. That’s less than 2 ounces for the watch and strap. Everything.
The clasp and folding buckle of a conventional watch apparently can hurt the wrist when you golf. Plus, the standard placement of the winding/setting crown at 3 o’clock can bother the golfer when the wrist is bent. So engineers integrated the clasp into the watch head. That means the watch itself is also the clasp — the strap is continuous. They also moved the crown across the dial to 9 o’clock.
When the strap of a regular watch is too loose it can slide up and down and sometimes hit the wrist and/or the glove. Too tight is uncomfortable, too. So engineers developed an ultra-flexible rubber strap with a high degree of elasticity.
And some golfers find their regular watches are very quickly damaged by the repetitive and violent shocks generated by golf swings. This new watch gives 5,000 Gs of shock absorption or 45 times more than the shock received by the watch during a golf swing.
Who knew that there could be so much science and technology in involved in creating a watch specifically for golfers? I’m not a professional golfer (or evan an amateur one) but I can appreciate an incredible advance in sports timepieces when I see one. If there are non-golfers out there who are anything like me they’ll appreciate this timepiece, too.
The Professional Gold Watch is lighter than any other watch I’ve ever worn. It’s almost difficult to describe. It feels like you have nothing on your wrist. The rubber strap is amazingly strong and flexible. And the idea of the clasp being incorporated into the back of the watch is a stroke of genius.
TAG Heuer’s Tiger Wood’s designed Professional Golf Watch is being sold as a limited edition of 8,000. Suggested retail price is $1,195.