Collaborations between watch brands and external designers or watch customizers are a growing thing in the industry, the idea being to infused a different take on the watch, less ‘horological’, more design-oriented. So what happens when TAG Heuer, the avant-garde brand known for its robust sports watches, meets Bamford Watch Department, the famous UK-based personalisation house? Well, it gives an original, overly-designed, slightly 1970s take on the brand’s dive watch, with an even more instrumental look. Here’s the bold and modern TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition.
TAG Heuer and Bamford is a long-lasting love story. It all started when, in 2018, TAG Heuer and George Bamford (the man behind Bamford Watch Department) came together to create a special version of the Monaco Chronograph, a bold and unmistakable watch that made sensation. Bamford’s idea is to infuse a less traditional sense of design to classic pieces of the watchmaking industry. BWD’s creations are sometimes colourful, sometimes monochromatic, often modern and striking, most of the time unconventional and disruptive. But they never leave anyone without strong feelings. And in an industry that can sometimes be over-conservative, this is reinvigorating.
For their latest collaboration, TAG Heuer and Bamford Watch Department opted for the brand’s dive watch, the classic Aquaracer – a watch that has been around for several years and with a proven track record. Already existing in multiple editions, from all-time classics to more daring designs, Bamford decided to dig into the brand’s history and to look at some of the dive watches created by the brand between 1979 and 1994 – watches that paved the way for the Aquaracer collection, which debuted in 2004. This meant playing with textures, bringing back an even more instrumental look, adding some bold touches of colour and adding a surprising mix of stealth and provocative elements.
First, the 43mm case of this TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition retains the original design of the collection, with angular casebands and a 43mm diameter. Instead of stainless steel, the case is made of grade 2 titanium, a lightweight and corrosion-resistant material, which is benefiting to both durability and comfort. To add a tool-ish take to this piece, the case is entirely sand-blasted, resulting in a matte, textured surface. The unidirectional bezel, with its signature dodecagonal shape (a 12-sided polygon), is fitted with the necessary 60-minute diving scale and is also executed in matte titanium. The caseback, screwed and plain, is also using the same material.
Reinforcing this stealth, instrumental design, the Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition is worn on a sand-blasted grade 2 titanium 3-link bracelet, with folding clasp and diving extension. The use of titanium all around brings comfort, due to the lightness of this material, which is also known to be pleasant on the skin. Despite its relatively large diameter, the Aquaracer is more compact on the wrist than numbers would suggest.
The dial also benefits from Bamford’s treatment, and inaugurates a surprising mix of textures and colours. The black base (a recurring colour in BWD’s creations) has a concentric pattern – some will see an evocation of the spiral groove of a vinyl record, some will see a military radar inspiration… The inner flange receives a new design too, with orange blocks, while the minute/second track has been moved to the dial itself. The hands are new to this model, with a clear 1970s style, due to their shape and the bright orange colour. Applied white blocks play the role of hour markers and are, objectively, filled with Super-LumiNova.
Inside its case, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition remains faithful to its simple yet robust Calibre 5, an outsourced automatic movement (base Sellita SW 200-1), with a 4Hz frequency and 38h of power reserve. It displays the time centrally with 3 hands, as well as a date at 3 o’clock, positioned under a magnifying lens.
Availability & Price
The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition (ref. WAY208F.BF0638) will be produced in 1,500 pieces. It can be pre-ordered on as of today, and it will be available at retailers in December 2020. Retail price will be CHF 3,800.
More details at tagheuer.com.