George Bamford and I have a piece of TAG Trivia in common; our first ‘proper’ sports watch was a TAG Heuer Formula 1. In truth my first high quality wristwatch was a vintage Rolex Air King, but in terms of an actual sports watch, complete with rotating bezel, then it was a black and blue TAG Heuer Formula 1; you know the ones with plastic cases, bezels and rubber straps. I loved that watch and wish I’d kept it — it really was cool and it was no surprise to me that George Bamford also started with one of these. Because when it comes to cool, Mr Bamford knows his onions; as it seems does his wife who now actually collects these original TAG Formula 1s. And so with its latest offering driven by George, the Bamford Watch Department has added its signature licks and riffs to another TAG Heuer modern classic.
The Aquaracer was launched in 2004 as TAG Heuer’s dive watch, although the lineage of the watch can be traced back to 1982, when Jack Heuer unveiled the Heuer 2000. It was the mid-90s iterations that heralded the use of the dodecagon bezel that has carried through to this most recent watch in the brand’s line up.
Driven by the Calibre 5 movement, the most recent Aquaracer manages to look very much like its own man, which isn’t easy for a dive watch. The default position is to ape the Submariner, but the styling and finish of the Aquaracer looks both dashing and individual.
“When designing this limited-edition Aquaracer, we looked to models from TAG Heuer’s past for creative inspiration. The orange design elements and sporty bezel are reminiscent of the impactful TAG Heuer pieces that were launched between 1979 and 1994 and paved the way for the Aquaracer collection, which made its official debut in 2004,” comments George Bamford.
I was given an opportunity to look at the watch a couple of months ago, when visiting Bamford’s London HQ and to use one of George’s phrases, it rocks! The orange accents are cool and whilst they might hark back to the 70s era of vibrant dials, the watch looks and feels very current on the wrist.
The case is 43mm sandblasted titanium and it comes on a matching bracelet, also in titanium. A rotating 12-sided bezel features classic dive watch numerals and a funky orange triangle at 12 o’clock.
The dial resembles a vinyl record with concentric circles and the orange theme continues with alternating five-second dashes on the chapter ring. Waterproof to 300m this watch can get seriously wet, which is of course entirely the point of a dive watch. Like all of Bamford’s recent collaborations, I’m pretty confident that all 1500 pieces will go like hot cakes!
Calibre 5 automatic
43mm Grade 2 Titanium with steel winding crown
Grade 2 Titanium with folding clasp and diver extension.
Available at TAG Heuer boutiques and online from December (pre-orders possible from 26th November).