TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition
The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition is the latest collaboration between the avant-garde Swiss brand and the British firm known for personalising watches. The first time both companies collaborated was in 2018 when they conceived the TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford which proved to be a remarkable success. Based on first impressions, it looks like this latest collaboration will be another smash hit.
For several years I have admired the styling of many TAG Heuer watches. However, in the last couple of years, the execution of the brand’s products has ascended to a higher plane. In particular, the Monaco limited-editions of 2019 and the latest Carrera creations (2020) incorporate numerous well-considered details.
Take the new Carrera Sport Chronograph 44mm where the snailed counters sit adjacent sloping tracks. Likewise, adjacent the multi-facetted indexes, there are squares of luminescent fill sitting within a small channel. These details may sound small, but they imbue the overall composition with a notable degree of refinement and an overall sense of luxury.
In my opinion, the firm’s in-house design department, headed by Guy Bove, TAG Heuer’s Creative Director, is doing a fabulous job. Therefore, it may sound surprising that the avant-garde Swiss brand has recently collaborated with the British firm, Bamford Watch Department.
George Bamford, the founder of the eponymous firm, Bamford Watch Department, is well-known for personalising watches. In 2018, Bamford collaborated with the Swiss company to produce the TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford. In addition, he has worked with other high-end luxury watch brands, revisiting existing models and injecting a dose of his own unique style.
On this occasion, the two companies have taken the Aquaracer model and infused it with a dose of British creativity. The result is the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition, an ultra-modern sports watch that doesn’t mind getting its hair wet (water-resistant to 300m).
The black-gold-plated, baton-style hour and minute hands, featuring white Super-LumiNova and framed in orange, exhibit an 80s feel. The hands collaborate with applied indexes, again featuring luminescent treatment. Personally speaking, this combination of forms and hues evokes memories of the dashboard instruments found in cars of the aforementioned era.
While I am accustomed to snailed counters, I cannot recall seeing a whole dial suffused with concentric circles. White cross hairs traverse the dial with lines running north to south and east to west.
The main part of the central sweep seconds hand is black and looks shy and retiring, however, the tip of the hand has other ideas. It blends orange and white tones, forming stripes, to create an eye-popping appearance that’s hard to miss.
Framing the edge of the snailed dial is a minute track. It is endowed with a series of white markings featuring crisp strokes spaced at ¼-second intervals. Beyond the minute track, 30 orange rectangular batons hug the inner surface of the bezel.
The date is shown at 3 o’clock, magnified through a lens, sating the needs of myopic wearers.
I am pleased to say, that neither TAG Heuer nor Bamford Watch Department have been tempted to overburden the dial with excessive branding. The TAG Heuer logo is positioned below noon, while the names, ‘Bamford’ and ‘Aquaracer’, along with the model’s maximum water-resistance, are subtly presented in white above 6 o’clock.
Over the years, I have worn several steel Aquaracer watches, however, I cannot recall seeing a version of the model housed in Grade 2 titanium. The resultant appearance of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition looks fabulous. This corrosion-resistant, lightweight material is extensively used in the aerospace, motorsport and medical fields. While it is primarily selected for its low mass, titanium is also hypoallergenic making it ideal for surgical implants. In this instance, the lightweight characteristics of Grade 2 Titanium augment wearer comfort. Moreover, the hypoallergenic properties should appeal to wearers with sensitive skin. Indeed, unlike some stainless steel alloys, such as 904L, titanium is nickel-free making it ideal for those individuals who suffer from a nickel allergy.
Measuring 43mm in diameter, the case has a sandblasted finish, imbuing the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition with a relaxed persona. The right-hand side of the case features a sinuous caseband which is bisected by the crown. The crown itself is partially recessed, nuzzling into the caseband.
The model is equipped with a unidirectional bezel, marked with a 60-minute scale, and features an orange triangular index at noon. Six overriders reach over the flank of the bezel, imbuing it with a strong jawline.
The 3-rows bracelet, made from Grade 2 titanium, is paired with a folding clasp. Double safety buttons mitigate the risk of the watch coming adrift. In addition, the bracelet features a diving extension, reaffirming its subaquatic credentials.
Consistent with other Aquaracer models, the watch features a solid caseback which is engraved with a depiction of an old diving bell helmet. This brings me to the impressive water-resistance of 300 metres. While some watches are capable of withstanding great depths underwater, they have a tendency to be bulbous. A key strength of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition is that it should fulfil the requirements of 99% of wearers while sitting neatly beneath a shirt cuff.
The caseback is also marked ‘One of 1500’, reaffirming that this is a limited-edition.
At the heart of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition is the Maison’s tried and tested Calibre 5 self-winding movement. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and, assuming the watch is fully wound, it will run autonomously for 38 hours.
As stated earlier, the timepiece is fitted with a solid caseback upholding diving watch tradition, hence it was not possible to appraise the finishing of the movement.
George Bamford and his company have revisited the existing Aquaracer and created something different. The watch is eminently legible and should prove highly practical, courtesy of its 300m water resistance, robust construction and self-winding movement. Furthermore, the Grade 2 titanium case delivers several benefits including corrosion-resistance, low-mass and skin-friendly properties, while its sandblasted appearance looks stunning.
However, where this watch stands out is that its dial is wonderfully attractive. It encompasses black, orange and white tones as well as having a snailed surface. When I look at the dial, I am reminded of the rev counter found in a 1980s Porsche 928. On one hand, the dial of this new model looks a tad retro and yet, on the other hand, it looks fresh and new.
In summary, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition blends style and practicality. Moreover, it demonstrates that when two companies successfully collaborate, the synergistic outcome can sometimes surpass the results of two firms working alone. This timepiece is yet another impressive piece of work from this Swiss and British alliance and based on the evidence, I suspect it will be equally as successful as their first collaboration.
- Model: TAG Heuer Aquaracer Bamford Limited Edition
- Reference: WAY208F.BF0638
Case: Grade 2 titanium; diameter 43 mm; water resistance 30ATM (300m); sapphire crystal to the front and solid case back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
- Movement: Calibre 5; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); power reserve = 38 hours
- Bracelet: Sandblasted three-row bracelet made from grade 2 titanium with folding clasp with double safety push buttons with diving extension
- Price £3250 (RRP as at 26.11.2020)