Tag Heuer x Bamford Watch Division Aquaracer: Turns Out That Sandblasting a Watch Is an Unbelievable Thought
Welcome to Dialed In, where we introduce the best, most interesting, and coolest new watches in the world.
The clock: the Tag Heuer Aquaracer, sandblasted by the Bamford Watch Department
The best thing about this watch: Tag Heuer’s Aquaracer model, originally released in 2004, has been redesigned by the watch world’s most popular customizer, the Bamford Watch Department. Bamford has been around since 2004 and it pioneered the purchase of new watches just to have them completely refurbished. In the beginning this often meant giving the pieces a black coating. For some watch collectors, customizing pieces the way Bamford does is a faux pas. Tag Heuer wants to silence these critics. In 2017, the brand partnered with Bamford to make the company its official customizer so that adjustments could be made before watches hit the aftermarket.
The background story: For starters, this is a nice watch. Color has played an important role in this year’s major new releases – be it Grand Seiko’s forest green toge or Rolex’s sleeves with candy-colored Oyster Perpetuals – and this new Aquaracer is riding that wave just enough. There are orange accents on the arrow on the bezel, on the outer edge of the dial, and on all of the hands. Also, look carefully at the second hands for a candy corn-like striping effect.
This piece is important in the world of watches because: Like many brands, Tag decided to listen to the youth. In June of this year, the parent company LVMH appointed 25-year-old Frédéric Arnault as the new CEO of Tag Heuer. Frédéric’s father owns LVMH while his older brothers Alexandre and Antoine run Rimowa and Berluti, respectively. If Frédéric has been gotten to revive Tag Heuer with youthful energy, the strategy will work. Look no further than the two watches Tag brought out at Bamford this year to see what he’s up to. The “coffee dial” Carrera was a much more muted update of an elegant classic that was released before Arnault took over the helm. The new Aquaracer is sporty and colorful – a piece for the current collector who most likely appreciates sports watches above all else.
You said something about sandblasting earlier? The titanium case and bracelet of this Aquaracer have been sandblasted, a process that sounds exactly as it sounds. In this video, Steve Laughlin, founder of Raven Watches, explains that the process basically goes like this: you put the watch in a tank and literally blast it with sand. (The brainstorming session to come up with that name couldn’t take long.)
If you pinch pictures of the Aquaracer, you will find that the technique gives the exterior of the watch a slightly sparkling effect. While those orange accents catch the eye, the sandblasting effect could be the real star here.
Where and when to buy it: Limited to just 1,500 pieces, the watch is available now on Tag Heuer’s website for $ 3,900.