TAG Heuer’s first collaboration with streetwear guru Hiroshi Fujiwara of Fragment Design was the Fragment Design Carrera Heuer 02 of 2018. The vintage-inspired watch went down well and sold out quickly. Now the second collaboration has just been unveiled.
Once again limited to 500 watches and powered by the same Heuer 02 movement, the TAG Heuer x Fragment Design Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic Chronograph is modelled on the Autavia models of the 1960s and 1970s, but again given a minimalist makeover by Mr Fujiwara, who happens to be a vintage watch aficionado himself.
As a watch collector, Mr Fujiwara no doubt understood the cushion-shaped Autavia case, sometimes known as the “C-case”, is an instantly recognisable Heuer that has presence, making it a good candidate for a collaboration.
However, unlike earlier Fragment Design watch that looked almost like a real vintage watch, the latest edition looks far more contemporary, thanks to the high-contrast colours. The use of red is restrained, especially with the tiny hour markers, just enough to give the watch the right amount of auto-racing flair.
While I am generally not a fan of a date window at six o’clock, it is nicely done here. The date disc is black to match with the dial, allowing the date display to blend into the dial. And the Fragment Design double lightning bolt logo at 12 o’clock serves as a visual counterweight to the date.
The case has been upsized to 44 mm from the 42 mm of the original, but the short lugs probably mean it wears slightly smaller than it measures.
Included with the watch is a new, five-row steel bracelet. With brushed and polished surfaces, it is reminiscent of the “beads of rice” bracelets found on vintage watches of the period. However, I am certain the watch will look better on a black “Rally” strap with red stitching.
All in all, although this watch is appealing in its own ways, I still prefer the first Fragment Design collaboration as the vintage cues within the design were stronger. That said, the latest edition will no doubt sell out in a flash, especially since it is priced at 6,000 Swiss francs – a great value proposition for a well-made chronograph refined by a streetwear icon.
The Heuer 02 inside is the brand’s upper-end in-house chronograph movement, a step up from the the Heuer 01 that is based on Seiko TC78 (or the 6S78). An automatic movement with a column wheel and vertical clutch, the Heuer 02 has a useful 80-hour power reserve – almost twice the industry norm.
The case back is fitted with an imposing sapphire crystal that’s been tinted red. While it definitely makes for a striking aesthetic, I do not like that it obscures the movement. Incorporating the colour into the movement itself, such as with red-coated rotor or bridges, would have been a less intrusive solution.
Mr Fujiwara is sometimes regarded as the godfather of streetwear, having been an influencer and tastemaker for streetwear culture long before the internet.
He is no stranger to collaborations. Fragment Design, which he founded in 2003, has created numerous, much-hyped collaborations with brands like Louis Vuitton, Nike and Moncler.
All the collaborations tend to stick with Mr Fujiwara’s philosophy of taking a beautiful, existing product as the base, and then enhancing it with the addition of accents and the removal of distracting, superfluous elements, resulting in a stripped-down design.
That was the formula applied to the new TAG Heuer collaboration, which bridges two of his passions – design and watches. Mr Fujiwara’s primary interest in horology centres on vintage sports watches, and he occasionally shares his thoughts on watches (as well as many other topics) on his personal portal, Ring of Colour.
Key Facts and Price
TAG Heuer x Fragment Design Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic Chronograph
Diameter: 44 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 100 m
Movement: Heuer 02
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and chronograph
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 80 hours
Strap: Steel bracelet
Limited edition: 500 pieces
Availability: From July 27, 2020 at boutiques and authorised retailers
Price: 6,000 Swiss francs; or 8,650 Singapore dollars
For more, visit Tagheuer.com.
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