The Swiss TAG Heuer replica has showcased remarkable productivity this year, unveiling several captivating limited-edition chronographs. Alongside the two Carrera models commemorating the brand’s 160th anniversary – the Silver Edition and Carrera Montreal – TAG Heuer has also rekindled its collaboration with designer Hiroshi Fujiwara and his esteemed streetwear brand Fragment Design. Following the success of a minimalist Carrera model in 2018, this year introduces a new timepiece that not only exudes brilliance in design but also hints at potential future motorsport-inspired additions to the lineup. Let’s delve deeper into the TAG Heuer x Fragment Design Chronograph and explore its intriguing features.
Hiroshi Fujiwara, a globally acclaimed Japanese streetwear designer, influencer, musician, and the founder of Fragment Design, is also a passionate watch aficionado. Since 2018, he has collaborated with TAG Heuer to craft special edition timepieces imbued with his distinctive design sensibilities, blending boldness with minimalism.
The inaugural watch born from this partnership was a Carrera model featuring a sleek black dial subtly adorned with Fragment’s branding. Not only did the watch captivate with its design, but it also laid the groundwork for subsequent editions, namely the Silver and Montreal editions. Now, in 2020, both brands reunite to unveil an unprecedented timepiece, diverging from any existing model in TAG Heuer’s permanent collection.
Undoubtedly, aficionados of Heuer and Replica TAG Heuer timepieces will find a sense of familiarity in this new 44mm Automatic Chronograph. Its shape and design, reminiscent of vintage watches and existing models, may evoke a sense of nostalgia for enthusiasts. While the mechanics housed within the case are not groundbreaking and have been utilized in numerous TAG Heuer watches before, the undeniable motorsport inspiration infused into this timepiece is quintessentially TAG Heuer.
However, what sets this watch apart is the amalgamation of these familiar elements, creating a fresh and unique offering. Unlike previous collaborations that merely introduced different color variations on existing models, this second Replica TAG Heuer x Fragment Design timepiece stands out as a truly innovative creation.
The foundation of this new watch, dubbed the “C-case,” pays homage to the robust tonneau-shaped blocks of steel reminiscent of 1970s Autavia watches, particularly the third-generation ref. 1163. Characterized by its integrated lugs and prominently raised bezel, the brushed case exudes a distinct pilot’s watch aesthetic. While reminiscent of current Formula 1 watches, it boasts additional details such as polished bevels on the sides, enhancing its robustness and allure. It’s not far-fetched to speculate that this watch could potentially pave the way for a top-tier extension of the F1 range in the near future.
Further echoing the heritage of 1970s racing models, the bezel’s insert crafted from polished ceramic features a tachymeter scale with the same graduated markings (70-66-63) and deep notches. On the right side of the case, the well-protected crown with guards and recessed pushers for the chronograph add to its sporty appeal. With a screw-down crown and caseback, this timepiece ensures a comfortable water resistance of up to 100 meters, making it suitable for various adventures.
Fujiwara’s distinct touch is unmistakably evident on the dial of the TAG Heuer x Fragment Design Chronograph, which adopts a minimalist approach characterized by the absence of applied hour markers, resulting in striking negative space on the dial. This bi-compax chronograph embraces a monochromatic palette of black and white, punctuated only by subtle red accents on the markers and hands. Positioned discreetly between 4 and 5 o’clock is the “Fragment” inscription, accompanied by the logos of both brands at 12 o’clock.
There’s a remarkable charm to this dial, despite its simplistic and flat design; it exudes a compelling personality. Daytime legibility is excellent, albeit slightly compromised in low-light conditions, as only the hands feature Super-LumiNova luminescence. Accompanying the watch is a new 5-link steel bracelet, boasting a combination of polished and brushed surfaces. Personally, I envision this watch paired with a 1970s-inspired perforated black leather strap, further accentuating its classic allure and enhancing comfort, especially considering the substantial size and weight of the case.
In contrast to many Clone TAG Heuer Formula 1 watches powered by quartz chronograph movements, this exquisite Fragment Design Chronograph relies on the brand’s in-house Calibre Heuer 02 movement – an integrated automatic chronograph featuring a column wheel and vertical clutch. Portions of the movement are visible through a red-tinted sapphire crystal, with Fragment’s logo subtly transferred onto its surface.
Indeed, TAG Heuer and Hiroshi Fujiwara have once again collaborated to create an exceptionally cool limited edition timepiece. What’s even more intriguing is its potential as a precursor to the forthcoming top-of-the-range Formula 1 Heuer 02 watch. While the exact details remain unknown, one thing is certain: it’s a release worth anticipating.