Cars and exotic materials are never-ending sources of design inspiration for the watch industry. However, the collaborative trio of watch brand TAG Heuer, customizer Bamford Watch Department, and designer Black Badger have together taken these themes in an unexpected direction. The new Bamford X Black Badger “Fordite” TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 watches use a “material” that is an accidental bi-product of painting cars, and results in strikingly colorful and organic-looking patterns.
“Fordite” comes from the layers that build up in car factories’ paint bays that, when sliced, reveal the strata that have accumulated over years. Artists have found this to be interesting not only for its colors, but also for its story, and Canadian artist/designer Black Badger (aka James Thompson) has used the material to create things like jewelry. In some of the dials they can look like marble, and in others the bright and contrasting colors look like an abstract interpretation of Beijing opera masks. The particular Fordite used here comes from the Ford factories in Michigan and represents cars painted between the 1970s and 1990s.
Bamford Watch Department (aka George Bamford) was once a rogue watch modifier, but is now officially employed by TAG Heuer. Bamford brought the watch brand and the artist together, and he likely is responsible for the black coating on the Carrera watches as well. The underlying TAG Heuer watch is the 41mm TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 model, running on the Sellita SW-220-1 automatic movement.
There are only ten pieces produced, sold through the Bamford website where customers can choose the exact dial pattern they like, as each one is totally unique. The Bamford X Black Badger “Fordite” TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 each have a price of around $6,740.
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