Collaboration designs are nothing new in the modern luxury watch market, but for the most part they exist as partnerships between a watchmaker and another single brand. Bamford Watch Department’s latest release, however, is the product of no less than four separate entities. The reason for this complex web of collaborations is simple – this watch is part of a broader collaboration between streetwear media site Highsnobiety and famed German automaker RUF Automobile. RUF has a decades-long history of working alongside sports car giant Porsche, transforming 911s and other Porsche models into high-performance monsters like the SCR and the legendary CTR “Yellowbird,” which boasted an incredible 213 miles-per-hour top speed that made it the world’s fastest production automobile on its introduction in 1987 (for context, the previous record-holding Ferrari F40 topped out at only 201 miles-per-hour). While this partnership ranges from apparel, caps, coffee mugs, model cars, and more, the watch is the crown jewel of the collection, with a reworked dial layout and a unique colorway that stands out from its stablemates at a glance. The new limited edition RUF x Bamford x Highsnobiety – TAG Heuer Carrera is an intriguing effort to push the boundaries of co-branding, with a cleanly vibrant look that belies its complex backstory.
Measuring in at 42mm-wide and 14.4mm-thick, the stainless steel case of the RUF x Bamford x Highsnobiety – TAG Heuer Carrera is more or less carried over from the standard production Heuer 02-equipped Carrera line. All the Carrera series hallmarks are present and accounted for in images, including the distinctive inwardly beveled lugs and the narrow sloping polished bezel. The largest visual difference comes through the sapphire display caseback, which uses not one but three printed logos. Although the RUF emblem, the Highsnobiety logo, and the “Bamford Limited Edition” text at 6 o’clock all appear to be clearly and sharply printed, they do markedly obscure the view of the movement within in initial images. As with the standard production Carrera, this model offers a solid 100 meters of water resistance.
The RUF x Bamford x Highsnobiety – TAG Heuer Carrera’s largest departure from its standard production siblings is its dial. Bamford goes far beyond a simple colorway swap here, offering a rarely seen subdial and date window delete that both require a solid amount of work to achieve, and delivers a cleaner, more elemental layout in images. The main dial surface is a rich, deep matte hunter green in images, a color that has been a core part of RUF’s branding since its founding. TAG Heuer’s familiar striped baton handset and faceted applied indices remain here, but Bamford accents these standard elements with a striking saffron yellow central chronograph seconds hand featuring a black striped tip. The chronograph subdial hands at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock also echo this vibrant yellow hue above azurage bases and raised outer subdial rings. 6 o’clock is where this model makes its most notable changes, as the familiar running seconds subdial and date window are removed to make way for a bold, streamlined RUF badge in the same bright orange-yellow hue. Nestled inside this logo is a smaller Highsnobiety emblem, while Bamford’s own signature takes up the space between the 6 o’clock and 7 o’clock indices. While these elements work together to form a solid visual counterweight to the subdials for a balanced feel in images, these layers of branding may not suit all tastes.
Inside the RUF x Bamford x Highsnobiety – TAG Heuer Carrera beats TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph movement. The Heuer 02 is found throughout TAG Heuer’s higher-end chronograph lines, and its performance fits its role as the company’s modern flagship powerplant. With a vertical clutch, a column wheel, and a massive 80-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate, the Heuer 02 is a standout in the modern chronograph market. In terms of finishing, the movement is modern and handsome in images, with Côtes de Genève across its skeleton bridges, an anthracite gray tone skeleton balance cock, and a stylish wheel-inspired skeleton rotor in rose gold topped with Côtes de Genève. Bamford equips the RUF x Bamford x Highsnobiety – TAG Heuer Carrera with a pair of straps, including a dial-matching hunter green strap in richly textured Saffiano leather and a box-stitched forest green fabric NATO strap.
Although the four-layer branded collaboration strategy may be confusing to some enthusiasts, the limited edition RUF x Bamford x Highsnobiety – TAG Heuer Carrera offers a bold and sporty twist on the classic Carrera look that honors some of the wildest sporting machines to ever come from RUF. Only 100 examples of the RUF x Bamford x Highsnobiety – TAG Heuer Carrera will be made, and the watch is available now exclusively through the Highsnobiety Shop. MSRP for the RUF x Bamford x Highsnobiety – TAG Heuer Carrera stands at $7,785 USD as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.