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TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara Watch Releases

TAG Heuer has an ongoing history of allowing external designers and artists to leave their mark on their watches. In that realm of quirky timepieces those official TAG Heuer watches “redesigned” by Japanese artists have their own little microcosm – just think of this remarkable Nendo from 2015 that I have very much grown to love and appreciate. Today, a new piece called the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition by Hiroshi Fujiwara joins that special niche of TAG Heuer timepieces. First things first, I am disappointed that Fujiwara-san didn’t use this opportunity to add “Heuer” a 3rd time to the product’s name, that’s a chance we’ll never get back.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara Watch Releases

For those like me who didn’t know, the answer is but a quick Google search away for Hypebeast says: “Fragment design is a multidisciplinary imprint [I’ll plead ignorant to whatever that means] by Japanese designer Hiroshi Fujiwara. Fragment design enters many highly hyped collaborations with brands such as Nike, Jordan Brand, Converse, Levi’s (…), NEIGHBORHOOD” and others according to the hype-site. To translate all that into terms we can all understand, it’s a hip brand that I am sure is very much on the radar of those closer to 20 than 30 these days.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara Watch Releases

Hiroshi Fujiwara of Fragment.

So why Fragment and TAG Heuer? I’ll go out on a limb and say this is part of their strategy of placing the brand within sight of their target younger audience – though coming in at just over 8 large ones, I don’t think this watch was meant to be actually had by any of them… Or maybe today’s youth has a lot more to spend on one of their first watches than we had back in my day! Seriously though, I think it’s a smart move, even if hardcore watch snobs are given the chills by the very idea of a historical brand reaching out to anyone without a pension payment due next week.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara Watch Releases

I wouldn’t worry too much, though. In fact, I’d be losing a lot more sleep over TAG Heuer if it had no idea how to reach out to a younger audience. TAG Heuer is an avant-garde brand and those who are snobby about liking any of the stuff that they had ever made, well, the stuff they fancy and are so protective of at one point or another was novel and new and fresh. Doing new things also means doing things that won’t necessarily work at the time, but just because said connoisseurs live with the luxury of cherry-picking TAG Heuer (or any other brand for that matter) watches from a long-gone era doesn’t mean said brand did not produce plenty of lemons on its way to getting those “icons” right. Furthermore… Sure, you can design watches with Mickey Mouse and Snoopy on them if you want to appeal to the inner 8-year-old of 58-year-olds, but then you’ll still end up selling to the same more, ehm, mature audience without ever popping up in the face-a-gram feed that kids these days are scrolling through fanatically every day.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara Watch Releases

I am ready to come out and make the admission that I am not a Japanese teen on my morning commute to uni – goodness knows I wish I was –, but I am willing to bet my first grey hairs gifted to me by this industry that those who are in fact fashion-conscious teens with their phones glued to their faces will see this watch pop up in one of their preferred corners of the interwebs; and that is what this 500-piece limited edition is all about for TAG Heuer. It’s two brands becoming associated with both gaining in visibility – and given how very badly the Swiss need to reach out to a younger audience, this is a good, mostly unobtrusive call.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara Watch Releases

As for the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition watch itself, it’s basically an old-school Heuer Carrera design with a lightning bolt humping another lightning bolt from behind on its dial. Once you see that, you can’t unsee it – and it’s precisely the sort of dumb stuff that the all-time young generation loves and doesn’t care about – or even care to realize. I’m not being an old fart, that’s just a fact, and it’s all good. The dial also says Fragment on it between the tiny specks for the 4 and 5 o’clock markers, offsetting the whole thing like a poorly placed date window – a ghost in the nightmares of us watch snobs, but then again, nothing to really bother the target audience.

Jean-Claude Biver says “We were more than happy to give him complete freedom with the design.” Despite the humping thing going on and the boasting between 4 and 5 o’clock, I overall like this restrained take on the Carrera – by trending artsy-fartsy designer standards it actually is a muted, almost humble exercise.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara Watch Releases

The case-back reveals the TAG Heuer Heuer-02 caliber with the aforementioned lightning bolt action going on, along with the same Fragment text present for good measure. It is almost as though the FRAGMENT logo was written into or rather over the Heuer logo – which I guess is pushing it a bit. The text could be on the case-back and the Heuer logo on the rotor, but it’s hard to tell from this confusing image… And when new design elements are this few and far between on a watch, I do have to start looking for these connections. The Heuer-02 movement, although just 6.9mm thick, pushes 80 hours of power reserve along with automatic winding and a vertical clutch and a column wheel – top-tier stuff in this segment.

The case is the humble and much-loved 39-millimeter Carrera case, wrapping a black opaline dial with the inevitable tachymeter scale, beige Super-LumiNova, rhodium-plated, polished and faceted hands, and a white lacquered central hand. There’s a box crystal on the front to add more volume – and add more volume it does. If you watch the video above as opposed to these somewhat dead-looking pictures, I think you’ll agree that this Carrera looks mighty fine, with those polished hands, angled lugs, box crystal, black dial and crisp white print working together in a strange, albeit sophisticated harmony… Though that’s to do more with the Carrera itself than any particular design offspring, the overall design is rather striking, I should say. I especially like the typography on the tachymeter scale – nice, old-school legibility with character but no frills.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition By Hiroshi Fujiwara Watch Releases

Sold with a “powerhouse” leather strap (I guess that’s the “Turbo” and the “Mega” superlative of our time?) and an additional black and grey NATO strap, I am overall impressed by TAG Heuer being open to these ventures and I do genuinely wish that they will keep doing it. I do however much prefer the Nendo Edition from 2015 because it had a much, much more unique character that really pushed the limits… and cost almost half the price. The TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition by Hiroshi Fujiwara costs $8,100 and is limited to just 500 pieces, sold exclusively in TAG Heuer boutiques – if you like this one, find the boutique nearest to you on the tagheuer.com website.

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Comments

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  • John Taylor

    Great review David. TAG Heuer gets a lot of hate but they can make a few nice watches.

    • David Bredan

      Thank you, John! I agree, and that’s why I added the video — because it really shows off how nice this watch looks in the metal. Surprisingly nicely done with the different surfaces and textures and contrasts.

  • Marius

    “TAG Heuer is an avant-garde brand” So it claims, I remain to be convinced.

    Does any of the ‘fragment’ guff have anything to do with the design of the watch? I quite like the watch (if not the pricing) but fail to see what the designer has added.

  • Darh109

    This one is really something. Whole lot of expletive words cool.

  • SuperStrapper

    Not great. On that patent crocodile bund? Actually horrible. The watch itself with a less-labeled dial would be alright but that’s not what we have here. Instead we have lightning coitus and eccentric hour markers. Also poor lume.

    • Independent_George

      The ABTW Commentariat is very, very picky. I mean, here is a watch that should check boxes. Wearable size? Check. Clean, symmetrical dial layout? Check. No date window? Check. But there is more hate than love. Yes, it is priced much too high for what is actually offered, but isn’t that true for all the Swiss heritage brands? Is it because it’s a TAG? I think so.

      I don’t like TAGs generally but this is a watch I would wear.

      • SuperStrapper

        I’ve got no lack of love for a date window. In fact, I like when they are even bigger and badder: LONG LIVE THE GRANDE DATE

        • Independent_George

          In general, four things I have learned from watch nerd forum participants:

          Size matters. Less than 42mm

          No date window.

          Sterile dials rule.

          It’s all about brands, brands, brands.

          • Berndt Norten

            Nikki, Mick, Tommy and Vince here: it’s about other things too?

          • SuperStrapper

            Then I’m a watch dork. I like details, and a lot of attention paid to them.

  • “I am disappointed that Fujiwara-san didn’t use this opportunity to add “Heuer” a 3rd time to the product’s name, that’s a chance we’ll never get back.” LMAO

    OK, setting aside the fauxtina lume (one of the biggest embarrassments in modern watchmaking) and the obnoxious straps, this is a nice watch for about 50% of the retail, which is exactly what it will trade for very soon.

    • awildermode

      TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition by HEUERoshi Fujiwara

      • Lingua Franca

        I’ll just call it the FRAG Heuer!

  • Larry Holmack

    It’s a Fragment of what???? A nicer looking watch?

    • Berndt Norten

      I’d just allow a fragment of your comment
      To wander free
      But losing Dan and BILL
      Is like the sun
      Going down
      On
      Me

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I’m totally fragmented and slightly discombobulated about this watch. ….see what I did their? : )

  • cluedog12

    Humping? No. I see an eager partner awaiting missionary intercourse. This is ABTW’s “What Colour Is the Dress?”

    Watch itself is a success! The proportions are all quite good. Chrono seconds hand could be a bit longer, but otherwise you can see the care in the design.

    Strap choice is “meh”, but you could throw this on a traditional strap and have something very nice.

  • shanekleinpeter

    The only way they could have been lazier would have been to team up with Supreme, who would have just taken an off-the-shelf watch and stuck that stupid white and red logo on it (look it up, old farts.) As is, this is still unbelievably lazy. I mean, they took something out of the back catalog and put a Nazi SS logo on it (perverted a bit, but still a Nazi logo) and then put their name on it. I’m supposed to be impressed by that? Heuer would have been better off just pulling the watch from the back catalog and not paying this “designer” and they *still* would have sold all 500 of them at asking.

    • David Ross

      Oh Lord…and it’s black also…can you imagine?

    • David Ross

      Here we go…

    • BNABOD

      I have to say the closeness to the SS emblem is now that I see, problematic… I was happier with the humping logo but way to close to a rather disturbing piece of history

  • Drazen B

    39mm wide and 15mm thick? Disproportionate dimensions for a wristwatch any way you look at it.
    This is the watch I like the look of from the distance, simply for the reason I am not keen at all on those skewed lightning bolts unnecessary gracing the ‘perfect’ vintage-looking dial, and the insignia which also remind me of a part of German history most would like to forget about.

    So, no.

  • David Bredan

    Not being familiar with his work I did do a quick check and his @fujiwarahiroshi account with a selection of re-branded Pikachus, khaki Green rain coats with obnoxious white writing on them, ostentatious ear-cuffs and unintelligible retail posts although didn’t move me in any way (they aren’t for me and that’s fine), they didn’t exactly scream art-walk and architecture crowd at me either.
    I do (loosely) follow fashion trends and this is right in tune with what I see trending lately (all-black is certainly very much the rage with millenials, and the way this was rebranded is also right on with recent years’ big-brand collabs). I remain convinced this was designed to appeal to a younger audience — bearing in mind that said demographic is programmed to like exactly those things that act as though they were intended for a holier-than-thou audience.

    • Independent_George

      I just browsed his instagram and I am going to agree with eharvin. To me, there is definitely an art-walk vibe.

      • David Bredan

        Perhaps my art-walk senses are below par today!

    • eharvin

      Wasn’t implying you hadn’t done your homework David, (keep up the great work btw!) as I said I just think “not quite right” rather than wrong. It’s true that Fragment’s target audience is in their ’20s, but the campaign ads focus on Fujiwara and the people who can identify him are more likely closer to his age (myself included). By coincidence I am working in Tokyo and have been seeing the posters around the Metro, no mention of Fragment except the logo, only just his name. I went by the boutique where they were having the launch yesterday and the clientele definitely looked more like they shop at Vivienne Westwood than at H&M. Either way think it’s a very nice piece in the flesh. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e40356d645fa203b244d48f92f0c334795064c2d817f0b62ed5e75c56b95172f.jpg

  • Gokart Mozart

    Hard to know how much of an improvement this is without seeing the original that it is based on. However going by Google the range from ok to very ugly.

    Based on that this is like the Kravitz Daytona all over again. Making a not so good looking watch better looking in which they have succeeded.

    Less text and a better font for the numerals. I think more discreet and unusual hour indexes. No bezel tachometer and it is not advertised on the dial.

    Box crystal made of sapphire, and better looking and more discreetly coloured hands.

    I don’t know how much the original one costs, so ignoring value for money it’s a big improvement.

    Mission successful.

  • Gokart Mozart

    David as you know a competitor of yours work with other brands and release special editions that they then sell, why don’t you get in on the act.

    Even if it is a piece unique you will put them to shame and will not be able to compete.

    Get Anderson Geneve to do an erotic lightning automaton watch. How cool would that be.

  • Joe

    Other than the thickness and humping, one of the Tag/Heuers that I find appealing.

    I did try to upload the London Olympics 2012 logo for comparison but Disqus let me down (again).
    Anyway…it’s not the worst and it won’t be the last…

    https://theweek.com/articles/486776/zion-lisa-simpson-3-other-things-london-olympics-logo-resembles

    • I must have missed the overall thickness. But the movement is a full 1 mm thinner than a 7750, so that’s good news and should contribute to a thinner case.

  • It’s an awful lot of money, but Fujiwara is something of a god in streetwear circles, and it’s only the most dialed-in Carrera I’ve seen this generation. I’m under no illusion that it won’t be extremely successful. Fingers crossed we get a version for the plebes in the coming year.

    • David Bredan

      Yeah, and have you watched the embedded video? The watch is lit! (I hope that’s still a trendy term, lol)! I wouldn’t hold my breath for another, cheaper version.

  • Greg Dutton

    Do you want one lightning bolt or two? They’re an additional $2000 each.

    Also, the fauxtina fad can’t die soon enough.

  • ILOW

    David, may I ask how old you are? You write as though you’re a proud grandpa, but look 27.

    Watch is nice. But just a token for hypebeasts.

    • David Bredan

      I’m 29. I know at times I sounded like I’m a grumpy grandpa, but that really wasn’t the point of the article; just added for fun 🙂

  • David Bredan

    Can you point me to three specific, reputable sources that say his audience is at the their 20s and on?

  • otaking241

    For anyone who’s been living under a rock for the past 5 years, adding a streetwear logo has become a surefire way to grab press and add big collectability cachet to your product. Asian consumers in particular have an insatiable appetite for these things, many of whom would otherwise consider a brand like TAG far too plebeian. I would surmise that these are the consumers being targeted, as opposed to “teh youngs” (other than those shopping with their parents’ money).

  • Love the movement – totally a modern chronograph done right (except maybe for not having a 60 minute accumulator). The rest of the watch is fairly unobjectionable. I could do without the humping lightening bolts, Fragment name/logo and faux patina touches along with the box crystal. But overall, a decent looking watch with great tech within. Too bad it’s not thinner and cheaper. And lose the bund strap.

  • Nello Alexandri

    I am glad to see you held back on your true feelings David. Haha. I tend to agree with your sentiments on this one.
    Maybe Bremont will partner with Supreme.
    They can emblazon the dial with “Pretentious” in bright red.
    This cool streetwear thing is lame. It will pass.

  • Jeff C

    Hey David, good article. I’ve read quite a few of your pieces here and this review hasthe most personality I’ve seen from you yet. And a healthy dose of sarcasm as well. I always appreciate writers taking a risk instead of playing it safe and sticking to reportable facts.

  • Mountainous Man

    Remove the silly Fragment branding and about $4k, and you’re left with one of the most appealing TAG Heuers in decades. Too bad.

  • Independent_George

    Yes, but I read folks on this blog and WUS complaining about branding on the dial, unless it’s Rolex or Omega. There is an entire thread on WUS arguing that Orients would sell better for the got rid of the logo. When someone asked if they should get rid of the “Orient” brand name as well, someone wrote “Yes. It’s racist.” That post got five likes.

    I spend too much time on Watch forums.

  • dr3

    What a utter load of absolute nonsense. Tag isn’t reaching out to ‘a younger audience’ here; it’s taking them for complete morons.

  • Joel Schumann

    Oh bloody … I find these endless collaborations are mostly trite and desperate, and in this case particular I have zero invested in Tag Heuer or street wear or whatever this is supposed to reference. But I like the watch. I like the downplayed vintage vibes and the semiotics of lightning logo for its ambiguity – more so when I see how my fellow commenters find in controversial. Would not buy it though, unless it was massively discounted.

  • Pete L

    Not for me as i’m about as far from being a hipster Japanese teen as you can be, but actually this is pretty subtle. Aside from those tiny brand details (which are only there for those in the know I guess) a cool (showing my age!) classic looking chronograph.

  • Travis Cannata

    As a fan of Fujiwara… well, and the streetwear scene in general I find this a pretty attractive offering. I don’t know if I would select it over something else in most instances, and I doubt this is going to be anyone’s first watch anyway, but it’s not out of character for Fujiwara even if it is for TAG.

    Concerning LVMH and their recent and controversial Bamford collaborations, this is a step towards the RIGHT way to partnership with a “fringe” (for the non-Asia market anyway) designer in a less recognized space. I’m impressed with the overall restraint (oddly placed FRAGMENT logo excluded), but in a world where streetwear is dominated by what the next nonsense SUPREME puts out, I have no doubts this will be successful in the rich-kid Steeetwear circle and the watchfam’s penchant for a different style Carrera.

    Even at $8,000 you’re getting a solid timepiece for what some SUPREME wallets and belts are going for… so I don’t foresee this having a hard time finding buyers.

  • Ulysses31

    I must not be that much of a watch snob, because I love it. Vintage good looks with a modern spin, and nothing too egregious except for that unnecessary logo on the case-back. Paired with a decent bracelet, it would look amazing. Hey, it’s either this or the “make everything look like a brake disc” school of Biver design. I’d much rather see updated classics than anything tainted by him.

  • Albert Kotze

    It is a great looking watch, bar the stupid bolts and the fragment. A great designer copied one of the best looking watches of all time. The big disappointment for me is that the movement is automatic.