Reservoir, Tag Heuer Bamford
Watch companies love a bit of fanfare. Before you actually get to see a new watch, they like to indulge in a bit of pre-launch fluffing. You are encouraged to believe that the watch you are going to see is so ground-breaking that you will always remember the day when you were lucky enough to see it and touch it for the first time. Then when the curtain is pulled back, what often strikes you is a feeling of familiarity. This is not anybody’s fault, because if you are riffing on various design themes based around the classic clockface, you are going to end up covering some of the same ground. In some cases, exactly the same ground. If you are the French company Reservoir, the way to avoid this design clash is to look not to other watches for inspiration, but to dashboards. It has a range of watches based around the theme of instruments from cars, planes and submarines. The Supercharged watches have a minute hand that moves from zero to sixty in an hour then snaps back to zero, as the central hour-indication jumps forward. The Reservoir Supercharged Sport is powered by a Swiss automatic movement with retrograde minute hand, jumping hours, and fuel-gauge style power reserve indicator. It has a 43mm stainless-steel case and is water resistant to 50 metres. The Reservoir Supercharged Sport Red Zone has the same features, but the minute track has a red “danger” zone and five-minute markings.
TAG HEUER BAMFORD
The watch business does take itself terribly seriously. You could put this down to the overwhelming Swissness of the industry, but interestingly nobody does a dry, technical, reference number-heavy watch presentation quite like the super-cool Italian firm Panerai. But whatever the reason, everyone always seems to be on their best behaviour. Somebody who has refused to play by the rules from the beginning is the British entrepreneur George Bamford, who made his name doing top-quality customisations of luxury watches from the likes of Rolex and Audemars Piguet. His signature style is blacked-out cases, which look great, but some people do not think that anybody should be messing around with these watches. The customers disagreed, and Bamford operated for years as an industry bad boy, making watches people wanted as the industry as a whole looked away. But Jean-Claude Biver, the LVMH watch supremo, saw that the industry was making a mistake, and Bamford now does official collaborations with TAG Heuer, Zenith and Bulgari. The TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford is a modern take on the Heuer Monaco worn by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans. The Bamford Monaco has an automatic chronograph movement in a 39mm carbon case, black opalin dial, with black alligator leather or rubber strap.
£6600, www.tagheuer.com bamfordwatchdepartment.com