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The Blackbadger Coffee dial TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5. At least its something new to talk about...

Updated: May 25, 2020

Bamford watch department is one that separates the nerds. Most ordinary watch enthusiasts probably have no idea what I am talking about. Bamford Watch Department is a company started by the son of the JCB family who combined his love of watches with seriously industrial design. This concept appealed to the elite who decided that their Patek Nautilus wasn't exclusive enough. Bamford offered a service that would turn your "run of the mill nautilus" into a Batman-Esque blacked out custom version. However, nowadays Bamford is a fully respected watch company in itself. They have done more than the average aftermarket customizers and have now built a reputation as a legitimate watchmaker, even the likes of Hodinkee and The Manifesto Online are taking interest...…. Even if they are only making Quart watches. All jokes aside, the last few years have seen them do legitimate collaborations with the likes of Tag Heuer, Zenith, and Bulgari. Jean Claude Biver ever keen to entice the young and rich...

(Source: Bamford Watch Company)

Tongue-in-cheek banter aside I have greatly enjoyed the pieces they have made in the last few years. The Monaco edition with the PVD case and neon blue indices was an exceptionally cool edition of the truly iconic watch. For too long the watch enthusiast has been too interested in the almost stifling standards of watch collecting. Bamford offers something new and sexy for the individual who wants something unique and differentiated from the standard nerd rocking a Steven McQueen Monaco at the Aperol Bar in Monaco...

So a continuation of the Jean Claude Biver-Bamford collaboration gives us the new Badgerworks TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 featuring a deep coffee dial. This dial is achieved by grounding down coffee beans from Cafe da Matteo, a highly regarded coffee shop in Götenberg, Sweden. Now, at The Young Horologist you expect honest and frank opinions on watch news so here it is.

Tag Heuer had previously done a collaboration with Badger Works which has provoked a second project. As I've mentioned this contraption is the product of taking the Heritage Carrera Calibre 5, a watch of which I am very fond, and fitting it with this dial designed by Cafe da Matteo. Now there is no doubt that the team at Heuer, Bamford, and Café Da Matteo, came up with a dial design that is extremely eye catching and innovative in its utilization of a new material that has never been seen before. For that, the project team should be congratulated.

However, firstly does it actually look good? Priced at £5,500, at first glance the ground coffee dial looks a bit like an old cork. Bamford have said that the inspiration for the dial is the patina dials of vintage watches that so many collectors seek. I do appreciate how the dial displays a range of brown tones but I still cant shake the cork resemblance. As a result, this watch makes me think of these horrendous quartz watches made of wood and cork that keep popping up in the adverts on my Instagram feed...

(Source: Cork)

(Source: Bamford)

Secondly, is this a necessary piece? The watch industry is in a position of uncertainty that arguably amounts to that of the quartz crisis. A brand that has almost monopolized the 1-2k first-time watch buyer market and the "bang for buck" in house movement market, needs not to waste time on fruitless yet exceptionally expensive collaborations. I am all for the further advancement of materials used in watchmaking but why produce a watch, with an exceptionally good foundation, with an obscure coffee dial?

As I said, I heavily support Bamford collaborating with the mainstream brands to produce unique and innovative adaptations of classic watches, but I feel this piece has come at a time of limited interest and excitement. Therefore, maybe its a good job it's a limited run...

Calum Moore

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