Today, TAG Heuer announces a new partnership with one of the most influential personalities in the world of streetwear: Japanese designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, the face behind the brand Fragment. While some might find a certain interest in this venture, this is clearly not what gets us excited here at MONOCHROME. However, there is something very special about this new creation… It looks just stunning. Meet the TAG Heuer Carrera Fragment, a reasonably-sized, retro-inspired, back-to-basics Carrera powered by the in-house calibre Heuer 02 – and that is just plain cool.
Today in Tokyo, the internationally renowned Japanese streetwear designer, influencer, musician and founder of Fragment, Hiroshi Fujiwara, announced his project with TAG Heuer. Of course, as you’ve probably guessed already, this new alliance led to the creation of a watch – and Fujiwara has designed a brand-new outfit for the Carrera, namely the TAG Heuer Carrera Fragment. Well, as we said in the introduction, this news isn’t per se what gave us thrills. This could have been just another partnership between two brands. But (and that’s a big but), the result of this collaboration is one stunning watch. Really!
While streetwear brand x watch brand partnerships often result in overly branded pieces, this isn’t the case for the new TAG Heuer Carrera Fragment. The choices made by Hiroshi Fujiwara are surprisingly those of a true watch lover. This new Carrera is simple, focused on the essential and goes back to the roots of the model with a retro-inspired, no-nonsense design. And to the exception of a small “Fragment” inscription on the dial, a discreet logo at 12 o’clock and a transferred logo on the caseback, it doesn’t blast the partnership to the four corners of the world.
What the TAG Heuer Carrera Fragment is, however, is just a plain cool-looking model, which seems to be the logical heir of a 1960s version. Style, proportions, layout, scales… Everything is historically relevant and once again, this sounds like a surprise coming from a streetwear designer.
The case of the Carrera Fragment is “only” 39mm in diameter and has the typical look of the vintage versions: sculpted lugs with internal facets, straight casebands, flat and polished fixed bezels without scales, simple mushroom chronograph pushers and an unprotected crown. The case is entirely polished steel and, besides a rather thick profile (modern automatic movement obliges), it remains true to the original design inaugurated in 1963 by Heuer.
The same goes for the dial. No openworked mainplates or colourful layout here. The dial is an ode to the past, with a simple full-black opaline dial, matching sub-counters, polished baton hands and white inscriptions. Just like those found on past and classic Carrera models, the tachymeter scale is printed on the periphery and the seconds track has been moved to a silvery-white inner-flange. The Heuer-only logo and the Carrera name above it are complemented by a discreet signature Fragment logo – which is also fully written at 4h30, again in a rather discreet way. Altogether, a low-key, functional and back-to-basics dial that feels (and is) entirely faithful to the original Carrera concept. Well done Fujiwara!
Another novelty here is to find the Calibre Heuer 02 (the base movement found in the Carrera GMT, the Carrera Senna and in the Autavia) in a classically-styled Carrera. Previously, those vintage-inspired editions were often powered by an ETA/Dubois-Depraz movement – for instance, this one. Here, the TAG Heuer Carrera Fragment features TAG’s own automatic chronograph movement, with column-wheel and vertical clutch architecture. The movement is visible through the caseback. Another point of interest with this movement is its 3-6-9 layout, more balanced and more faithful when it comes to retro watches.
Finally, Hiroshi Fujiwara wanted to give the watch a bolder style and decided to fit it on a “manchette” strap – a cuff-like strap, popularized by Paul Newman. It is made of black alligator leather and adds a great presence and unique look to this TAG Heuer Carrera Fragment. An additional black and grey NATO strap will also be delivered with the watch.
To conclude, this TAG Heuer x Hiroshi Fujiwara Carrera Fragment is a surprisingly “geeky” piece. While we could have expected a streetwear designer to create a fashion-oriented piece, this watch is a cool, no-nonsense, faithful piece that simply looks great. Certainly, you’ll have to live with a few “Fragment” logos but they remain discreet enough not to ruin our pleasure seeing such a nice Carrera watch.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Fragment will be a limited edition of 500 pieces, available exclusively in TAG Heuer boutiques and online at www.tagheuer.com. It will be priced at CHF 7,900.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.