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A preppy fashion designer, a vintage watch dealer, a British watch customizer, and a historic watchmaker walk into a design studio…
That is not, in fact, the beginning to an extremely specific barroom joke told only amongst watch collectors. Instead, it’s how one of the year’s coolest, most colorful timepieces came about: the Rowing Blazers x Bamford Tag Heuer Carrera.
The watch is a playful take on Tag Heuer’s Carrera chronograph, a mainstay of the brand’s collection since its debut 60 years ago in 1963. Designed by Jack Heuer, great-grandson of company founder Edouard Heuer, the Carrera is a pure racing watch, designed to be legible, reliable, and true. The modern version is a larger affair—measuring 42mm across rather than the original 36mm—which recently underwent a thoughtful redesign that largely retains the OG model’s clarity and charm.
This latest spin on the model was inspired by a vintage Heuer Yacht-Timer stopwatch owned by the renowned watch dealer Eric Wind. These Yacht-Timers, popular in the 1960s and 1970s, featured colorful dials that were used to time the countdown to a regatta start. The first time Wind showed the watch to his friend Jack Carlson, founder of the preppy clothing line Rowing Blazers, he flipped for it—and knew right away they had the basis for the duo’s next big watch collaboration.
“I have collected [sport-specific Heuer stopwatches] over the years,” Carlson told GQ. “The rowing ones are special to me, of course, because Heuer’s was one of the first rowing-specific stopwatches to be manufactured at any kind of scale. I love the old Yacht-Timers most of all, because unlike most other stopwatches, they were designed to be worn on the wrist. They are absolutely gigantic, but they always start a conversation. The best part of the conversation is revealing to the other person that it doesn’t even tell the time, but that it simply counts down five minutes. Those Yacht-Timers, specifically, are the inspiration for this Carrera.”