George Bamford, founder of Bamford Watch Department, tells Simon Aldridge about his Heuer collection, Bamford Aqua Blue and working wih Jean-Claude Biver.
Mayfair, October 12th. Bamford Watch Department’s HQ attracts rap stars, graffiti artists and anyone else looking for something unique to wear on their wrists. Something of an underground movement, their work has never been official – operating in the shadows of the luxury watch world. Today though, that has all changed with the announcement that they have become the authorized customization partner of TAG Heuer and LVMH. It’s something of a victory for lovers of mechanical things and fettling them to make them suit the individual – in other words Movecto readers…and of course for George Bamford, founder of the company (as well as a serious classic car collector). After the press launch, Simon Aldridge sat down with George Bamford – founder of Bamford Watch Department – to talk about their latest official partnership with LVMH, working with Jean-Claude Biver, and his love of TAG Heuer.
What does TAG Heuer mean to you?
They’re fricking cool. I collect Heuer pocket watches and weird Heuer chronographs. I mean, those two helmets – when I was kid, those used to be sitting on one of my shelves at home.
Oddities and weird and wonderful things.
You have a vision that takes inspiration from the vintage car and watch world and combines it with contemporary art to make something new and relevant to modern fashion.
Well, Heuer I think is that major thing.
The light blue George?
Bamford Aqua Blue.
Is that coming off of the Colonel Ronnie Hoare Cambridge Blue on the nose of his Ferraris?
Do you know…No…but that’s a really good bullshit that I could use. I loved how the black with this aqua blue works, because it’s almost white. And for me, I wanted colours that work. So that was my whole thing.
What about on the Concorde here?
I love this. Well, this basically is a bit of fun. I had two of these models, I had one that was properly BA and I had this one, and this one was missing its tail. So it was a little bit damaged so I took it to this model maker and I said, can you fix it and spray it black and put some stickers on in the Bamford Aqua Blue. It turned up like this and I was like…it’s cool.
It’s about what reacts with black in the best way. What was the best colour combination. Look at these pencils up here. I love that Aqua Blue pop. Even on my grooming bath and body products, with that big Aqua Blue ‘1’ that pops. It was all about the colour. I love how Bamford Aqua Blue looks like a shade between white and a blue. And I love powdery blue, but, it was just too powder, so for me I had to really say – this is my blue – and I just love it. And it works well on these watches.
How does the partnership with TAG Heuer work? Where does one buy these watches?
Us…and our dealers. And the partnership works where they supply the watches to us, and they do a service contract and everything else like that…so they look after the watch. So it has that winner side to it. We’ve got an amazing relationship with a really amazing brand. It’s cool. We’ve got amazing Zenith, and now TAG Heuer, and Bulgari – it’s really cool.
My Heuer pocket watch collection is here – do you want to see it?
I’d love to!
Come on – I’ll show you.
These are my wall clocks. I collect random random things. We’ll go up…
My pocket watches! Predominantly Heuer, there is one or two Omega. Watchmakers, testing. Nuts isn’t it? This is all perspex – the black and the clear. I just located about four more, and I bought a few recently and I’m like – they’re going to go up as well. They are like a hundred quid on ebay – and I just frickin’ love them.
It’s really cool to see something like this (pointing to a 1980s handheld timer) next to a vintage mechanical stopwatch.
So, you understand, Heuer are sending me the original adverts for these, they are going to go on this wall. I think that we will have five or six of these adverts, and then more stopwatches. It’s all really crazy because I love it, and when I was doing these I was asking myself, why would you do that?
Was it hard to find these in good condition – the fabric lanyards look so clean and perfect.
No. I just found them like this. I mean that Breitling one I bought about four or five years ago. That Heuer Yachtmaster that’s the weird pink and cream one.
My business partner gave that to me a few years ago and he said – you are the only nutter that would like this sh** – and I said no no no I love it. Then if you look to the left of that there’s this sports timer, and I love those. And I should have loads of rally timers but I don’t because – like the rally timer side I really like – but I was just like – yeh, I’ve seen it on so many cars. There are only two or three rally timers here, everything else is to do with other sports, and I kind of like that.
Because the rally timer thing, that’s predictable?
The perspex boxes are a really cool way of displaying these.
I think so. So I’m doing a whole range of accessories now that are going to be in those perspex boxes. So allen keys (for bicycles), domino set, playing cards, screwdriver, loads of different things. It’s called don’t get bored, and I’m not getting bored. What the hell.
So, do you come up with these ideas sitting at a desk?
Well, I partly sit at my desk but my design team are right there over to the left of me.
So Jean-Claude Biver couldn’t be here at the launch in person, but he sent this video. It’s three minutes and I literally don’t think that my head can get any bigger!
Jean-Claude Biver – I’m really sorry that I cannot assist in this incredible launch. I would have loved to assist, but I had to go to the Doctor, and I’m okay. I’m very much okay. And why would I have preferred to go to London. Number one, because I love George, I have admiration and respect of what he is doing. And he is a gentleman, and a great man. So, those reasons are making me so happy that we are now partners. I love to be partners with great people. Only by having partners who are great people, can you lift yourself. I always say, if you employ people, employ better people than you are yourself, because they can help. So, George is one of these great guys I am surrounded by. Bravo George for your passion, Bravo George for your creativity. Bravo for your innovation spirit. Bravo for your entrepreneurship. I could go on making compliments. But really from the depth of my heart, I say, thank you to you. I am very pleased that you do this event today, because I know it will have a great future. And we are really looking forward to it. We need you. The Brand needs you. Our customers need you George. Your customers need you too. It is the first time that we make such a partnership, and we are so pleased that we are opening a new way of collaboration. It’s a new horizon, and as my friend Swizz Beatz says – the sky is not the limit, it is just a vision.