Fordite – sometimes referred to as Detroit Agate – is not, at face value, the sexiest of raw materials: the word refers to collected overspray that accumulates in the paint bays of car factories over the years. But these ostensibly unimpressive lumps of matter contain wonderful secrets: when cut or sanded into, random but invariably spectacular geological patterns, formed not thousands of layers of car paint emerge. It’s a wonderful interplay between the natural and the man-made.
The Fordite material used in this collaboration – a 10-piece TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 limited edition collection, which has undergone the Midas touch of JCB empire heir and the undisputed king of luxury watch customisation George Bamford – built up in the Ford factories in Michigan from the 1970s to the 1990s.
“What I really find fascinating about working with the Fordite material is that it’s very close to actually being able to create 4D art,” says Black Badger’s James Thompson. “As well as the normal 3D aspects, you’re actually incorporating time as an additional element. You’re quite literally moving through layers of time, of human endeavour. Each layer you uncover represents someone painting a car, and then that car went out somewhere into the world. It’s a very fun concept to have kicking around in the back of your head.”
George Bamford, Bamford Watch Department founder, adds: “Thank you to Instagram for helping me to discover the wonderful world of @blackbadger. A fantastic guy, I am so happy and proud we are working together on our first project, of hopefully many. I love how each watch is a unique piece that can never be replicated. The decisive moment of these dials is truly unique and captures what inspired me to create Bamford Watch Department.”