Less Does Not Equal More

Meet the man behind the relaunch of TAG Heuer’s most storied line.

Photos by Atom Moore

Blame it on IKEA. Blame it on Marie Kondo. Blame it on the resurgence of midcentury modern design. Today we live in a world in which sleek minimalism can sometimes feel like the only acceptable aesthetic.

Guy Bove disagrees. As the new product director at TAG Heuer, Bove brings a robust sense of design that fits in well with the storied Swiss brand’s commitment to rugged adventure.

“To those who say, ‘less is more,’ my feeling is that too little is not always enough.” 


For the movement, TAG Heuer has developed the Isograph, a state-of-the-art oscillator featuring a carbon composite hairspring and custom balance wheel for ultimate chronometer precision with a power reserve of 38 hours.

Soft-spoken with wavy brown hair and a Balbo beard, Bove cuts a debonaire, yet unfussy, figure. He’s young, sharp, and — as anyone who has seen him affably roaming the halls at Baselworld in one of his wide lapel wool suits — very stylish. And while, much like his personal wardrobe, you could never categorize his design philosophy as maximalist, Bove likes to bring together disparate elements and moods when creating a luxury timepiece. Call it understated eclecticism. 

“I look for a balance between readability, being fit for purpose, and an amount of detail or quality of detail that, even if it is not obvious to most people, creates the right feeling — typography, proportions, three-dimensional detailing, finishes,” Bove tells us from his office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a small city nestled in the folds of the Jura mountains on the French border. “I think a well-designed product should combine a feeling for quality with a sense of being in the now but also being able to survive the test of time — it should look effortless.”

A glittering combination of AUTomobile and AVIAtion, the Autavia looks to the future of TAG Heuer while keeping the craftsmanship and spirit of the past.

Whether he’s skiing in the Alps, or hiking in search of the perfect photograph for his visual art side hustle, Bove — who says he would have been just as happy being an architect or a writer — is always open to inspiration. He sees it everywhere, even in the periphery of his life: the colors in shop windows, the contours of passing cars. Perhaps it’s this unconventional approach to watch design that has put him in such high demand. 

After recent posts at Chopard and Breitling, where he led the iconic brand’s reboot, Bove was poached by TAG in late 2018. Consider that a major coup, especially since TAG had ambitions to relaunch its famous Autavia line. Like so many of its watches, the Autavia is known for a connection to motorsports. The original, introduced in 1933, was a double chronograph designed for dashboards. After becoming a wristwatch in 1962, it was adopted by some of the world’s fastest Formula 1 drivers. In short, it became synonymous with racing paddocks and the thick, wafting fumes of petrol. 

When tasked with a redesign, however, Bove was more interested in the Autavia’s lesser-known connection to aviation, which the Swiss native closely links to the spirit of grand adventure that became so pivotal to this project. The Autavia’s original double chronograph was also built for airplane cockpits, after all, and it was used by both the Kenyan and Argentinean Air Forces.  

The brushed and polished 42mm steel case is water resistant to 100 meters. For a life of adventure, an array of dial options, provide various possibilities for look and style.

“In the new Autavia collection, the goal was to introduce a new facet to the TAG Heuer range, one which brings the wearer back to a time of great adventures,” Bove says with the enthusiasm of a boy whose imagination can still be stoked by fighter planes.     

This timeless ode to adventure permeates the new collection. Devoted TAG Heuer heads will be relieved to also find specific, albeit updated, details harking back to every era of the Autavia. There’s the pusher, crown, and numeral dials inspired by the 1933 original. The case and bezel are borrowed from the 1962 iteration, and the inner flange indexes are straight from the 1970s. Add 3D luminescent blocks for the numerals, not to mention a vintage-inspired band that’s easily interchangeable — making this rugged watch as versatile as it is rakish — and you’ve got a thoroughly modern timepiece. 

Yet, it’s the namesake Isograph that truly powers the revamped Autavia. First introduced in TAG’s Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph, it’s a carbon-composite hairspring that’s virtually resistant to shocks, temperature disruptions, and even magnetic fields. The state of the art invention, the oscillatory regulator, is the combination of a hairspring with a balance wheel that becomes the groundbreaking heart of the watch. Made in-house out of this innovative patented material, the combination of carbon nanotubes and amorphous carbon allows for freedom of shape and exceptional chronometer precision. 

Traditionally, only metal or silicon-based hairspring are used, making the Isograph both groundbreaking and COSC certified.

This new collection is spread out over seven models. Bove, however, isn’t shy when choosing a favorite. “I really like the aged bronze and green combination with the dark brown strap,” he says, sounding more like an unabashed collector rather than the creative brain behind the relaunch. “They blur the lines between today and yesterday and really stand out with anything you are wearing — or that I would wear at least.”

With its smoked dial and utilitarian vibe, it’s an unsurprising choice for Bove, who admits he’s a big fan of WWII era mil-spec watches. 

And that’s indeed the point of this revamped line: For all its style and deft mix of history and modernity, the Autavia — much like a worn chambray shirt or a beat-up Defender — evokes a personal history of adventure, of a life well-led. 

Hit List: Chopard Mille Miglia Racing Colors

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of its partnership with the Mille Miglia, Italy’s famed open-road endurance race, Chopard has introduced a collection of five Mille Miglia Racing Colours watches inspired by cars that competed in the historic race between 1927 and 1940. Each 42 mm chronograph bears a different dial color, a nod to the race’s leading nationalities (Italian, British, German, Belgian and French).

Chopard Mille Miglia Racing Colors – The fiery Rosso Corso red.

$6,080, each sold separately; chopard.com

Hit List: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S

Proud of its newly minted partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse—the Italian automaker’s motorsports division, responsible for competitions such as the Super Trofeo—Roger Dubuis is touting a new 45 mm Excalibur Aventador S edition in blue that boasts a degree of complexity familiar to fans of supercars. Powered by the Geneva watchmaker’s Duotor (double balance wheels) concept, the model features a completely revamped 312-part RD103SQ movement sheathed in a skeletonized Excalibur Spider case.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S

$194,500; rogerdubuis.com

Hit List: TAG Heuer Formula 1 Gulf Special Edition

Nostalgia for the golden age of motorsport is alive and well at TAG Heuer, which is revisiting Gulf Oil’s victory in the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Formula 1 Gulf Special Edition. Encased in steel, the 43 mm quartz chronograph features a notched steel bezel and an aluminum ring with a tachymeter scale. The blue-and-orange color scheme on the dial as well as a caseback engraved with the Gulf logo are subtly elegant reminders of the model’s historic origins.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Gulf Special Edition

$1,600; tagheuer.com

High Roller

 

Exploring three continents in Rolls-Royce’s first off-roader.

By Max Prince

Photographs by Cory Richards

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is not an SUV.

It seats five adults and has an expansive tailgate. It rides on air suspension, towering more than six feet tall, and weighing more than three tons. It has a torque-y twin-turbo engine and full-time four-wheel drive, with a dedicated low gear for off-road use. On paper, it is an archetypal sport utility vehicle.

But no.

According to Rolls-Royce, the Cullinan, which represents the British automaker’s first foray outside the traditional coupe, sedan, and convertible body styles, is “a high-sided, all-terrain motor car.” Acronyms, apparently, are tacky. Crass. Maybe even vulgar. And a Rolls-Royce is nothing if not entirely devoid of vulgarity.

Consider the automotive landscape in 1906, when the company entered the market. Motoring was an event unto itself; drivers could expect frequent mechanical failure, tools and lubricants, ruined clothing, and long walks searching for fuel or assistance. Rolls-Royce positioned itself as the ultimate in personal luxury: all the opulence of autonomy and speed without the inconvenience and ignominy of a breakdown. Early marketing efforts were famously theatrical, with salespeople chucking their tool kits, locking their hoods shut, and driving hundreds of miles through mountains and deserts. Royals and socialites swooned. The brand became an institution.

In a neat historical symmetry, the Cullinan’s final testing phase involved a theatrical endurance trial. Wearing camouflage livery, the all-new Rolls-Royce traversed the Scottish highlands, smashed over Mideast sand dunes, ascended the 14,000-foot Pikes Peak in Colorado, then ripped off top speed runs across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. Cory Richards, the award-winning photojournalist and mountain climber, was along for the ride. He captured some exclusive behind-the-scenes images for Watch Journal, which appear on the following pages, along with his notes from the journey.

The visual grandeur of Richards’s work fits the Rolls-Royce’s personality. After all, the name Cullinan comes from the world’s largest rough diamond, discovered in 1905, and later cut into nine stones. Two of them were set into the Queen’s crown. Her Majesty does not dress provocatively, express political views, nor speak in clipped, crude abbreviations.

S-U-V? Please.

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

“Every time I step out the door, I don’t really know what to expect. That uncertainty is the soul of adventure. Being isolated is always unnerving. But it’s always underscored by a sense of curiosity. I’ve been all over the world, and I’ve never seen a landscape that is at once so similar and so complex.… God, it’s stunning.”

– Cory Richards

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

“A place is more than its people, its cultures, its languages, or its landscapes. They’re simply components of the texture. Finding the moment that celebrates all of these things simultaneously—that’s the alchemy of photography. Finding a moment that says everything without having to say anything at all. Like the quiet stranger, walking through the desert, alone.”

-C.R.

AMERICAN WEST

“Finality is always bittersweet. Oftentimes journeys seem to end abruptly, like crossing a finish line that you know is there, but that you couldn’t see until it was behind you. I’d imagine it’s kind of like going 300 miles per hour [on the Salt Flats.] It happens before you can make sense of it, only to be trapped trying to remember the experience long after the world has slowed. What was lived can only be revisited in images along the way. Postcards from the past, that we use to make sense of how it’s changed us, as we look to the future.”

-C.R.

1 2 3