TAG Heuer partners for the first time with Team Ikuzawa. «The Choice of Racing Enthusiasts» a name that is synonymous with motorsport and represents today a cultural force. The collaboration is embodied within a watch that brings together the unmatched expertise of TAG Heuer and the extraordinaire customizer George Bamford, as well as the bold and artistic vision of Mai Ikuzawa, who carries on the proud Ikuzawa legacy.

The legacy of Tetsu Ikuzawa, a racing driver with an illustrious career defined by pivotal victories through his life and later a famed team owner, forms the cornerstone of this collaboration. Born the son of an artist, Tetsu entered his first motorcycle race at 15 and while he finished last, he was given the «Fighting Spirit Award» for his perseverance, a fitting way for him to commence his career.

In 1963 he would switch from two wheels to four wheels, entering the first Japanese Grand Prix for sports cars at Suzuka having signed with Prince Motor Company to race the Skyline Sport Coupe, and in 1964 he was competing again with the team in a race that would launch the Skyline GT racing legend into the dynasty it is today.

In 1967, Tetsu having no longer a car to race in, he stopped his contract with Nissan and leased a Porsche 906 from the Japanese importer. Tetsu defied the odds and beat the domestic entries to win the race, instantly making Porsche a household name in Japan and beginning a lifelong relationship between Ikuzawa and the marque.

In the late 1960s, Tetsu competed in Europe, drawn by its motor racing prominence. Despite a limited knowledge of English, he raced in the British Formula Three Championship in 1966. In 1967 Stirling Moss introduced Tetsu to Brands Hatch based Motor Racing Stables, and by 1968, he competed for Frank Williams. He then joined Porsche as a works driver, becoming a pioneering Japanese racer at Le Mans and in Formula 2. Tetsu later founded i&i Racing Development, now known as Team Ikuzawa. The team’s iconic red and white livery, featuring a red-crowned crane reflects the family’s artist inclination.

Now, stepping gracefully into the spotlight, Mai seamlessly weaves her heritage and passion for the automotive industry with the sensibilities of fashion and culture acquired during studies at the renown Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design and two decades as a Creative Director across a plethora of disciplines.
She has emerged as a prominent figure in the vibrant Japanese design culture and artistic scene, working closely with influential designers and tastemakers, most famously the legend Hiroshi Fujiwara who has also collaborated with TAG Heuer in the past. At the same time, she is one of the world’s most influential automotive ambassadors and her mission is to inject a creative edge and a fresh perspective into special projects she has executed in the car space. Mai embodies the perfect harmony of her father’s racing provenance, her distinctive sense of style, and her Japanese cultural background. It is this symphony that blends together and brings Mai as the ideal partner for TAG Heuer in the creation of a new timepiece – one that honors her father’s racing legacy while infusing it with her own unique style and cultural influences.

Completing the puzzle with finesse is George Bamford, a revered customizer and design connoisseur renowned for his impeccable skill in harmonizing aesthetics and functionality. George’s profound admiration for TAG Heuer, coupled with his deep-rooted familial love of cars, seamlessly aligns him as the ideal partner for this extraordinary collaboration, and a chance for him to collaborate with Mai, a long-time friend of Bamford.

Together, these visionary forces unite, fusing TAG Heuer’s unparalleled expertise, George Bamford’s boundless creativity, and Mai Ikuzawa’s artistic vision. The outcome is an unparalleled combination of horology, elegance, and racing resonance that will be recognized by those who know.

The centerpiece of this collaboration is an outstandingly crafted watch in red and white – honouring Team Ikuzawa and its culture. The dial features a white opaline finish with a striking red 60-second/minute scale, complemented by two white and red contrasting chronograph counters at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. Rhodium-plated, polished indexes and hands, adorned with white Super-LumiNova® and red lacquer, exude a sporty yet sophisticated essence.

The «Team Ikuzawa Choice of Racing Enthusiasts» and «SWISS MADE» insignia proudly grace the dial, showcasing the exclusivity and Swiss craftsmanship of this limited-edition Japanese racing masterpiece. Encased within a finely brushed and polished 42mm steel case, the watch exudes elegance and durability, powered by the in-house Heuer 02 movement. The beveled, domed sapphire crystal with double anti- reflective treatment ensures optimal legibility and protection. With a water resistance of up to 100 meters, this timepiece is ready to accompany racing enthusiasts on any adventure.

Completing the ensemble is a steel three-row bracelet with a folding clasp, adorned with the iconic TAG Heuer shield. For added versatility, the watch comes with an additional white fabric strap, featuring the distinctive «Team Ikuzawa» marking and a velcro closure. Each timepiece bears a special steel screw-down sapphire case back, proudly displaying the «XXX/100», «Team Ikuzawa» logo, and «BAMFORD WATCH DEPT.» imprint.

Limited to just 100 pieces, this exclusive collaboration holds immense significance. The numbers one and 100 have been reserved for Tetsu and Mai Ikuzawa, respectively. This unique timepiece is presented in specially designed, co-branded TAG Heuer x Team Ikuzawa packaging adorned with vivid white and red colours. As an homage to Tetsu’s racing prowess in Japan, the box also includes a Porsche miniature, encapsulating the spirit of his remarkable achievements with the Porsche 906 at the 1967 Japanese Grand Prix.

Embodying the perfect blend of heritage, style, and craftsmanship, this exceptional collaboration stands as a testament to the unifying power of passion, innovation, and relationships. With the release of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph X Team Ikuzawa by Bamford, TAG Heuer celebrates the fusion of racing, culture, and Swiss watchmaking excellence, creating a truly distinctive and timeless masterpiece.

Available for CHF 6’250.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Tag Heuer
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