The Legacy of Carhartt's A18 Beanie: A History of Durability and Style

30 and looking better than ever: The a18

By Dave J. Moore, Brand Archivist and Historian

Posted in 2017

Every once in a while, a product comes along that is destined to become timeless. For Carhartt, the A18 Watch Cap definitely fits that description. It was introduced 30 years ago, and today it can be found on job sites and college campuses, in football stadiums and concert venues, and just about everywhere in between. It’s been built in nearly every color under the sun, with more than a few custom logos embroidered on it. Simple yet cool, stylish yet durable, it’s no surprise that the A18 has made its way into every walk of life.

Proof for knit cap and socks promotion, 1987

1987 was the first year that the classic Carhartt “Knit Watch Cap,” today’s A18, was available to customers. It was fitting that roughly 100 years after Hamilton Carhartt created a legend with his overalls, a new icon was poised to join the Carhartt product line.

Cap from Carhartt centennial, 1989

Initially given away as a gift with purchase, or GWP, the A18 shares the way it got its start with several other key accessories including socks and work gloves.

As far as color options, the original selection was either Carhartt Brown or, well, Carhartt Brown.

But since then, the A18 has been made in additional 55 colors. From Tangerine to Deep Purple to Army Green, they all make up a key piece of the A18’s DNA. Special editions with a variety of embroidered logos have also become a brand staple, and more than a few of the Carhartt faithful have slapped their own logo on a watch cap or two as well.

A18 color options, 2009

Over the last 30 years, the A18 has evolved from a giveaway item into one of the best-selling Carhartt products. In its formative years, it was instrumental in creating trust for the brand beyond traditional products like heavy-duty outerwear.

Today, the A18 serves as an all-purpose accessory, the item that tops off any outfit with an extra bit of protection and style. Here’s to another 30 years of one of the hardest working caps around.