The TAG Heuer Monaco invites you to step into a world where time is not just measured but celebrated. A place where history meets modernity, and every detail tells a story of precision and passion. Add a decades-long connection to motorsport and pop culture, and you have a highly desirable iconic watch instantly recognized thanks to its striking square case. Let’s dive into a hands-on experience of the new TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue.
While it’s undeniable that some part of the Monaco chronograph’s allure can be attributed to Steve McQueen and his appearance in the Le Mans motion picture, where he effortlessly sported this watch on his wrist, let’s not overlook the fact that the 1969 Heuer timepiece itself is as original and audacious as the Hollywood legend it’s often associated with. Over the years, it has evolved, constantly pushing the boundaries of contemporary style and trendsetting, exemplified by editions like the pioneering Monaco V4 from 2004 and the recent Monaco Skeleton version. Interestingly, both of these watches (at least the very first V4 editions) share a common material with the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue – titanium.
The Monaco Racing Blue case pays a heartfelt tribute to its original and iconic predecessor by harmonizing sharp angles with fantastic curves that make it so unique. The 39mm x 39mm grade 2 titanium case has a sophisticated sandblasted finish on its 47.5mm lug-to-lug span and 14.35mm thickness, making it a visually distinct and tactile delight. Do not let the lug-to-lug measurement put you off; the watch wears comfortably on any wrist. The titanium crown positioned at 9 o’clock tips its hat to the Monaco’s early incarnations, with the chronograph pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock adopting a modern look, which I like. You’ll find the bevelled, domed sapphire crystal on the dial side that complements the overall design perfectly and the sapphire crystal caseback if you turn the watch over. The case construction guarantees water resistance up to a depth of 100 meters.
The dial is a masterpiece in its own right. Its silver sunray-brushed square design seems to draw inspiration from the dashboards of sports cars from the 1930s, yet another nod to its motorsport heritage. Two blue opaline square subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock display running seconds and the chronograph minutes counter, infusing elegance into the ensemble. Enclosed within a circular minute track, the subdials and the angled date window at 6 o’clock blend modernity and sophistication.
The polished applied hour markers pay homage to the original 1969 model, horizontally aligned to fill the space with a sense of continuity. In the darkness, blue luminous dots on the minute ring set at 5-minute intervals and rhodium-plated hour and minute hands, sporting Super-LumiNova stripes down the centre, cast a nice blue glow. At 12 o’clock, a faceted baton index displays a bright yellow stripe, and the vibrant, lacquered lime yellow chronograph seconds hand truly adds a captivating burst of colour, completing the dial’s intelligent choice of hues and finishes.
You will not see much of the Monaco Racing Blue movement on the caseback, just a glimpse. Notice the rotor is marked with a Heuer logo in red, and there is also a calibre 11 mention. This way, you’ll remember the watch is powered by the automatic calibre 11. Based on the Sellita SW300-1 movement with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module, it’s not a revolutionary calibre 11 like the original Monaco’s. Still, it has good accuracy and provides a power reserve of up to 40 hours. And it allows the crown and pushers to be on opposite sides of the case, a convenient solution since 1969.
The Racing Blue perforated calfskin leather strap adds to the watch’s elegance and pays tribute to the “Bleu de France“, the iconic paint colour of the French national motor racing team from the 1920s to the 1960s. You don’t have to be French to recognize this chronograph as a beautiful watch, a piece of racing history and a true collector’s item. To share a personal view of the Monaco series, for many years, I felt that to own one, you need to be a very cool person, and all the owners I met fell into that category. The TAG Heuer Monaco Racing Blue is a limited edition of 1,000 pieces and is priced at CHF 9,000. This reimagined classic has been available at authorized retailers since July.
For more information, please visit www.tagheuer.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.