The Monaco celebrated its 50th birthday last year, so you’d think, given the slew of new and limited releases, that it might be given a break in 2020. But somehow, TAG Heuer have saved the best for the square classic’s 51st in the form of a sexy black dial, and a steel bracelet. What a profound difference this one/two punch makes to the mood, and the experience of the watch.
TAG hasn’t gone about reinventing the wheel for this new iteration of the angular icon– its stainless steel case remains identical to the one we first saw last year with the then new Monaco Heuer 02. That means the dimensions still measure in at 39mm x 39mm and a bulky >16mm thick. It’s a handsome-looking case, featuring a familiar, yet no less enticing, blend of polished and brushed sections that neatly blur the lines between flashiness and dynamism.
The knurled, largish crown has the right proportions to match the rest of the case, and the chrono pushers that sit above and below the crown also blend seamlessly with the prevailing aesthetic – you can tell this is a design that has stood the test of time.
New for 2020 is the radially brushed sunburst black dial with piquing hews of bright red and white “reverse panda” style sub-dials. It appears to be a very handsome face – contrasting white sub-dials with a black background may not be groundbreaking but, hey, classics exist for a reason. A well-placed and diminutive date aperture – with sympathetic black and white colour scheme – sits low and out of the way at the six o’clock position, directly below the running seconds display, and TAG should be extolled for making the packaging work, as it could have looked cluttered, but doesn’t. The splashes of red on the chrono second hand and hands of both sub-dials also give the dial a subtle but much needed hint of flair.
It may have not had the easiest start in life, but TAG now has the Calibre Heuer 02 firing on all cylinders, and the manufacture movement has a lot to offer. Column wheel, vertical clutch, self-winding, 33 jewels, 4Hz operating frequency and 80 hours of power reserve … these are the tech specs of an accomplished and expensive movement.
The big talking point of this Monaco is, of course, the all-new stainless steel bracelet. As TAG themselves mention in their press release, it’s been nearly two decades since the Monaco has been offered on a steel bracelet, so the new one needed to be good. And judging by the way it looks on the watch, they’ve succeeded – the H-pattern design, inspired by TAG bracelets of the ’70s, looks timeless, sporty and elegant.
Speaking about the bracelet, TAG Heuer’s Heritage Director, Catherine Eberlé-Devaux, said: “The bracelet is particularly important for any wristwatch – without a good bracelet, the timepiece lacks desirability. For the new Monaco timepieces, we have alluded to its brilliant past with a familiar design and colour while reinforcing that the collection is moving forward with innovative new technology.”
And if you like the new black reverse panda dial but don’t want the new steel bracelet, you’re in luck, because TAG is also offering this Monaco on an attractive black alligator leather band.
Pricing and availability:
The TAG Heuer Monaco black dial Ref. CBL2113.BA0644 on steel bracelet has a recommended retail price, in Australia, of $9800.
The TAG Heuer Monaco black dial Ref. CBL2113.FC6177 on alligator has a recommended retail price, in Australia, of $9200.
Anyone interested in purchasing this new Monaco should make an enquiry with their local TAG Heuer AD or check out their ecommerce page.