The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton gives the iconic model a techno remix The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton gives the iconic model a techno remix

The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton gives the iconic model a techno remix

Luke Benedictus
  • TAG Heuer releases the first Monaco with a skeletonised dial
  • Three colourways available – Original Blue, Racing Red and Turquoise
  • Cases are made from grade 2 titanium

Would Steve McQueen be turning in his grave at the sight of the new TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton? It’s worth asking the question, because there’s no doubt that this latest model represents a radical departure from McQueen’s trusty chronograph that he memorably wore in Le Mans.

Since its 1969 release, the Monaco has, of course, been reimagined in various guises over the years. We’ve seen the blue and orange striped racing livery of the Monaco X Gulf, Bamford’s black and sky-blue creation, the Dark Lord’s villainous overtones plus many more. Yet this is the first Monaco to appear with a skeletonised dial, a renovation that transforms the entire look and feel of the watch. So how does it shape up?

TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton

The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton is available in three colour variations. The Original Blue draws inspiration from the first-ever TAG Heuer Monaco with its blue and red colour scheme.  Despite its name, the Racing Red is actually the starkest of the trio and is largely black and silver with a smattering of red touches. Finally, the liveliest option is the Turquoise piece that features – yep, you guessed it – turquoise flourishes.  These are “a little nod to Monaco’s coastline” apparently.

TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton

The Monaco’s heritage is, of course, defined by its roots as a racing chronograph. One feature that such watches are meant to embody is easy legibility, so a driver can potentially check his lap-time while cornering at high speed. Skeleton watches, on the other hand, struggle to provide such clarity, as the window they offer into their innards will sacrifice the cleanliness of the dial. The new Monaco partially circumnavigates this issue by ensuring that the subdials remain opaque. That fact, combined with the judicious use of colour, largely alleviates the problem, while the indexes, hour and minute hands, and date window are also slathered in Super-LumiNova.

The skeletonised dial provides a glimpse into the Calibre HEUER 02 Automatic, a movement that beats at 28,800 vph, offers 80 hours of power reserve and comes with an impressive five-year guarantee. Flip it over and you can also check it out via the exhibition caseback.

The Monaco’s trademark square case is hewn from grade 2 titanium and sandblasted to give it a more industrial look. Traditionalists will no doubt decry the fact that the crown isn’t placed on the left side a la McQueen. Then again, if you are a traditionalist, this watch probably isn’t the watch for you in the first place.

I understand that some Monaco devotees might find this revamp too jarring and there’s no doubt the skeletonised dial changes the watch’s visage in a radical manner. Personally, however, I feel like the Monaco always had a futuristic vibe that was slightly resonant of The Jetsons. This skeletonised rendition simply takes that sci-fi element and gives it a full techno remix. Nevertheless, it’s still instantly recognisable as a Monaco and at a time when nostalgia seems like the dominant force in watch design, you can’t blame TAG Heuer for trying some new. After all, Steve McQueen died 42 years ago –  it’s probably time for a new King of Cool.

TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton pricing and availability:

The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton is available now. The Original Blue and Racing Red versions are $15,550 and the Turquoise piece is $16,300

Brand TAG Heuer
Model Monaco Skeleton
Case Dimensions Diameter 39 mm, lug-to-lug:47.4 mm, thickness 14.7mm
Case Material Sandblasted Grade 2 titanium
Water Resistance 100m
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal
Dial Sandblasted dial
Straps Blue calf skin with rubber inlay
Movement Calibre HEUER 02 Automatic
Power Reserve 80 hour
Availability Now