When it comes to TAG Heuer, it hardly gets more emblematic than the square-shaped Monaco. Part of the various watches dedicated to motorsport, alongside the Carrera, the Silverstone and the Monza, the Monaco has gained immense popularity after being worn in the 1971 movie Le Mans on the wrist of Steve McQueen. And the name of the watch itself, paying tribute to the world’s most glamorous F1 race, might have helped this model to become a legend. And since this weekend marks the return of GP in the streets of the Principality for the 2022 F1 season, it was the perfect time for the brand to release its latest special edition, the TAG Heuer Monaco Black Titanium.
Born in 1969, the Monaco has immediately been equipped with one of the most innovative movements of its time, the Calibre 11, one of the three first automatic chronograph calibres. Then, there was its design… bold, different, daring and truly polarizing. If this helped make this watch unique and immediately recognizable, it might not have helped its commercial success, despite McQueen wearing one in one of the coolest car-related movies, Le Mans. This certainly helped cultivate the legend surrounding the TAG Heuer Monaco in modern days, but the career of this watch stopped rather quickly in the mid-1970s. Among the different versions launched in the first part of its life, the Dark Lord, a black-coated model, might well be one of the most emblematic versions. And if re-edition wouldn’t be accurate as for today’s topic, there’s surely a slight inspiration to be seen here… or at least a little je ne sais quoi…
Coinciding with the start of the Monaco GP weekend, and just like last year with the Monaco Titan Limited Edition, TAG Heuer releases a new special version of the Monaco, here based on its modern iteration with in-house chronograph movement, lightweight materials and luxurious combination of colours and accents.
Most important for this new 2022 TAG Heuer Monaco Special Edition is the case, which is made of grade 2 sandblasted titanium, later coated in black DLC. The same material and finishing are used throughout the watch, with the crown, pushers and caseback all using the same looks. The signature square case still measures 39mm x 39mm, with a rather pronounced height of 15mm. It is topped by the usual and appealing bevelled sapphire crystal, and has a comfortable 100m water-resistance.
Those having once owned or worn a TAG Heuer Monaco know that this case wears large and quite heavy on the wrist (specifically, it’s top heavy and not the most balanced), particularly when made out of stainless steel. Thus, and just like the 2021 Monaco Titan, the use of a titanium case makes complete sense in this new Black DLC version. Far lighter and thus much more comfortable, this new edition is a joy to wear, despite its notable presence. Also, the matte black case tends to visually reduce the dimensions of the Monaco. All in all, it’s one of the best models to wear.
The other new element of this 2022 TAG Heuer Monaco Special Edition is the dial. It relies on the classic “circle in a square” design, which is here emphasized by a succession of textures. Entirely black, the dial has an unprecedented rough, grained texture on the periphery. In this area, we have the classic, radially-mounted applied markers for the hours. These are facetted and polished, for better contrast. The central part of the dial has a satin-brushed circular finish, while the counters have a matte opaline finish. There are touches of colour to note, and importantly the 5N rose gold-plated hands and applied markers, combined with bright red hands for the chronograph indications.
Complementing the dark look, the 2022 TAG Heuer Monaco Special Edition is worn on a black alligator strap with tone-on-tone stitching and a DLC-coated titanium folding clasp with double safety push buttons. Nothing wrong with the strap itself or its quality, but I would have personally preferred something sportier, more racing-oriented, like the classic perforated strap found in multiple Monaco models – I’m sure it won’t be too hard to source that from your local TAG Heuer boutique…
Inside the case and visible under the screwed caseback is the in-house Calibre Heuer 02. This engine is a modern integrated chronograph movement with a column wheel and vertical clutch, and offers a solid 80-hour power reserve. Decorated with Geneva stripes and matte surfaces, it is topped with a rose gold-plated oscillating mass, in line with the dial’s accents.
Availability & Price
The 2022 TAG Heuer Monaco Special Edition DLC Titanium (reference CBL2180.FC6497) is delivered in a presentation box that evokes the racing heritage of the Monaco collection. This new model is a special, but not limited watch. It is available as of today (27 May 2022) in TAG Heuer boutiques and on www.tagheuer.com. It is priced at CHF 8,000.