This year was busy for TAG Heuer, that changed its strategy, changed its CEO (welcoming Mister Jean-Claude Biver), introduced rather impressive pieces like this Carrera Calibre Heuer 01 but also played on the vintage trend with this Carrera Calibre 18 Chronograph Telemeter (that really is vintage looking, with a small diameter and bombé dial). In fact, the Carrera isn’t the only collection to receive a vintage-inspired piece, as the mighty Monaco (you know, the share watch worn by Steve McQueen) is also concerned. But instead of looking at it on its own, we’ll have a look at this new TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P next to its vintage, previous and actual siblings.
In order to have a deeper look at this novelty, there are 3 other editions that must be considered. The first one is of course the real Heuer Monaco, the one worn by Steve McQueen in the movie “Le Mans”, the one with the real Calibre 11, with the blue dial and the red accents: the Ref. 1133B. The second one is a vintage re-issue, the Monaco Calibre 11 40th anniversary limited edition, launched in 2009 under the ref. CAW211A. Finally, we also have to look at the actual reference, the one that is in the catalogue for 5 years now (and that is still in for the moment), the Monaco Calibre 12 Ref. CAW 2111, launched in 2010.
Basically, the new TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P is a very faithful re-edition of the very first Monaco, sharing the same dial, the same indexes, the same colours – the same overall look to make it short. It has a 39mm x 39mm case (which makes it rather small on paper but not that small on the wrist) and it features the Calibre 11, which is nothing comparable with the old Calibre 11, as based on a modern 3-hand Selitta movement with a chronograph module by Dubois-Depraz on the top. The main specificity of the Calibre 11, compared to all the other editions of the Monaco, is to have the crown on the left side and the pushers on the right side – just like the old one. Enough of specifications, let’s have a look at this TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P next to its ancestors.
The CAW211P compared to the Vintage 1133B
From a dial point of view, there’s clearly not much differences between this new Monaco Steve McQueen CAW211P and the original Monaco Steve McQueen 1133B. Except a few details (like the size of the fonts or the thickness of the markers), these two share the same design. The main hands are extremely close, meaning polished metal with a red band and a white insert of luminous paint, a red chronograph hand (with quite a difference though, as the shape of the new one is rather slim. The old 1133B had a triangular and thicker hand) and black hands for the sub-dials. The layout of the dial is also exactly the same and so are the colours. The blue dial is matte and grained (from the photos, we’d say that the blue of the new one is a bit darker and less saturated… but that’s photos) and the sub-dials are white and squared with rounded angles (and with the same fonts and markers).
One difference to note is of course the position and the function of these sub-dials, as the old one didn’t feature a small second but a 30-minute counter and a 12-hour counter, while the modern CAW211P has a small second at 3 and a 30-minute counter at 9. This is of course explained by the different movements. Then, the applied indexes in polished metal are the same, with the characteristic horizontal placement. The latest small difference concerns the date, that is circled with a metallic ring on the vintage, while this ring is painted in white on the new TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P.
Looking at the case and the pushers and you’ll see the main differences. The old 1133B had a specific case construction with a hood that entirely covers the top and sides of the watch. Furthermore, the old Monaco has no caseback but a container for the movement (that could only be removed from the top). The new one has a classical construction, with a bezel, a central part and a caseback. And if the pushers are placed equally, the shape are not the same (round on the old one and rectangular on the new one). However, it has to be said: besides these minor changes, the resemblance is obvious.
The CAW211P compared to the first vintage re-edition, the CAW211A
Here start a quite difficult “Spot the difference” game, as clearly these two are very, very close – but let’s first explain the context of the CAW211A. In 2009, TAG Heuer launched a first re-edition of the vintage Monaco, for the 40th anniversary of this watch. As expected, it was very close to the original 1133B. It was a limited edition of 1,000 pieces, priced at approximately 10,000 Euros at that time (quite a hefty price for a Monaco…). “For that price, you also received a special presentation box and a Steve McQueen book. Despite its high price, the watch sold out instantly, and even today it’s a difficult one to find on the second-hand market” (source: Calibre 11). This Monaco CAW211A was the first of its kind to receive a sapphire crystal. The caseback was full and engraved with commemorative decorations.
Now, comparing the TAG Heuer Monaco 40th anniversary edition and the new, 2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P is easy, as there’s not much differences. First of all, the new one has a 39mm case while the 40th anniversary had a 38mm case. The shape of the case, of the pushers, of the crown and their positions is however the same. The dials are also totally identical, with the same hands, indexes, tracks, sub-dials (with the same placement and same function). Both are stamped with the old “Heuer” logo (and not the actual TAG Heuer logo). The colours are looking slightly different though, with the CAW211A 40th anniversary looking more vivid than the new CAW211P (and thus more close to the original… but then again, it’s photos).
The new TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P features a sapphire caseback (and not an engraved one) that reveals a Sellita-based Calibre 11 instead of an ETA-based Calibre 11 on the CAW211A (but both have the same Dubois-Depraz module on the top). The final difference concerns the date that used to be outlined by a metallic circle on the Monaco 40th anniversary and that is now painted in white.
The CAW211P compared to the actual ref. CAW2111
The actual catalogue on TAG Heuer already includes a Monaco with blue dial and red accents, that collectors called “Steve McQueen” too. However, this watch isn’t really a vintage edition but more of a modern interpretation. The differences with the new one are large. The main similarity comes from the case – both have 39mm case, with the same construction and finish. However, the actual CAW2111 has a Calibre 12, meaning pushers AND crown placed on the right side. Then, the dial is much different, as first it has a sun-ray pattern, then the hands are not underlined with red, there’s no red indexes every 5 minutes, the small hands are red and not black, the inscriptions in the sub-dials are different and mainly, the indexes are placed in a concentric way (and not horizontally).
Overall, these two watches are not intended to be the same – and they won’t reach the same collectors. One is a modern edition and the other one is pure vintage, something that is attested by the logos, as the new one feature the old “Heuer” logo while the actual one has the “TAG Heuer” logo.
This new, 2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P is interesting for many reasons. First of all, it brings back the real Monaco look, the real Steve McQueen feel, with this matte dial and those horizontal indexes. It is faithful in many ways to the early edition and will please collectors in a need for this beauty. The other good news is that it won’t be a limited edition but a regular commercial piece – meaning that many collectors looking for the 2009 CAW211A will probably move to this new one. The last good news concerns the price, as it comes for half the price of the 40th anniversary edition, meaning a reasonable 4,995 Euros. Already available in stores. More details on: www.tagheuer.com.
Source for the older watches details: Calibre 11