Monochrome Watches
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The Appealing looks of the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Skeleton Dark Blue

A balanced, contemporary and emotionally charged variant of the legendary Monaco chronograph design.

| By Denis Peshkov | 4 min read |

Changes to the appearance are often a more frequent feature of the TAG Heuer Monaco series than groundbreaking innovation in its mechanics. And over the years the brand almost always successfully implemented the use of new materials and updated designs, with the recent 2023 introduction of open-worked dials to the collection preceding the launch of the timepiece we are reviewing today, the 2024 TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Skeleton Dark Blue in DLC Titanium, perhaps the better looking of them by far.

The 1969 Heuer Monaco reference 1133B.

Since the Monaco chronograph was first introduced by Heuer in 1969, it has appeared in many design variations, always faithful to the original aesthetics of this legendary watch. Monaco’s distinctive looks continue to be recognised by specialists, not just watch and racing fans – Monaco Calibre 11 received a Red Dot Award in the product design category almost 50 years after it was born – in 2017. In the past, Monaco sought to offer interesting technical features, like replacing pinions of the traditional movement with a series of toothed drive belts and using a linear oscillating weight in the V4 Concept, followed by the belt-driven V4 Tourbillon in 2014. More recently, the brand introduced the Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph (see below), created in partnership with Vaucher, a testament to TAG Heuer’s commitment to excellence in sports timing.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Split Seconds Chronograph.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton Dark Blue features a 39mm-wide grade 2 titanium case with a black DLC coating and a sandblasted finish that extends to the exhibition caseback. This matte finish adds a contemporary architectural mood to the iconic square Monaco silhouette, accentuating the flowing curves along the case sides. These curves soften the otherwise angular design, countering the typically aggressive look of a black DLC watch.

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The short, curved lugs ensure a comfortable fit, and the dark-toned execution gives the watch a visually compact presence on the wrist, though it does feel a bit too bulky with its 15.2mm thickness. The chronograph pushers and crown are positioned on the same side, consistent with the Monaco Skeleton series. While I have a soft spot for the original Monaco models with the crown on the left, I appreciate the current design direction, which aligns with TAG Heuer’s vision for a more futuristic feel.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton Dark Blue open-worked dial layout is well-balanced, respecting the geometric aesthetics that define the collection while ensuring good legibility and visual appeal. The circle-in-square blue sandblasted dial features a white minute scale and carved white hour indices with Super-LumiNova treatment that extend beyond the chapter ring, enhancing the open-worked design. The indices at 11 and 1 o’clock merge via a horizontal line to form a geometric shape, providing a structural foundation for the plaque with the printed collection name and the rhodium-plated TAG Heuer applied logo. Opposite, the 5 and 7 o’clock indices create a mirrored trapezoidal shape, with the small seconds rhodium-plated hand centred. This trapezoidal section also supports the pointer, indicating the date “aperture” with a white background highlighting the numerals of the black skeletonised date ring.

The indices at 2,4, 8 and 10 “hold” the beautifully designed chronograph subdials, featuring blue-framed black solid surfaces with white printed markings for easy readability at a glance. The minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock and the chronograph hour counter at 9 o’clock have yellow lacquered hands, matching the central chronograph hand. Together with the rhodium-plated, lumed hour and minute hands, these elements create a distinctive and striking colour scheme that makes the watch truly special.

While the 2023 Monaco Skeleton chronographs featured red-coloured chronograph hands, which complemented the dial design and colours well, this new version, with its black, dark blue, white, and yellow mix, offers a more striking and relaxed aesthetic. This careful yet genuine approach to using colours gave the watch a unique appeal – a natural Monaco yet excitingly different.

The special colour combination makes this Monaco Chronograph stand out, while its specifications align with other models in the series. It boasts a 100m water resistance and is powered by the Calibre Heuer 02, featuring rhodium-plated bridges and yellow accents to match the defining handset. The chronograph’s column wheel is emphasised in yellow, as is the inscription on the skeletonised and blackened TAG Heuer shield rotor. The integrated automatic Calibre Heuer 02 offers an impressive 80-hour power reserve and operates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, also ensuring smooth chronograph performance.

The embossed blue calfskin and rubber strap perfectly complement the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Skeleton Dark Blue in DLC Titanium. It is secured with a sandblasted case-matching folding clasp featuring double safety push buttons for secure closure and easy handling.

Overall, this new Monaco variant is a colourful, sporty, modern-looking watch with an open-worked dial that beautifully expands the brand’s recent Skeleton line while keeping the spirit of the Monaco collection alive – with an eye on the future. It will be interesting to see what emotions the next watch in the series will bring, for this one is a stunner. The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton Chronograph Dark Blue is available now as part of the permanent collection and priced at CHF 11,000, EUR 11,400 or USD 11,250.

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