Recently, TAG Heuer introduced the Monaco Gulf Edition, a watch that looked back at the very roots of the model, creating the link with Steve McQueen and the “Le Mans” movie. The result was a vintage take on the iconic square chronograph. Well, for Baselworld 2018, the brand has decided to bring a touch of avant-garde to the watch by teaming up with Bamford Watch Department, which has created a bold, contemporary variant of the TAG Heuer Monaco, this time with carbon and aqua blue accents.
Most of us consider the Monaco a vintage-inspired piece – in all fairness, it is a re-edition of a 1969 piece, and the latest addition to the collection, the Gulf Edition, is clearly in the same vein. It seems that Bamford, and consequently TAG, have decided to make the icon slightly more on-trend – or at least, to create a piece to conquer those who prefer to move forward rather than looking in the mirror. If this new TAG Heuer Monaco Carbon Bamford is in body and soul a Monaco, it plays on completely different inspirations.
The man behind this creation is George Bamford, CEO of Bamford Watch Department – a pioneer in customisation of luxury watches, who is now officially linked to LVMH and its watch department. As the official custom-workshop for TAG Heuer, Zenith and Bvlgari, customers have the opportunity to customise their favourite model. Following this first step, the two parties decided to continue their partnership by working together on this new TAG Heuer Monaco Carbon.
Bamford’s recipe is to take an iconic watch, respect its main attributes and apply a modern, edgier style, usually to rather good effect. Well, the TAG Heuer Monaco Carbon Bamford is all about this. The shape of the watch, its signature crown at 11 o’clock and the mechanical part are kept intact. The dial, strap and case materials are all new. First and foremost, the 39mm x 39mm square case is now made of lightweight carbon fibre – which appears to be forged carbon and not traditional (understand perfectly aligned) fibres. TAG Heuer has created a special mould for this carbon case to match the dimensions of the Monaco and meet the technical constraints of this specific material.
The all-black take on the Monaco is enhanced by the blackened crown and pushers. The strap, in black alligator leather with a rubber inlay, is in the same vein. The case back is made from blackened steel and offers a view on the well-known calibre 11, through a sapphire window. The movement is the exact same as other Monaco watches, meaning an ETA base with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module on top.
The evolution is also visible on the dial, again with a contemporary, avant-garde take on the classic look of the Monaco. While the square sub-dials and the horizontally applied markers are still present, the dial now offers a combination of a deep black background with aqua blue accents – a signature Bamford colour. These bright blue details can be found all around: sub-dial centres and tracks, seconds track, dial inscriptions, date window, seconds hand, minute and hour hands inlay and tips.
Overall, this new TAG Heuer Monaco Carbon Bamford will certainly be slightly controversial for vintage lovers, but on the other hand, some will like the addition of a modern, contemporary visual identity to an iconic watch. It definitely looks different and bold. Price to be confirmed. More details on tagheuer.com.