Few watches in the world can compete with Jack Heuer’s brilliant branding coup of his 1969 square-shaped Monaco chronograph with the world’s most glamorous F1 race. There was a time in the watchmaking world when ‘innovation’ and ‘imagination’ were the keywords. Today, they have been replaced with ‘special/limited edition’ and ‘titanium’. However, when it comes to golden oldies like the Monaco, the new buzzwords are a real treat for fans. Designed to mark the return of the Monaco Grand Prix in 2021 after a one-year hiatus provoked by the pandemic, here is the new TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Special Edition, that you can discover live!
This special edition of 500 pieces of TAG’s iconic Monaco is sheathed in sandblasted titanium and fitted with a modern version of the famous Calibre 11 automatic chronograph that made its debut inside the first Monaco. After the suspension of the Monaco GP last year, the F1 cars competing in the 2021 edition will undergo the qualifying rounds on Saturday, May 22. On Sunday, May 23, the F1 cars will rev up their engines to cover the 78 laps of the dangerous, narrow course and tight corners of the streets of Monaco.
Without reviewing the genesis of Jack Heuer’s 1969 square-shaped chronograph that was named after the legendary F1 Grand Prix de Monaco and worn by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans, we can assure you that the 50th anniversary of the Monaco in 2019 was celebrated in grand style at TAG Heuer and at MONOCHROME. Die-hard collectors of the Monaco will take heart from the recent news that one of the Monaco watches worn by Steve McQueen on the set of Le Mans recently sold for USD 2,208,000 at an auction organised by Phillips in 2020 – the highest price ever achieved for a Heuer watch.
We covered all the 50th-anniversary editions of the Monaco, each model representing a different decade. The first-anniversary edition to appear was the 1969-1979 edition with a green dial followed by an interview with TAG Heuer’s CEO Stéphane Bianchi and another with Patrick Dempsey during the 2019 edition of the F1 Grand Prix in Monaco. The second-anniversary model was the flamboyant fiery red Monaco 1979-1989 model, followed by the more industrial-inspired 1989-1999 edition. The fourth model was the 1999-2009 model with a panda-style black and white dial culminating with the fifth and final 50th-anniversary edition with its minimalist dial and sandblasted case – but that was back then still executed in stainless steel.
It would be incorrect to state that this is the first Monaco in titanium. In 2004, TAG Heuer had embarked on an adventurous mission and produced a “concept” watch known as the Monaco V4 with an openworked dial and futuristic architecture that eventually materialised in a 41mm titanium case. However, the latest Monaco Titan retains its original 39 x 39mm case size and is made from grade 2 titanium with a raw sandblasted matte finish. The understated grey tone of sandblasted titanium combined with the lightweight yet resilient properties of this metal makes this watch a pleasure to wear on the wrist. The bold angular architecture of the case is 100% Monaco with the rectangular push buttons on the right and the crown on the left.
A silver sunray-brushed dial hosts the two rounded black square sub-dials for the running seconds at 3 o’clock and the 30-minute chronograph counter at 9 o’clock. The bright red central seconds hand and the red index marker at 12 o’clock add a dash of colour and refer to the colours of racing circuits. The hour and minute hands are treated with a central strip of Super-LumiNova like the dots that appear above the hour markers, and, like all Monaco models, the date window is positioned at 6 o’clock. Beady-eyed fans will also spot the eight horizontal indices placed on the dial at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 o’clock, a similar feature found on the first Monaco models and more recently on the Monaco Calibre 11 Gulf 50th Anniversary. Consolidating its racetrack credentials, TAG Heuer Monaco Titan is paired with a sporty anthracite alligator strap with tyre grooves of racing cars and a titanium folding clasp. A domed bevelled sapphire crystal protects the dial.
Calibre 11 automatic chronograph
As much a part of watchmaking lore as the Monaco, Calibre 11 (aka Chronomatic) was one of the first three automatic chronograph movements to hit the market in 1969. You can read all about the race to develop the world’s first automatic chronograph movement in this in-depth article. The TAG Heuer Monaco Titan is equipped with a modernised version of the Calibre 11. A round aperture on the caseback reveals parts of the chronograph movement based on a Sellita SW-300 automatic (since 2011) with a Dubois-Depraz module for the chronograph functions. Beating at 28,800vph, it has a 40h power reserve for the hours, minutes, small seconds and chronograph functions. The large rotor with two openworked triangular areas is decorated with Côtes de Genève revealing circular graining on the plates below.
Availability & price
Limited to 500 pieces, the TAG Heuer Monaco Titan Special Edition will be available from 21 May 2021 in TAG Heuer boutiques and on the brand’s webpage. The retails price is CHF 7,700, EUR 7,450, USD 7,900 or GBP 6,550.
More information available at www.tagheuer.com.