If the model does not have the importance of other icons such as the Carrera, Autavia or Monaco in the TAG Heuer racing chronograph lineage, the Monza has numerous fans amongst the brand’s aficionados. On the occasion of the LVMH Watch Week 2023, the model is back, far more modern and bolder than ever, clad in black carbon, with bright colours on its openworked dial. And it is now powered by a COSC-certified Heuer 02 flyback movement. Here’s the new TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer.
Very few brands can claim a legacy as important as TAG Heuer when it comes to motorsport. There are of course the brand’s dashboard instruments and stopwatches. But above anything else, the Heuer chronograph legend was forged during the 1960s and 1970s, the golden age of motor racing. The thrill of adrenaline-infused drives at breakneck speed inevitably comes to mind with iconic names such as Porsche, Gulf, Le Mans, Steve Mac Queen, Jo Siffert, Mario Andretti, Derek Bell, Clay Regazzoni, Gilles Villeneuve… The connection between the automotive and horological worlds has probably never been as authentic as during that period, which would give birth to Heuer’s most emblematic models: Carrera, Monaco, Autavia, Camaro, Montreal, and important for today’s topic, the Monza.
The name Monza itself first appeared on the dial of Heuer watches in 1976 to celebrate Niki Lauda’s first world championship title with Ferrari and Ferrari’s constructor title. This was a historic win for the Scuderia as one of its drivers hadn’t won the World Championship since John Surtees in 1964. TAG Heuer reports that “the model was originally meant to be called the Modena after the home town of Ferrari but the strength of the name of Italy’s premier racing circuit was soon realized… paying homage to the fastest F1 track in the world.”
The original Monza (reference 150.501) featured an unusual C-shaped case coated with black PVD. Its crown was positioned at 9 o’clock, as it was powered by an evolution of the calibre 11, the calibre 15. Since the 2000s, the TAG Heuer Monza as we know it today looks nothing like the original model, being a cushion-shape chronograph blending soft curves and clear-cut angles. And on the occasion of the LVMH watch week 2023, it is back and it is bolder than ever. It is clearly not about vintage inspirations but Avantgarde.
There have been some blacked-out Monza in the past already, but this new iteration clearly has been pushed in a different direction and eventually targets a different audience. It all depends if you want a classic look or a more aggressive and contemporary style. But here, we are definitely not in front of a straightforward vintage-inspired Monza. The watch is encased in forged carbon fibre and it is accented by vivid colour touches, a skeletonized dial and a textile strap underscoring its technical character.
Still measuring 42mm in diameter, the carbon case of the TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer features black DLC-coated steel pushers and crown, and a PVD-coated titanium caseback secured by 4 screws. Just like for some past Heuer racing chronographs, two different scales are inscribed on its flange. The tachymeter is essential to a racing chronograph and allows you to measure speed. The pulsometer scale helps determine one’s heart rate. Highlighted in blue, it is graduated for 15 seconds and takes place in the first quarter of the flange.
The skeletonized dial of the Monza Flyback Chronometer has a two-register layout with translucent fume blue sapphire discs for the chronograph counter and small seconds, and bright blue applied markers. The date, markers and hours/minutes hands all feature luminescent material for optimal readability in all conditions.
This new Monza Flyback Chronometer is powered by the automatic calibre Heuer 02 in a rarely-used flyback version (previously used in the Autavia only). This in-house movement is a modern, high-grade chronograph with a column-wheel and vertical clutch architecture. Visible through the skeleton dial and through the sapphire caseback, it beats at 4Hz and stores up to 80 hours of energy when fully wound. It is personalized here with a blackened rotor with red markings and a red column wheel. Its precision is certified by the COSC.
The TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer comes on a textile rubber strap with blue stitching. It is secured to the wrist by a folding clasp released by a pair of safety push buttons. On the wrist, this new take on the Monza has a strong presence and, thanks to the lightweight carbon case, it wears really comfortably for a watch that size. The price is set at CHF 13,500. If this is a level you can expect for a forged carbon chronograph powered by an in-house column-wheel movement, this is a new price point for the brand.
For more information, please visit www.tagheuer.com.