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The First

Jan 12, 2024Jan 12, 2024

Much of TAG Heuer's history has been written on racetracks like the Monaco Grand Prix, so much so that one of their most sought-after collections is named after the titular race. Marking the mark the 80th Monaco Grand Prix, the La Chaux de Fonds manufacture is releasing the first-ever TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph with a skeleton dial as part of the brand's core collection.

Following in the same vein of modern interpretations like the recent Monza Flyback and Carrera "Glassbox", the Monaco Chronograph Skeleton Dial stands among the exemplars of new dynamism as the brand's latest chief executive Frederic Arnault takes the marque forward into the 21st century by side-stepping the trend of re-issuing beloved references from the archives like many other legacy brands have done.

The new Monaco looks very much like a Monaco while still being a new twist on an old classic, avoiding another pitfall during the Biver-era of "fusion". While previous Monaco Grand Prix commemorative editions tended to draw upon its rich history for aesthetic inspiration, the Monaco Chronograph Skeleton Dial while retaining the signature Monaco case, twin sub-registers, hands, minute rail and even indexes no longer sits upon a dial but rather a series of smart cuts which exposes most of the mechanical calibre beneath. The base plate, has been surgically altered to reveal part of the barrel as well as the parts of the balance wheel, while the skeletonised date disc has taken from models like the Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 skeleton – hence, the aesthetic approach while new for the reference, continues along a well-tread path.

That said, this doesn't mean that Mr. Arnault has ignored legacy motifs of that legendary race, instead, once you stop admiring the skeletal work, you’ll notice colours in original blue, racing red and turquoise which recall its lauded history: The blue is a tribute to the original TAG Heuer Monaco from 1969, made famous by Steve McQueen in the film Le Mans. The red color timepiece references heat and sparks, the fiery elements that evoke racing. And finally, the turquoise timepiece rounds off the collection and incidentally our favourite.

Evocative of the vintage Monaco "Dark Lord", one of the most valuable and coveted vintage Heuer watches, "Turquoise" features a titanium all-black case that features diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating. The sombre aesthetic matched with high contrast glow in the dark accents gives it an incredibly futuristic Tron-esque design. It is undoubtedly the most avant garde looking modern Monaco aside from the V4.

All TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton Dial Chronographs are framed by a sandblasted titanium Grade 2 case. The titanium offers both strength and lightness. The luminescent elements, like the date window, and the hands, treated with Super-LumiNova, give the watch an edgy and futuristic feel. Powered by the in-house Heuer 02, all three watches offer a striking contrast to the movements of the Monaco's original versions from the 1970s.

Case 39mm titanium with 100 metres water resistance Movement Automatic Calibre Heuer 02 with 80 hours power reserve Price CHF10,500; CHF11,000 (DLC-coated)

Case Movement Price