Time & Tires: TAG Heuer First-Ever Skeletonized Monaco Chronographs Honor Racing Heritage
On the eve of the annual Monaco Grand Prix, TAG Heuer drops three new skeletonized models that speak not only to the race’s power and provenance but also to its elusive sense of racing elegance.
Over many decades, TAG Heuer’s involvement with car racing has touched drivers, car manufacturers, race fans, film stars, racing programs, and more. That said, an exploration of the brand’s illustrious and long-standing alignment with motorsports is a topic well beyond the scope of this article.
Suffice it to say that TAG Heuer is as synonymous with the spirit of racing as any watch and sports alignment that comes to mind, especially the storied Monaco timepiece. And, in these three new skeletonized Monaco models, some fitting sophistication is added to the high-octane fuel mix, as well.
Moreover, in honor of the 80th year of the “Big Daddy” of urban Grand Prix races (with the starting flag scheduled to wave in the city-state on Sunday, May 28th), these new models represent the first time the Monaco watch has been given a skeletonized dial. And with the model itself coming up on its own 50th anniversary, it was about damn time.
Offering A “Windshield” View
All three new skeletonized Monaco Chronographs employ the modern in-house Heuer 02 movement, with an 80-hour power reserve and column-wheel chronograph function. And although a view of the movement’s engraved oscillating rotor has been an option over the lifetime of the modern Monacos via an exhibition caseback, these new models now provide an intriguing front view, as well.
A sand-blasted 39mm grade 2 titanium case frames the new vision. And even with the expected use of traditional Monaco badging, gauging, Super-LumiNova-bathed blade hands and baton indices, and some dynamic bridge additions, the overall transparency of the signature square dial is quite striking.
While the minute-counter sub-dial at 3 o’clock and the hour totalizer at 9 o’clock carry squared-off numeral indicators, the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock is open and gauge-less, adding additional front-of-dial visibility to the watch works. Ditto on the transparent date ring that rotates to overlay a white background at 6 o’clock.
Some very clever design tweaks to amp up the skeleton approach? You bet.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph “Original Blue” (Ref. CBL2182.FT6235) is a track-ready rhapsody in blue, carrying bold red hands for the chronograph seconds and two chronograph sub-dial hands.
Meanwhile, the bold blue is picked up on the dial gauging and sub-dial registers to blend into the nicely embossed blue calfskin (or blue rubber) strap. There are also some blue details on the movement visible through the caseback.
Like its blue sister, the “Racing Red” execution (Ref. CBL2183.FT6236) relies on an untreated titanium case to frame the skeleton dial. But this time, the model’s menacing black tones and black strap options play well with the red highlighting.
In this execution, you’re getting more of a purist racing color pedigree, as the case and skeletonized dial feel like they were unscrewed directly from the dash of a Grand Prix car.
Last but not least, the colorful “Turquoise” version (Ref. CBL2184.FT6236) takes the race a lap further with a 39mm black DLC-coated, sand-blasted titanium case that changes up the engine tune of the series with a decidedly more technical vibe.
Along with additional black details along the corners of the skeleton dial and black strap options, eye-popping turquoise details on the sub-dial frames, hands, and bridging put this version into, ahem, overdrive. And while TAG Heuer’s press release pegs the turquoise as a nod to the Monaco coastline, this detail is almost unnecessary because the watch just plain looks great.
Pricing & Availability
Inspired by the design and colors of the first Monaco introduced in 1969, expect to pay USD 10,750 for this “Original Blue” execution. Meanwhile, the purist “Racing Red” version also retails for USD 10,750. And finally, the visual gear-up of the “Turquoise” iteration comes at a slight cost, with this model listing for USSD 11,250.
All three are being made available for the start of the Monaco Grand Prix at the brand’s retailers and on its website. For more information, visit the TAG Heuer website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)