TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02 and TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition

The TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02 and TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition are unveiled in the UK as a season finale for the Swiss avant-garde watch firm. This has been a hectic year for TAG Heuer as it celebrates 50 years of the iconic Monaco, the delightful automatic chronograph, housed in a square case.

TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02

This year, the Heuer Monaco is 50 years old. The creative souls at TAG Heuer’s HQ in La Chaux-de-Fonds always know how to celebrate a birthday and have produced a number of anniversary models including a series of five limited edition Heuer Monaco watches, each referencing a period in history.

Image – Monaco Piece d’Art

In addition, the Swiss avant-garde brand unveiled a ‘Piece d’Art’, a unique watch featuring an original Calibre 11 movement and period steel bracelet. The movement incorporated two bespoke bridges, exquisitely engraved by hand as well as a raft of additional modifications, denoting the watch as special.

Image – Monaco Piece d’Art

Now, as a season finale, TAG Heuer has released two further Monaco models, the Monaco Heuer 02 and the Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition. Both of these watches are guaranteed to appeal to admirers of the legendary chronograph.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02

In 1969 when Heuer (the company name at the time) released the inaugural Monaco, it was equipped with the now famous Chronomatic Calibre 11. This automatic movement comprised of a Buren base in combination with a Dubois-Dépraz module.

TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02

This model incorporates the modern, Calibre Heuer 02 Manufacture movement and is fully integrated, featuring a highly desirable column-wheel with vertical coupling. Prospective purchasers will notice the push pieces operate with a notable smoothness. When actuating the chronograph, the central chronograph seconds hand commences its journey without any hesitation. This movement also has a prodigious power-reserve of 80 hours.

Looking at the movement through a loupe reveals a plethora of further delights, including the red-toned column wheel, the black openworked oscillating weight and the bridges adorned with seemly Côtes de Genève. Beyond its impressive functionality, this is a handsome movement.

Close examination reveals a multitude of differences with the 1969 original. While the dial is blue like the original model, this model features a ‘radiant blue PVD sunray dial’. Each diagonal line gracing the dial flirts with light. The appearance of the dial is dynamic, changing shade dependent on the angle it is held. Most pertinently, the dial hue is darker, richer and, in my opinion, more luxurious.

TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02

At first glance, the dial upholds the bi-compax layout of its older siblings. However, look closely and you will discover a small seconds display sitting discreetly above the date aperture. I remain unsure whether I would prefer the dial with or without the small seconds display, I suspect some traditionalists would rather forgo this function.

TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02

The angled push pieces have been retained but in this instance the crown is positioned on the right flank of the case, setting aside Monaco convention.

Lastly, the watch is supplied on a blue alligator leather strap, incorporating blue stitching and delivered on a stainless steel folding clasp.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition

On the inaugural Heuer Monaco 1133B featuring the Chronomatic Calibre 11 movement, the crown was positioned on the left flank of the case owing to the architecture of the movement. However, with the advent of the Calibre 12, the crown was able to assume its customary position, sitting on the right side of the case, a characteristic found on this watch.

With the advent of the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition, a limited series of 1000 pieces, the Calibre 12 makes a final curtain call before its retires from Monaco service. Similar to the Calibre 11, the Calibre 12 is of modular construction, pairing a Sellita SW 300-1 base with a Dubois-Dépraz 2008 module.

Appraising the finishing of the Calibre 12, the bridges near the fulcrum of the movement are adorned with perlage, the part-openworked oscillating mass is embellished with Côtes de Genève and the bridges near the periphery of the movement are decorated with colimaçon. In my opinion, the Calibre Heuer 02 Manufacture movement looks more attractive, albeit not everyone will share this view.

However, as with all watches, the aesthetic appearance of the dial and case are more likely to entice prospective purchasers to part with their money than the engine within. The case subscribes to modern-day Monaco convention, measuring 39mm in diameter, with angled push pieces, substantial lugs and a becoming blend of polished and brushed surfaces.

Where the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition stands out from the crowd is with its ‘drop dead gorgeous’ appearance. The brushed ruthenium dial is a paragon of sophistication. Ruthenium, a metal belonging to the platinum group of the periodic table, is very rare, making it a fitting choice for this limited edition.

The black square-shaped counters feature rounded corners, upholding the styling of the Heuer Monaco 1133B. The bi-compax layout imbues the dial with a symmetrical, cohesive appearance. Similar to other Calibre 12 models, the famous horizontal indexes found on the 1969 original have been supplanted with angled indexes. The hour and minute hands encompass white Super-LumiNova and red detail, while the central chronograph seconds hand is presented in a vibrant shade of scarlet.

Like the aforementioned TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02, the Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition eschews the octane-rich perforated leather strap of former models, favouring a black alligator strap.

Closing remarks

Despite its advancing years, the Heuer Monaco of today shows no signs of thinning hair or any hint of a middle age paunch. Indeed, the masterful design of the 1969 original has retained its allure despite the passage of time.

This year, TAG Heuer has celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Monaco in style, launching a plethora of new models. Some variants bear a close resemblance to former greats, while others have embraced creativity to glorious effect. However, all the 2019 models have retained the essence of the original watch. Quite simply, they have not besmirched the Monaco’s legend with clumsy stylistic details, but masterfully respected a classic while encompassing fresh ideas.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02 and TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition are offered for US $5,950 each, hence there is nothing to differentiate one from the other when it comes to price.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition is incredibly handsome with its black opaline counters sitting against a comely ruthenium canvas. In addition, the judiciously applied scarlet accents on the hands and the soupçon of red on the index at noon augment appeal. Furthermore, the limited supply of 1000 pieces confers a degree of exclusivity that many watch collectors will find hard to resist.

TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02

However, as you may have guessed from earlier comments, I prefer the TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02. Its ‘radiant blue sunray dial’ doffs its hat to the Heuer Monaco 1133B but exploits cutting-edge know-how to deliver a richer, more vibrant canvas worthy of Picasso’s attention.

Most notably, the TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02 contains an exceptional movement which delivers superior push piece feel, a stutter free start to the central chronograph seconds hand and, lastly, in my opinion, an aesthetically more attractive appearance.

Although I appreciate not everyone will share my opinion, one thing I think everyone will agree on is that TAG Heuer has delivered a stunning selection of new Monaco models in 2019, suitably honouring the 50th anniversary of this iconic chronograph.

Further reading

https://www.tagheuer.com

Technical specifications

  • Model: TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02
  • Reference: CBL2111.FC6453
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 39mm; water resistance 10 ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and solid caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
  • Movement: Calibre Heuer 02 Manufactureautomatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 33 jewels; power reserve = 80 hours
  • Strap: Blue alligator leather strap with stainless steel folding clasp
  • Price – US$ 5,950 / £4895 (RRP as at 6.11.2019)

 

  • Model: TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Final Edition
  • Reference: CAW211J.FC6476
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 39mm; water resistance 10 ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and solid caseback
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
  • Movement: Calibre 12automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 59 jewels; power reserve = 40 hours
  • Strap: Black alligator leather strap with stainless steel folding clasp
  • Price – US$ 5,950 / £4895 (RRP as at 6.11.2019)
  • Limited Edition: 1000 pieces