Heuer made several iconic watches with cool looks and innovative features. Especially the Heuer Classics as Carrera, Monza, Autavia and Monaco models had many version which are still sought after by the collectors. However, Monaco arguably beat them all by the 1971 block buster LeMans and Steve McQueen connection.
The Monaco which has been worn by the legendary actor McQueen was a Ref. 1133. This latest version we are about to have a close look bears great loyalty to the original watch.
In 1969, Heuer released three top series - Monaco, Carrera and Autavia with the highly praised movement Calibre 11 which was a great success at it's time ( and now as well ).
As of 1969, Heuer would have been wrong to claim the sole credit for the world's first automatic chronograph however, it could surely be the proud owner for the first “ Square “ chronograph watch: The Monaco.
Initially designed to be a versatile chronograph than a hard core sports time keeper, Monaco moved on with it's iconic status almost at any occasion.
Since the square case is more like a trade mark for Monaco we are glad to see that TAG Heuer stayed loyal to this beautiful and timeless designs.
The case has several mutual design details with the original version like the slightly rounded lugs, mostly brushed finishing and a nicely domed crystal but for sure the left side located crown gets the most credit for the best watch people pleaser detail as it recalls directly the Calibre 11 connection.
The chronograph pushers however are remarkably different from the original. In fact, the revised pushers look more integrated to the case but they also look remarkably modern for the era which Monaco was born in.
The sapphire crystal instead of the original hesalite one is quite an upgrade in practice as it's way more scratch resistant than the original. We are thankful to TAG Heuer designing the crystal in a form which tributes to the original hesalite one with high profile making the dial look deep and two-dimensional at certain angles.
The dial is mostly faithful to the original with the striking blue color, rounded square form of the sub dials and the red accents. However, the most capturing part is the Monaco's horizontal indices. Though they look like simple vertical lines for the untrained eye, they are actually the most important details of the dial in terms of similarity with the original.
Bi-Compax lay out matches perfectly with the retro character of the watch.
Calibre 11 is undoubtedly a mile stone for the history of automatic chronograph watches. The addition of the chronograph module is essential for that famous character. While the movements is a Sellita, TAG Heuer steal our hearts with the chronograph module obtained from the original supplier – Dubois Depraz.
The perforated racing strap is absolutely the best choice for the Monaco. It is quite comfortable and wearable for almost every occasion, it also screams out the retro character of the watch.
The folding clasp is another upgraded detail for the new Monaco. I am sure there are people who would like to have a classic thumbnail buckle. I think I would be happy with the folding clasp.
Though 39mm diameter recalls normal sized watches to many watch enthusiasts, Monaco wears larger than it is thanks to it's square form. The left sided crown adds an extra touch of comfort but more importantly it boosts the retro-goodness factor.
Monaco is absolutely a cool watch. It was cool back in 1969 and I believe it will stay cool forever. I would strongly suggest this to any watch enthusiast for it's good looks, iconic design, loyal design details with the original version and brand value.