The TAG Heuer Monaco, the instantly recognizable square chronograph designed at the end of the 1960s, is nothing short of an icon (a word often abused, but that does have its place here). Fueled by the connection with motorsport, worn by legends in cult movies, oddly cool and boldly designed, and with more than half a century of stories to tell, it has recently been presented in multiple iterations, including classic designs or audacious colours. Today, TAG Heuer is presenting what could be the most contemporary and technical take on its Monaco Chronograph in recent years, a version that reveals parts of the movement on the dial side and that plays on modern graphics to animate its display. Here’s the new TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton Chronograph.
If you exclude the highly technical V4 editions – deeply revamped models powered by a movement driven by belts, and with a different case shape – a unique piece in carbon made for Only Watch 2021, and the very exclusive “Riviera” edition, there’s never been a standard production TAG Heuer Monaco with a skeleton dial. The 2023 Monaco Skeleton Chronograph is thus an unprecedented take on a watch that we’ve seen for ages mostly with closed dials. And here, we’re certainly looking at the TAG (Technique d’Avant-Garde) side of the brand, not so much the Heuer side.
Released in the frame of the Monaco F1 Grand Prix that takes place this weekend in the Principality, TAG Heuer introduces a modern, highly architectural, graphic and colourful take on its emblematic chronograph. A disruptive addition to the collection that follows the strategy initiated by the brand with models such as the Monza Flyback or the Carrera 44mm. They all rely on historical collections and shapes, but the rest of these watches is clearly not about bringing a vintage vibe.
The Monaco Skeleton Chronograph remains true, however, to the classic shape and proportions of the model. The square case retains its usual dimensions – 39mm in width, 14.7mm in height and 47.4mm in length – and is made of grade 2 titanium. This enhances comfort on the wrist; the steel Monaco has always been on the heavy side. To bring modernity, the case, caseback, crown and pushers are entirely sandblasted. Classic design cues have been retained, such as the bevelled sapphire crystal on top and the elongated pushers on the side of the case – and a crown at 3 o’clock (yes, I kind of miss the left-side crown…) Despite being a fairly sizeable watch, this titanium Monaco Skeleton wears comfortably.
The dial is, as you’d expect from a watch named Skeleton, the main attraction here. One comment, however, this watch is more of an openworked model than a true skeleton, as we’re talking about a partial dial that reveals a slightly reworked movement. What matters is the work done on the dial, which has been opened in a bold and graphic manner, with sharp lines and angles. In the same vein, the sub-counters, usually rounded squares, are far more modern. Some elements remain true, such as the combination of a round seconds track within a square dial and the radially positioned indexes pointing towards the centre. Note that many elements of the dial have been coated in Super-LumiNova to enhance this graphic look at night. Like it or not, this is a watch that looks at the present and future, not a model meant to revive the past.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton is released in three editions: Original Blue, with a non-treated titanium case, a classic blue dial with white and red accents, a blue strap and blue accents on the column wheel and the oscillating mass engravings; Racing Red, again with a non-treated titanium case, a black dial red and white accents, a black strap and red column wheel and engravings on the rotor; and Turquoise, with a black DLC-coated case, a black strap, a black dial with turquoise-coloured accents and sub-dials, a colour also sported on the column wheel and rotor.
Inside the case is a slight evolution of the in-house, integrated automatic chronograph, calibre Heuer 02. Known for its comfortable power reserve of 80 hours, it beats at 4Hz and features a fine chronograph architecture with a column wheel and vertical clutch. Visible through the sapphire back, it is finished with Geneva stripes and, as mentioned above, touches of colour. The three models are worn on a bi-material strap, mixing rubber and embossed leather. These are closed by a sandblasted titanium grade 2 folding clasp with double safety pushbuttons.
The three editions of the TAG Heuer Monaco Skeleton Chronograph are released as part of the permanent collection (not limited) and are now available from the brand, boutiques and retailers. The Original Blue and Racing Red editions are priced at CHF 10,500, and the DLC-coated Turquoise edition at CHF 11,000. For more details, please visit www.tagheuer.com.