Chase The Blues Away with the Rub Of The Green – Introducing the new TAG Heuer Monaco Green Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition
Editor’s note: Like you, we have also been excited for the releases from the Watches & Wonders 2021. And while it may be over, brands still have a few aces up their sleeves for this year. Before we get to dive deep into the releases and go hands-on with as many of these as the two of us here can, here’s our preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the new TAG Heuer Monaco Green Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
My gut reaction on finding out that a new Monaco is being released with a green dial was of curiosity. Not because it was green; heck every other timepiece these days seems to be green. And it ain’t that I am complaining, it is after all a welcome change from last year’s blue overdose. I was curious because I personally own the 1969-79 LE Monaco from 2019’s 50th anniversary. And besides the rather rare Geneve stripes pattern, I particularly like it for the green dial. So my curiosity was essentially to find out whether it was similar to the one I own or not.
Thankfully, the new TAG Heuer Monaco Green Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition charters its own course, with a beautiful fume-like sun-ray emerald green dial. It is as if the brains at H. Moser & Cie presented their take on the iconic Monaco. The new version is youthful, fresh, bright, and manages to set itself apart from the existing Monaco lineup.
Usually, I wouldn’t call a new limited edition Monaco disruptive; after all, it was only in 2019 that the brand released 5 different iterations to celebrate the iconic watch’s 50th anniversary. Or even closer to date, last year the brand also released a couple of new Monacos that boasted of a new appearance — introduction of a permanent seconds sub-dial at 6’o clock — and a technological first for the brand in terms of an in-house manufacture movement, the calibre Heuer 02.
But the bright gradient green dial adds an air of whimsical eccentricity to the mix; it brings a design from the 70s to the modern era, miraculously retaining the vintage charm but infusing an element of contemporary funk.
The dial for 2021 is on point, embracing the green-theme trend set by the plethora of releases from this year’s Watches & Wonders. In a global economy that took a beating last year thanks to the virus, this green trend should see the watch industry flourishing like a green bay tree. It’s like starting to see green shoots, a vitalisation of the industry that’s much needed. And if the online chatter on forums is anything to go by, this interest in green watches is sure here to stay.
The sunray-brushed dial has a dégradé treatment to it, with light green in the centre to dark green to almost black on the edges. Besides honouring the green dials of this year, it is also influenced by the “famous covered portion of the Monaco Grand Prix track preceding the chicane by the port”. The green theme is also continued onto the back of the watch, with the engraved markings on the oscillating weight and the column wheel of the Heuer 02 movement that is now coloured in green.
Best of both worlds
I would say that the new TAG Heuer Monaco Green Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition is a mixture of:
- 2019 TAG Heuer Monaco Limited Edition 1969-1979 (reference: CAW211V.FC6466)
- and last year’s red and beige Monaco ref. CBL2114.FC6486 that was again released to mark the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
While the supercharged red on the dial of the latter had been beautifully punctuated by the use of silvery-white, the stunning green on the new version is punctuated by the bold black counters. In terms of the case design, the new TAG Heuer Monaco Green also features the pushers on the right side along with the crown — like the calibre 12 designs — in contrast to the pushers being on the left (like the iconic calibre 11 designs).
In essence, the Heuer 02 movement meets the design language set by the 2019 TAG Heuer Monaco Limited Edition, creating magic on the wrist.
The new model has been released to celebrate the appointment of TAG Heuer as the official sponsor and timekeeper of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique by the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM). The Swiss brand already had the privilege of being the Official Watch of the Monaco Grand Prix and the Official Watch Partner of the Monaco Top Cars Collection museum.
The biannual Grand Prix de Monaco Historique weekend — 23rd April to 25th April 2021 — is one of the highlights of the classic-car racing calendar, and its passionate community of owners, drivers and spectators relish the spectacle of historic Grand Prix racing and love the warm spirit and camaraderie around the circuit. More than 200 Grand Prix cars representing 50 different car makers enter each event. Selected for their historical value and degree of originality, they compete in seven series spanning the periods from the 1930s to the 1970s. Drivers from more than 21 countries took part in the 2018 edition.
The new TAG Heuer Monaco Green Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition is being launched to mark the collaboration and these races.
“A deep green, a rare and modern interpretation of a maverick design”The press release summarises this in a nutshell
Why Monaco’s Rule
We all know how the original Monaco had come about as a result of the race between three watch brands — Seiko, Zenith, and a partnership between Breitling, Heuer and Hamilton-Buren — that wanted to be the first ones to introduce to the world an automatic chronograph. Then in 1969, Jack Heuer gave the world its first square-shaped automatic chronograph watch. We also know how in 1971 the watch became a cult icon when it was worn by none other than Steve McQueen, the King of Cool, in the movie Le Mans; and the rest is history.
But personally, I have a soft spot for Monacos; not only thanks to the McQueen connection but also due to the design architecture. There is a world of awesomeness that the Heuer Monaco encapsulates.
The Monaco watch, even though universally acknowledged as a square watch — 39mmx39mm — is in fact not a complete square. It is the raised sapphire crystal glass that is almost a perfect square (even though it’s got a slight inwards curve at the 6 and 12’o clock sides) and visually lends most of the square look from a distance. But if look carefully, the case that is basically one monolithic chunk of stainless steel that houses the movement is actually an irregular quadrilateral. These curved sides of the Monaco bring a certain fluidity to the case, instead of a fixed & rigid perfect square.
I would recommend first trying out any Monaco watch in person. The size of 39x39mm might come off as a bit big especially for anyone under 16cm wrist size, yet there is a certain charm and unique personality to these and that’s hard to resist.
Since we are looking at the Monaco’s in general, let’s first briefly look at calibre 11 and see how it is different.
Calibre 11 is an automatic chronograph movement based on a Sellita SW300-1 with a Dubois-Depraz — the original movement partners on this watch — module on top. Like the original 1133B, the modern Heuer Calibre 11 rotates the base movement 180-degrees to achieve that unique look of the pushers being on right and the crown on the left. The Calibre 11 movement comprises of 59 jewels & beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’000 A/h) allowing for a decent standard of 40-hour power reserve.
The new TAG Heuer Monaco Green Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition reference CBL2116.FC6497 on the other hand features the newer TAG Heuer Automatic Calibre Heuer 02 automatic manufacture chronograph movement.
This updated in-house movement measures 31mm in diameter, is comprised of 33 jewels and 168 individual components including a column wheel and a vertical clutch, beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), and is encased inside a fine-brushed and polished 39mm diameter steel case.
One of the major benefits of this new movement is that it offers an impressive 80-hour power reserve.
The movement is encased inside a 39x39mm polished and fine-brushed stainless-steel case with a domed and bevelled sapphire crystal and offers a 100m (10 ATM) water resistance.
The star of the show is the green sunray-brushed dial featuring a black minute chronograph counter at 3’o clock with a complementary black hour chronograph counter and a green permanent seconds indicator at 6’o clock. The timepiece is pretty legible thanks to the rhodium-plated applied indexes and hour/minute hands with white Super-LumiNova®.
Completing the package is a black alligator leather strap with a steel folding clasp with double safety push-buttons and decorated with the TAG Heuer shield. The Monaco I have features the same deployant clasp and from personal experience, it is one of the easiest clasps to use.
I kind of wish the brand has retained from the ref. CBL2114.FC6486 the added nod to the watch’s link in this collaboration in the form of a small silver historic car logo of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique at 1’o clock.
It was a nice little detail that could have set these limited editions apart from numerous others.
Another gripe is the use of TAG Heuer and not simply Heuer at 12’o clock. I am sure the purists will agree that the branding of only Heuer like on the 50th-anniversary versions would have been a much better choice.
That’s All Folks!
Pedro Calderon de la Barca, the famed 17th century Spanish dramatist once said: “Green is the prime colour of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises”. The new TAG Heuer Monaco Green Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition is an embodiment of this quote.
The rich green base with its sun-ray effect that dances under natural lighting manages to elevate the charm of this legendary square-shaped chronograph, raising its loveliness to unmatched handsomeness.
To find out more about the new TAG Heuer Monaco Green Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Limited Edition and other TAG Heuer watches, please head here. All images unless stated otherwise are ©TAG Heuer. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.