While it might be the 60th anniversary of the Carrera, Tag Heuer have by no means forgotten about what is arguably their most famous chronograph, the Monaco. The square shape, matching square subdials and signature racing livery colourways make it supremely attractive and collectible. Now, Tag Heuer has unveiled the latest special edition, the Monaco Racing Blue, celebrating the motorsport heritage of France.
If you take a look back at the history of racing livery, the ethos regarding what colours should be used has changed over time. In modern racing most cars feature team or sponsor colours but going further back, cars tended to feature their national colours. That’s where we get British racing green, Italian red and German silver from. For France though, their national colour is a vibrant blue as seen on historic racers like the Bugatti Type 35 and at the Circuit Paul Ricard – it’s this shade of blue that the Monaco Racing Blue is inspired by.
As such, the bi-compax chronograph subdials (consisting of small seconds and a 30-minute timer) are bright blue. A colour that is matched by the perforated leather strap and blue dot hour markers. It’s an interesting choice to have the primary colour of the watch be present on relatively small portions of the display rather than across the entire dial, which would emphasise the colour more, at least on paper. However, by concentrating the blue into specific areas its vibrancy is more apparent – preventing it from becoming either diluted or overpowering if the whole dial was the same colour.
As is, the rest of the dial is sunray brushed silver, giving the piece a quasi-industrial vibe. Although maybe I’m just thinking industrial in a building worksite sense because of the hi-vis yellow chronograph hand in the centre and yellow baton marker at 12 o’clock. To my understanding there’s no thematic reason for the yellow, it’s just a colour that compliments the blue and adds an extra layer of vibrancy, which it does very well.
Outside of the new dial, there’s not too much more going on that we haven’t seen before. A 39mm square case in blasted titanium provide plenty of light weight durability and inside it houses the Calibre 11 Automatic. The Calibre 11 is base Sellita SW300-1 a with a 40-hour power reserve and hour, minute, chronograph seconds, small seconds, 30-minute timer and date complications.
For me, the most exciting thing about the Tag Heuer Monaco Racing Blue is what it implies might be coming in future, particularly because they’ve already released the Racing Red Skeleton. If they were ever to release a Racing Green edition in celebration of British racing green, I would fall over myself trying to get one – much as I imagine the French are excited by the Racing Blue. Although with only 1,000 pieces available, getting hold of one might be tricky. But then again, at a price of £8,050 it is one of the most expensive non-skeleton Monacos available currently.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Tag Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue
- Ref: CAW218C.FC6548
- Case/dial: 39mm, titanium case, silver sunray brushed dial, blue opalin subdials, lime yellow lacquered central hand
- Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
- Movement: Tag Heuer calibre 11, automatic
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 40h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
- Strap: Blue perforated calfskin
- Price/availability: £8,050, limited edition of 1,000 pieces