With the Monaco Grand Prix set to take place this weekend, it’s time for Tag Heuer to launch a new version of their seminal square chronograph. Right on time we have the release of the Tag Heuer Monaco Skeleton, giving the iconic watch an open dial makeover that reveals its inner workings. This is the first time that the Monaco chronograph has been presented in skeletonised fashion, making this an important reference in the model’s history.
Let’s jump right to dial since that’s where the party is happening. Often times I can find myself being critical of skeleton dials because they lose a lot of the legibility and character of the original concept but I actually think this one has been executed really well. In essence, they’ve simply lifted away the area of empty dial from the original display, leaving all the subdials and scales in place where they would usually be. It means the watch loses very little readability and remains instantly recognisable even though the movement is now on display.
There are three colourways being produced, each celebrating a different era in the Monaco’s history. First is the blue and red version based on the 1969 prototype, it’s the most traditional of the colourways here and my personal favourite. Next is a black and red version loosely inspired by the “Dark Lord” edition from the late 70s, which they revived as a special edition for last year’s Monaco Grand Prix. Lastly there’s a more daring colourway with bright turquoise accents on a black base, this one is designed to look fresh and futuristic rather than looking back to a vintage reference.
The three colourways have the corresponding names of Original Blue, Racing Red and Turquoise. Evidently, they didn’t have a good adjective to accompany turquoise. Despite the differences in name, they all have 39mm square cases made from sand blasted titanium. Although the Turquoise goes a step further by having a black DLC coating – maybe someone should’ve pitched the name “Stealth Turquoise”. On second thoughts, maybe calling it just Turquoise is for the best.
As for the movement that’s on display, it’s the Calibre HEUER 02 Automatic, their flagship chronograph movement with a solid 80-hour power reserve. It features hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph seconds, 30-minute timer and 12-hour timer, the classic array of tricompax chronograph functions.
My main issue with the Tag Heuer Monaco Skeleton collection is the price: it’s CHF 10,500 for the Original Blue and Racing Red (approx. £9,380) while the Turquoise is CHF 11,000 (approx. £9,830). I’m not sure how to justify the skeletonised display and titanium case adding roughly £3,000 to the value compared with last year’s £6,800 GPHG awarded Gulf Edition in steel. In isolation I think the price is fine for these watches but within the context of the existing Monaco range, I’d rather go classic.
Price & Specs:
- Model: TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Skeleton
- Ref: CBL2182.FT6235 (blue/red), CBL2183.FT6236 (black/red), CBL2184.FT6236 (turquoise/red)
- Case/dial: 39mm diameter, titanium case, black DLC coating (turquoise/red), skeletonised dial
- Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
- Movement: Tag Heuer calibre Heuer 02, automatic
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 80h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
- Strap: Blue calfskin leather (blue/red), black calfskin leather (black/red), embossed black calfskin leather (turquoise/red) and additional rubber strap
- Price/availability: CHF 10,500 (approx. £9,380) (blue/red and black/red) and CHF 11,000 (approx. £9,830) (turquoise/red)
More details at Tag Heuer.
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