New Releases Watches

Tag Heuer Add Split-Seconds Chronograph to Monaco Collection

Tag Heuer Monaco Split Seconds

It’s such a shame that Only Watch dropped the ball last year (the charity auction of 1-of-1 watches was cancelled) because it has had compounding effects on the rest of the watch world. The exciting concept watches that were announced last year but not sold now sit in limbo while the watches inspired by them are getting revealed and sold ahead of them. Case in point, the new Tag Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph, the core collection version of Tag Heuer’s Only Watch 2023 offering.

Tag Heuer Monaco Split Seconds
Tag Heuer Monaco Split Seconds

Let’s not take anything away from Tag Heuer here. I’m sure they more than anyone would like to be introducing this watch with news that the Only Watch version raised £XXX,XXX for charity in order to build hype and anticipation for the launch. However, that simply isn’t the case and it’s not their fault. Fortunately, the new Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph is very cool and should have no trouble building excitement on its own.

Tag Heuer Monaco Split Seconds

It’s a 41mm watch with the classic Monaco square design made entirely from titanium, giving it incredible lightweight properties thanks to the metal’s high strength to density ratio. There are two editions being produced, a blue one where the case is presented in brushed grey metal and a red version coated with black DLC for an extra scratch resistant and cool finish. The crown and chronograph pushers are matched with the cases for a cohesive aesthetic.

Tag Heuer Monaco Split Seconds

Moving to the dial, it’s practically identical to the style of the Only Watch edition, being partially skeletonised with large X shaped bridges and large square subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock. It’s a very technical, industrial look for the Monaco, a strong contrast to its typical vintage slant. The red edition has black chronograph subdial and a combination of red and rhodium-plated hands. Then, the blue version mixes things up by making those prominent X bridges blue. It also has blue and rhodium hands and white subdials while retains the red tips on the hour and minute hands as well as the hour markers.

Tag Heuer Monaco Split Seconds Caseback

The movement that can be seen though the openworked dial and exhibition caseback is the TH81-00, built by Tag Heuer in partnership with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. It’s a brand-new calibre that debuted in the Only Watch model but this is the first time it will be more available. Although it still won’t be a common movement considering that it’s a split-seconds chronograph, one of the most complex and prestigious types of chrono.

Tag Heuer Monaco Split Seconds

It’s equipped with two central chronograph seconds hands that are operated concurrently but can be stopped independently, allowing the watch to time multiple events simultaneously. Great for timing laps or multiple races. It’s a complication Tag Heuer are well experienced with, having produced split-seconds stopwatches for the majority of the 20th century and a quartz split-seconds wristwatch in 1989. Although the TH81-00 is by far the most exciting being a mechanical movement with automatic winding and a 65-hour power reserve (55 with chrono on) and hi-beat 5 Hz frequency.

Tag Heuer Monaco Split Seconds

Both versions of the Tag Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph are priced at 165,000 CHF (approx. £142,750). Unsurprisingly that makes them the most expensive Monacos in Tag Heuer’s existing range by a margin of over £130,000. However, the haute horological complication and high tech materials go a long way towards justifying that. I do think it would be nice to see a closed dial edition with the more traditional Monaco display but I can also appreciate the technical aspect of these watches. Plus it’s just nice to see the brand stepping up its haute horological game outside of a piece unique.

Price and Specs:

Model: Tag Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph
Ref: CBW2181.FC8322 (red), CBW2182.FC8339 (blue)
Case: 41mm diameter, titanium (with or without black DLC coating)
Dial: Skeletonised
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Tag Heuer calibre TH81-00, automatic, 28 jewels
Frequency: 36,000 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 65h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, split-seconds chronograph
Strap: Handstitched red or blue calfskin leather with titanium butterfly folding clasp
Price: CHF 165,000 (approx. £142,750)

More details at Tag Heuer.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.