It’s nice when a 50th birthday celebration doesn’t just begin and end in a single session at the buffet table. There are just too many stories to remember in the span of half a century. A week’s festivities shouldn’t be too much. TAG Heuer had a better idea for its Monaco watch: take a whole year, and put out a series of five limited edition Monacos with unique colorways to characterise each decade between its debut in 1969 to 2019 in the present day. For good measure, TAG Heuer even released a unique piece “Piece d’Art” Monaco that saw the company take out a Monaco watch from the TAG Heuer Museum and give it a thorough artisan makeover. Among other visual delights, this included punching a round window through the solid caseback to reveal a finely decorated Caliber 11 featuring two distinctive bridges hand-engraved with period-correct psychedelic type. Read all about the Piece d’Art Monaco here.
The Monaco has earned its VIP treatment by clocking a series of firsts in its illustrious history. These include the first water resistant watch in a square case; the first automatic chronograph; and it was worn in a race in 1970 by Jo Siffert, the first racing driver to be sponsored by a watch brand, Heuer.
The first of five limited edition commemorating the 1970s was presented in May at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. This was followed by the 1980s-inspired edition in June at Le Mans in France, the 1990s-inspired edition in July during the run-up to the Formula E Championships in New York, and the fourth limited edition (early 2000s edition) which debuted in Tokyo. The last of the five, marking the years 2009 to 2019, was recently unveiled in Shanghai, in an event attended by TAG Heuer’s brand ambassadors Cara Delevingne and Li Yifeng.
In designing the 2009-2019 Monaco, TAG Heuer’s intention was to encapsulate the “straightforward style and sleek design of luxurious everyday objects”. It chose to effect this by giving it a sandblasted stainless steel case with polished pushers. The charcoal-coloured sunray dial provides a high contrast backdrop for the subdials plated in rhodium with sunray finish. Markers and time hands are black gold plated, with ‘12’ marker, chronograph and sundial hands in bright red. It’s a handsome match with the perforated black calfskin strap with grey stitching.
The caseback is engraved with the “Monaco Heuer” logo as well as “2009-2019 Special Edition” and “One of 169”, being limited to said 169 pieces. It’s only right that the watch should be fitted with the Calibre 11, a modern version of the automatic-winding chronograph movement that was beating inside the original Monaco of 1969.
Automatic chronograph Calibre 11; 4 Hz; 40 hours power reserve
39 mm sandblasted steel case; sapphire crystal; water resistant to 100 meters; engraved caseback stating “2009-2019 Special Edition” and “One of 169”
Black calfskin leather strap with sandblasted folding clasp in stainless steel