For those unfamiliar, the original Monaco was developed by Heuer in 1969 at the end of a watch manufacturers’ “arms race” to produce the world’s first automatic chronograph. Heuer, along with Breitling, Hamilton-Buren, and Dubois-Dépraz, came together as the Chronomatic Group to produce the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Replica Watches movement, and shortly thereafter began to place the revolutionary movement in as many new chronographs as possible. Among them was the Monaco, which soon received an extra boost in fame by being the featured watch on McQueen’s wrist in the 1971 auto racing film Le Mans.
The most recent iteration of the Monaco is the vintage re-creation, the Calibre 11. This watch uses a square, 39-mm steel case with angled chronograph pushers, and an extremely noticeable left-side facing crown to accommodate the automatic Swiss TAG Heuer Calibre 11 Watches— the brand’s modern version of the famed vintage movement. On the matte blue dial are applied, horizontal hour markers; a date window at the 6 o’clock position; and the watch’s printed name and vintage corporate logo at the 12 o’clock mark. It uses two square subdials for a 30-minute counter and running seconds, and silver hour and minute hands featuring white and red accents. The movement is visible through a sapphire caseback, and holds a 40-hour power reserve, and the entire watch is strapped up on a black leather racing bracelet with a vintage-style “HEUER” buckle.
Comparing it to its vintage predecessor, there is little to note in the way of differences; so many aspects are shared between the historical reference and its modern version. With the left-side crown, the vintage logo, and the dial colors, this modern watch has done well to honor its forbear. The only real changes are in the modern materials, finishing practices, and movement. The case construction is of a higher quality, the edges of the piece seem somewhat more refined, and the modern watch, notably, has a sapphire caseback not seen on the vintage model. Lastly, the main flaw with the vintage piece was in its movement. While the Luxury Tag Heuer Watches Chronomatic group did become the first Swiss company to mass-produce the automatic chronograph movement, that movement soon needed to be updated and adjusted because it was incredibly fragile. The modern watch obviously does not use this movement, and instead opted to apply the historical name to a watch with a thoroughly different caliber.