Another thrilling Formula 1 race through the streets of Monte Carlo is behind us. What left beside great memories are three official chronographs of the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix. New Monaco ACM Calibre 12, Hauer Monaco McQueen Calibre 11 and Monaco Twenty-Four McQueen Calibre 36 watches come in limited editions, paying homage to the brand’s partnership with the Automobile Club de Monaco.
Along with these stunning reinterpretations of the brand’s iconic model, Tag Heuer launched the Carrera Calibre 16 Chronograph Monaco Grand Prix Limited Edition that I have already reviewed. Although this is my absolute favorite, there is no doubt that Monaco watches will find their avid fans. Beside the Carrera, I would like Monaco Twenty-Four McQueen Calibre 36 (Ref. CAL5111) to be a part of my personal collection.
Just like the previous two versions of Monaco Twenty-Four model, this is an amazing timepiece with a wonderful wrap-around sapphire crystal glass and a unique two-part see-through dial. Striking blue color of the dial nicely matches the stitching on an elegant, dark blue leather strap, while white stripes and oversized number 24 at the 12 o’clock position bring a strong doze of sportiveness. Two semi sub-dials that provide a unique aesthetic look indicate minutes and seconds, while the aperture at the 6 o’clock position displays date.
An over-sized sapphire crystal that covers a case-back opens a clear view at the Calibre 36 self-winding movement. This superb mechanism with the chronometer certification oscillates at the high frequency of 36’000 vibrations per hour, providing around 50 hours of power-reserve. Thanks to the Advanced Dynamic Absorber system, inspired by F1 racecar technology, the mechanism has the great protection against jolts and vibrations. The manifold arms gather vibrations and divert them away from the mechanism into the composite filter.
Tag Heuer did the exquisite job with a case of each new model. The harmonious combination of brushed and polished surfaces, including highly polished crown and pushers look truly amazing. The case of the new Monaco Twenty-Four watch with the diameter of 40.5mm is a bit larger than standard models, which looks even better on the wrist.
Monaco ACM Calibre 12 Chronograph
Based on the Black McQueen Monaco Calibre 12, the ACM Monaco (Ref. CAW211K) comes with some distinctive elements, such as the ACM logo above the date aperture at the 6 o’clock position, revised hands and orange detailing instead of red. An elegant, black leather strap with a soft-touch comes with orange stitching that echoes the color of chronograph hands.
The iconic square-shaped case has the standard diameter of 39 mm and it is beautified with wonderful brushed/polished finishes. The case is protected with sapphire crystal on both sides, thus providing a Calibre 12 to be seen from the back-side. This self-winding mechanism now comprises a Sellita base movement (instead of ETA 2892 base) with a Dubois-Depraz Chronograph module. It beats on the 4 Hz frequency and works around 42 hours when it is fully wounded. Along with basic timekeeping functions, the Calibre 12 insures the precise counting of elapsed minutes and seconds. The Monaco ACM Calibre 12 Chronograph comes in a numbered limited edition of 1,200 pieces.
Monaco McQueen Calibre 11 Chronograph
The Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Chronograph (Ref. CAW211D) is another stunning reinterpretation of the brand’s iconic model that reached the worldwide popularity at the wrist of Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans. Vertical white stripes on a racing suit that he wore in the movie served as the inspiration for the design of a stylish blue dial. Beside the fact that they look great on the blue-white surface, striking red hands are highly functional, allowing the quick reading of time. The dial also features the monochrome printed HEUER logo at the 12 o’clock, two sub-dials at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, as well as the date indicator at the 6 o’clock position.
Unlike previously reviewed models, the new Monaco Heuer Calibre 11 Chronograph has the crown at the left side of a 39 mm case, which gives the watch a more balanced appearance. A dark blue perforated leather strap is a nice reinterpretation of vintage blue straps, used onMonaco watches from the 1970s. The case-back is covered with anti-reflective sapphire crystal that reveals Calibre 11 self-winding mechanism. Nicely decorated with Cotes de Geneve, this movement oscillates at the frequency of 28’000 vibrations per hour and has the solid power-reserve of 42 hours.
Although signature elements of Monaco Collection do not allow big experiments with design, the Swiss watchmaker manages to surprise us each time with subtle changes that keep us interested with these great vintage timepieces. Without any doubt, Tag Heuer will not change this strategy in the upcoming years, especially after it has strengthened the link with the Monaco Grand Prix, by signing the sponsorship contract with the ACM in 2011.