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TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Automatic Chronograph ACM Limited Edition
TAG Heuer have celebrated their relationship with the Automobile Club de Monaco by launching a new Monaco timepiece, the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Automatic Chronograph ACM Limited Edition.
Chatting to many of my male friends, it seems the notion of window shopping is something many of them find tedious. It would seem that looking in shop windows is ordinarily the preserve of females. However, I must be an exception to the rule because I love staring in a retailer’s window and perusing the items on display.
Recently, whilst in Lugano, I was engaging in my favourite form of window shopping, admiring timepieces in a jeweller’s window. My wife has grown increasingly interested in watches and pointing at a square timepiece, she remarked, “That is unusual”. She was pointing to a TAG Heuer Monaco and, compared with the ubiquitous round case watches which dominate the male watch market, she was quite right. The TAG Heuer Monaco was indeed a unique timepiece.
In 2013, TAG Heuer are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Carrera and here on ESCAPEMENT we have featured several models from the range including: Carrera Calibre 8 GMT and Grande Date Watch, CARRERA Calibre 36 Chronograph Flyback “Racing” (43mm), Carrera Calibre 17
However, whilst the media spotlight this year is on the Carrera, the charms of the Monaco should not be forgotten. It is a truly unique looking watch.
As worn on Steve McQueen’s wrist in "Le Mans"
The Monaco was the first square-cased timepiece to be water resistant and can trace its lineage to 1969, when the initial Monaco was launched. Later, Steve McQueen famously wore a Monaco in the octane-themed film, Le Mans, released in 1971.
Jack Heuer is synonymous with creating robust chronographs and therefore it should come as no surprise that the Monaco has always featured the stop watch complication.
Commemorating the marriage
In 2011, TAG Heuer and the Automobile Club de Monaco signed an agreement making the Swiss horology brand the ACM’s “Official Watch and Chronograph and Eyewear Partner” for the finest race on earth, the Grand Prix de Monaco.
There is arguably no finer race than the Grand Prix de Monaco where “the beautiful people” jostle for a view of brightly coloured race cars turning right at Sainte Devote and accelerating up the hill towards Massenet.
The marriage between TAG Heuer and the Automobile Club de Monaco seems logical. Many of the stars of Formula One, who have triumphed at the track in the glamorous principality, have famously worn TAG Heuer watches and have been TAG Heuer ambassadors.
This year, TAG Heuer have celebrated their relationship with the ACM by launching a new Monaco timepiece, the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Automatic Chronograph ACM Limited Edition.
A stealth-like appearance
This is the first black Monaco timepiece since 1974 and should generate excitement in those collectors who admire the charms of the square shaped timepiece. In recent years, the affection for the Monaco has reached new heights with rare models attracting high prices at auction in a feverish frenzy of collector interest.
The racing symbolism continues with the unique appearance of this latest model . The case material is F1-grade titanium carbide and bestows the watch with a stealth-like appearance. The material has a slight grain running vertically from north to south.
The push pieces are rectangular, projecting diagonally from the caseband. They have a polished finish which provides an alluring contrast with the restraint exhibited by the adjacent case material. The steel crown is faithful to the 1969 original and will sate the needs of many TAG Heuer purists.
Hours are conveyed with facetted, luminous indexes. They collaborate with the minute rail to provide user-friendly read-off.
The hour and minute hands are silver with luminous inlays, whereas the central chronograph seconds hand has an orange tip, enhancing legibility.
This timepiece has a very logical dial, with all functions displayed in an easy to interpret format.
Square shaped subdials, feature at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, displaying subsidiary seconds and 30-minute chronograph counter respectively. Their shape replicates the form of the case and further differentiates the watch from many other models on the market.
A date aperture resides at 6 o’clock completing the ensemble of functions presented.
The original Monaco featured the legendary Calibre 11 which is much sought after by TAG Heuer fans. However, this latest model features the Calibre 12 self-winding movement.
It has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz), is Swiss made and features 59 rubies. However, it is the presentation of the movement which particularly appeals to me. The oscillating weight is adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and perlage is visible on the bridges and mainplate.
The movement is visible via a smoked sapphire caseback adorned with the ACM logo. I applaud TAG Heuer for featuring the logo to the rear of the watch rather than corrupting the uncluttered dial. Some brands foolishly place logos on the dial at the expense of eye-appeal and legibility and it is pleasing to see that TAG Heuer have not made fallen into this marketing-fuelled trap.
Over the years, TAG Heuer have released various iterations of the Monaco and some have appealed to me more than others.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Automatic Chronograph ACM Limited Edition has many virtues to justify purchase. I recently placed one upon my wrist and I can report it sat comfortably on my wrist and despite its relatively diminutive size, compared with some timepieces, it looked sufficiently large on my arm.
- Model: TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Automatic Chronograph ACM Limited Edition
- Reference: CAW211M.FC6324
- Case: F1 grade titanium carbide; dimensions 39.00 mm x 39.00 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds; date; chronograph.
- Movement: Calibre 12, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 59 jewels; power reserve 40 hours
- Bracelet: Black leather perforated strap, lined with orange “Sahara” lining presented on a steel folding buckle with safety push buttons