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In Depth Review- 2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique Edition

Over the last few years the TAG Heuer’s Monaco family tree has branched off into two distinct directions. On the one hand, we have heritage-themed models that remain faithful to the look and feel of the 70s original, such as the 2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 we showed you a few weeks ago- perfect for the traditionalist. But for those who favour avant garde rather than retro, we also have the modern Monaco family, made up of chronographs such as the Twenty-Four and LS. Based on the original Monaco V4 case shown in 2004, these models reinterpret the flat, square original into a three-dimensional design with a distinctive wrap-around crystal and demonstrate that the Monaco is not just a tip of the hat to (TAG) Heuer’s past.

And joining this modern brigade of Monacos is the subject of today’s in depth review- the 2015 Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique Edition.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionIt’s no secret that 2015 is something of a transition year for TAG Heuer as it looks to redefine its look and model range under the leadership of Jean-Claude Biver, but the new Monaco perhaps gives a few visual clues about how the series will evolve over the next few years.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique Edition

Design

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionThe Monaco Boutique Edition uses the same case as the Monaco LS below, meaning a 40.5mm diameter stainless steel case with a combination of polished and brushed surfaces. While early LS cases, had the engraved “TAG Heuer” branding on the bottom front of the case, more recent models have abandoned this for a simpler, more pleasing finish.

TAG Heuer Monaco LS Calibre 12Look a little more closely and you see that the dial layout of the two watches is the same: hour chronograph counter at 6 o’clock; minute chronograph counter at 9 o’clock and running second counter at 3 o’clock. The only difference is that the LS offered TAG Heuer’s “Linear System” (the 3 o’clock sub-dial above) and Rotating discs (6 and 9 o’clock above), where the new model uses conventional hands- and it’s a much cleaner, if less technical, look.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionThe hands are perhaps the only nod to the past, with the hour, minute and sub-dial hands each inspired by the design of the Monaco 1133B worn by Steve McQueen. While the black-tip minute and hour hands look sharp, it can be difficult to see the black triangle pointers against the black dial, a problem the black second hand solves with its red tip.

The 3 and 9 o’clock registers have an angled square frame, which work really well with the case design, even if their extended size means that there isn’t room for the same treatment at 6 o’clock.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionThe chronograph pushers rest on a fluted steel base, which again helps the perception of depth, even if they’re not strictly necessary.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionTurning to the side, you can see that the case depth is quite pronounced- this one won’t slip under your cuffs in the same way that a heritage Monaco will.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionOverall it’s a design that I liked the more that I wore the watch. I’ve always loved the Monaco 24/ LS case and this is probably the most “traditional” dial that we’ve seen used in this case design, and one that looks great with just a few red markers to set off the otherwise monochrome dial.

Probably the only change that I would consider is whether to do away with the 6 o’clock register entirely- as you can see below, it would give the watch an even cleaner look.

CAL2113 Modified by Calibre 11

Movement and Caseback

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionThe watch above is a prototype (hence the XXXXXX numbering), but shows the final caseback design. Sitting under the hood is a Calibre 12 movement- based on Sellita’s SW300 with a Dubois Depraz module.

On the Wrist

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionLike all the modern Monaco models, the Boutique Edition feels significantly larger than the heritage models. Sure, they are 1.5mm wider in diameter, but it’s the depth of the case that you really notice rather than the width.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionHelping the watch not feel too large is the new, textured calf-skin strap, which weighs a lot less than the steel bracelet offered on the Monaco LS. The new generation of TAG Heuer straps are a welcome change from the conventional alligator designs, and fit the personality of the watch perfectly.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique Edition

Price and Availability- Reference CAL2113

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique EditionExpect to see the new 2015 Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique Edition in the stores from July. As the name implied, you’ll only be able to see these at TAG Heuer’s Boutiques- authorised dealers miss out on the new Monaco.

Pricing is $6,950 in the US, compared to the Monaco LS which is priced at $8700. For those in Europe expect to pay EUR 6,250. How you think about that price will depend on your mindset. It’s more than a heritage-style Calibre 11 Monaco, but less than a Monaco LS or Monaco Twenty-Four.

2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Boutique Edition

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TAG Heuer Forum

TAG Heuer Forums

  • Philmo

    Nice effort, but call me old school if you like! I prefer less departure from the classic lines. The wrap around crystal at first appears pleasant but the secondary diffraction/reflection of dial markings I found irksome after a while. I would prefer the sub-dial square dishes in matt self colour and light markings, rather than contrasting silver with black. The textured button surrounds are also a distraction, but to be fair, provide some button and crown protection. I certainly couldn’t live with the LS.
    I find overall, of late, TAG Heuer have shifted just a little too far from classic engineering and fine design, congruent with high sporting endeavour, towards an eye-catching extreme. Is this a short term trend, followed in order to support the bottom line, rather than maintaining classic good lines with occasional subtle departures, within a long term perspective? Perhaps there’s scope for both, though I suspect not within one model range with such strong heritage. IMHO!

  • abrod

    At first I thought the new “Calibre 12” was an 1887 turned on its side with the crown & pushers moved to the right, which would be interesting to see in a Carrera. However, the fact that it’s a cheap Sellita movement that they want $7k for is ludicrous, especially considering that vintage grey-dial 1133s aren’t commanding much higher prices these days.