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Hands on Review- TAG Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Racing

Following on from the “full-black” Twenty Four Gulf, TAG Heuer has released a second version of the Monaco with the floating dial- called the Monaco Twenty Four Racing.

Calibre 11 showed you the first photos of the watch in April, but those were quick shots grabbed through a glass case in Basel- here for the first time are detailed shots of the watch along the rest of the Monaco family.

While I love the vintage look of the original Monaco and the re-editions that have followed, to me the watch would stagnated unless a new-look was developed- a design as modern and bold as the original was back in 1969. And there is no doubt that the Twenty-Four fits that description.


The story behind the original Monaco is well known- it was a purposefully “out there” design launched in 1969 to attract attention to the then-new Chronomatic Calibre 11 movement that would power the Heuer range through the 1970s.

After a period in hiatus, the watch was brought back in 1997 and is now one of the core models in the line. Below from clockwise, you see the Heuer Monaco 1133B (1971), Monaco Twenty Four Racing (2011), Monaco Calibre 11 Vintage (2010), Monaco Calibre 17  re-edition (2003) and the Monaco Calibre 11 Chronograph (2011)

The basic design of the original watch continues on both today’s re-edition model and on the Twenty Four- the square case shape, circular inner “dial”, bi-compax layout and sword-shaped hands.

While the 2011 Calibre 11 (centre below) is faithful to the original design, the Twenty-Four simply takes the key character of the watch and wraps them into a modern design.

Monaco Twenty Four Design

The Twenty-Four Racing (Reference CAL5112.FC6298) is essentially the same watch as the 2010 Monaco 24 Gulf, but with a stainless steel case (40.5mm) and a different colour dial.

It’s not an overly large watch- 40.5mm- but it does wear larger than that due to the thickness of the case. The leather strap is reinforced where it meets the lugs, meaning that the watch doesn’t feel too top-heavy.

The dial is an anthracite (Grey/ Silver) colour with a fantastic grained finish on the central section of the dial.

I love the subtle orange highlights used to bring a splash of colour- the “shock absorbers”, the Central chronograph hand and “half” of the sub-dial hands are finished in the same Orange colour.

The reverse side of the strap is also finished with an Orange rubber material and stitching. As regular readers will be sick of me saying, while the strap is perfectly nice, I don’t think that Crocodile leather is the right material for the strap- it’s just not high-tech and sporty enough to match the rest of the watch.

Movement- Calibre 36

The Twenty-Four Racing uses the Calibre 36, which is an El Primero movement sourced from Zenith. TAG Heuer add the unique rotor and shock absorbers to make the movement as much of a feature of the watch as the dial. Normal clear-casebacks, such as the Monaco Calibre 11 below right, look great, but have nowhere near the impact as the “widescreen” caseback of the Twenty-Four.

It really does look cool- you’ll spend as much time looking at the back as you will the front

 TAG Heuer Monaco 24 Racing CAL5112- Price and Availability

The Monaco Twenty-Four Racing will be available from November 2011 with an Australian price of around A$15,000- which is in line with last years’ Twenty-Four Gulf.

Also like the Twenty-Four Gulf, the Racing will not be a numbered limited edition, but will only be made in small numbers.

In Summary

CAL5112.FC6298_packshot_Monaco_HD (2)The Twenty-Four Racing has a different character to the Gulf model- its a lot more subdued that the Black and Striped Gulf version- which some people will like, and some won’t- it’s more my style than the Gulf version.

But irrespective of the colours, the basics of the Monaco 24 remain- a fantastic case design with its unique floating dial, wrap-around crystal and exposed movement. It’s an expensive watch, but you do get something very different to the standard model, plus you get the fantastic Calibre 36 movement.

Probably the best way to look at the Twenty-Four Racing is as a budget version of the Monaco V4 rather than a premium version of the standard Monaco- and when you look at it that way, the Twenty-Four Racing makes a lot of sense.



  • Apart from the very exotic/one-off Monaco models (v4 etc) I think this is one of my favourite Monaco variants – thanks for the great pics!

  • WOW, Great post and pics!

  • Justin

    I too much prefer this more than the Gulf themed Monaco 24. Great to see the El Primero movement in it's full glory.

    However, there is one thing that I'm still yet to figure out with the Monaco 24 series – which chronograph subdial indicates what? The main second hand is obvious, the LHS chrono (1/100th but how?) and RHS (minutes). Please correct me if I'm wrong.



    • DC

      Hi Justin,

      Running seconds on the 9 o'clock (time) and 30- minute Chrono. counter at 3 o'clock.


  • Cowboy Bebop

    Hi, David, nice articles as always, I just picked up the PVD Monaco 24 from Tourneau today, it's safe to say I won't be seeing the above piece in my collection anytime soon. Also, remember how I said I like the bold look… I'm so happy with the PVD Monaco 24.

  • LostInTime

    Wow, great looking watch. IMO, this looks much better than the black racing-striped version; it is elegant in it's simple colour pattern. That gray/gunmetal colour face is the perfect shade of grey and would look good with much of my clothing…..

  • jmash77

    For me, it's the caseback that's the highlight of this stunning watch. It allows the Calibre 36 to really show off. Too bad it's a little out of my price range! 🙂
    Once again, great article DC…

  • tman

    Do the shock absorbers actaully work ? or are they mostly for cosmetic appeal?

  • DC

    When the prototype was released TAG Heuer claimed that the shock absorbers protected the movement from a 65 foot drop, compared to 3 feet for standard watches.

    So, yes, they're there for a reason. Maybe they'll lend me one to test from 60 feet….


  • wynonie

    Great review as ever David. I think the colour scheme for this is stunning and I can't wait to see one in the flesh.

    I've now seen a pic of the blue 24 due to be released at the end of the year and its pretty awesome too.

  • DC

    You're a step ahead of me- I haven't seen a photo, only heard about it. Anyway, hopefully we won't have to wait too long.


  • E. James

    I just got one of this as a Xmas gift but the comes with a silver background and it also doesn't come with computer times at the bottom. How much does this go for anyway?

  • E. James

    I meant it didn't come with digital timing at the bottom of the watch screen.

  • DC

    Hi- do you mean the date window at the bottom of the dial? (showing 27 28 29 in the photo above)

    Afraid that if your watch doesn't have the date window, then there'd be questions marks over whether it was an original TAG Heuer.


  • EL

    Hi David
    I'm a new reader of your blog. Impressive, and I admit that this article inspired me to take the leap and buy this watch. Crazy thing happened though, the day after I picked up the watch I noticed that the long second finger would not align at 12 once the chrono was reset. Day 2 the finger fell off. I sent it back for replacement but was really surprised as it seemed to be a manufacturer defect. Any thoughts on this?
    Anyway, your vast knowledge on heuer and TH is great, appreciate your insights.

  • EL, assuming that you bought this watch new and from an authorised dealer? If so, there is no way that a hand falling off should happen with a new watch- whether its a $500 watch or a $15,000 watch.

    Lining up with the 12 should also not be a problem with the Calibre 36 movement.

    Good luck in getting it fixed.


  • EL

    Thank you David. Your assumptions are correct. The retailer said that the mis alignment may happen if the chrono is on for too long, true?