Monaco Gulf Limited edition.

Ultimate Guide to the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Series

Few modern TAG Heuer watches have left as much of an impression as the first time that I saw the Monaco Vintage (CW2118), which was released in 2005 as a limited edition of 4000 watches to mark what would have been the 75th birthday of Steve McQueen. It was an outrageous design: a crisp white dial (one of the first times a Monaco has been sold with a white dial) matched with bold blue and red stripes on the right hand-side of the dial and with red sub-dials and hands.

The design of course was based on the driving suit worn by Steve McQueen in the 1971 movie Le Mans, which is the movie that would eventually make the Monaco the iconic watch it is today.

The success of the Monaco Vintage meant that it was inevitable that other versions would follow, presenting TAG Heuer with the same dilemma that any watch company with a hit Limited Edition faces: How many Limited Edition versions with the same design theme can be made before the magic is lost?

Gulf II- Monaco CW211A

In 2007 the next Monaco Vintage was released (CAW211A), this time a black-dial watch with the iconic light blue and orange colours of Gulf Oil, the sponsors of the Porsche 917 driven by McQueen in Le Mans. Interestingly, the watch now carried the word “Gulf” above the date window instead of “Monaco”. Why this didn’t appear on the first Vintage model is perhaps because of the complex story behind the ownership of the Gulf Oil brand.

Up until its 1985 merger with Standard Oil, Gulf Oil was one of the world’s largest Oil companies. The Gulf brand survived the merger- but only as a shadow of its former self and as a retail-only brand. Today there are two Gulf companies- one in the US and one based in London called Gulf Oil International (“GOI”), which allows independent petrol stations to franchise the Gulf Brand. In exchange for paying their franchise fee, GOI builds awareness of the Gulf brand by sponsoring Motor Sports (Aston Martin at Le Mans) and allowing the logo to be used on clothes- and other products like the Monaco. The complexity behind who owns the name in which country apparently meant that TAG Heuer were unclear whether they’d be able to sell the original White Vintage in the US- a problem that was eventually sorted out.

The Black Vintage Monaco- also a Limited Edition of 4000 watches- is a nice design and a real contrast to the first. In particular, I like the detail orange stitching on the black leather strap and the design of the right-hand sub-dial, harking back to  the design of the Calibre 15 Monaco from the 1970s.

And to my mind, that is where the Monaco-with-stripes series should have ended: two distinct models, each highly collectible.

Gulf III- CAW2113

Monaco Gulf Limited edition.

Monaco Gulf Limited edition.

But in 2009, we got another striped Limited Edition Monaco (CAW2113), this time with a Grey/ metallic dial and the new Monaco Calibre 12 case (1mm larger than the previous Monaco; Sapphire Crystal; Clear caseback). As you can see below, the watch is broadly similar to the previous Black Vintage:

On its own, the “Grey Vintage” is a lovely watch and if we hadn’t already seen the design in white and black, I suspect I’d feel very different about the watch. But coming on the heels of two “Limited Edition” Striped Monaco series, it feels too derivative, a point made before at Calibre 11.

PCA Monaco

And so this week we see another Monaco-with-stripes, this time 55 watches being made to mark the 55th anniversary of the Porsche Club of America.

The PCA Monaco is based on the black Calibre 12 Monaco and uses a modified version of the leather strap found on the 40th anniversary Monaco, but this time with red stitching and a red inner-coating. The dial has a single broad red stripe with two smaller white stripes either side. In addition, there are red highlights used on the right-hand sub-dial, along with a single red sub-dial hand. Finishing off the design is the black “55” in a white circle.

With only 55 watches being made- probably all sold- I’m sure that this will be a collectible Monaco- I just wish that they had resisted the temptation to use yet another variation of the striped-dial theme that made the original Vintage Monaco so shocking, unique and memorable. I’m sure its tempting to keep this design theme going, but each version impresses me less than the one it replaces and surely it eventually devalues the “Limited Edition” nature of the original series.

So, come on TAG Heuer- no more striped Monaco Limited Editions…well, OK, maybe one more.



  • RT19

    The original Monaco Vintage Limited is my favorite Monaco – in fact, it's the version I own. Subtle, yet surprisingly eye-catching, and still works as a dress watch. The Gulf editions, while excellent renditions in their own rights, lose a bit of the specialness of the Vintage version.

  • DC

    Agree- I sold mine, but kind of wish that I didn't!

  • Sam

    Hi – Enjoy your site…learning a lot.

    I'm hoping someone on this site can help me. On the spur of the moment, without doing proper homework, I recently purchased a Vintage LE – but from a reputable dealer – because the style really struck me. However now I'm playing 'catch-up' to see what I purchased and have a few questions…What is the difference between a Vintage L. E. CW2118 & a Vintage LE CWA2118? I see both model numbers mentioned in this article.

    Also, I see sometimes it is mentioned that the Vintage had a run of 5000. and other places it mentiones a run of 4000?

    Can anyone help me fill in the blanks?


  • Sam

    Clarification – this article from Dec. 2009 mentions both the CAW2118 and the CW2118 –… –


  • DC

    Hi Sam- my mistake. There is only one version and that ref is CW2118. It was an LE of 4000 watches.

    Apologies for the confusion


  • Gareth Evans

    I have a CAW2113 Grey Gulf was this a limited edition?

    • DC

      It was- Limited Edition of 5000 watches.


  • Gareth Evans

    Thanks for your reply DC,but looking at the rear of my CAW2113 it states 1728/2500 were there 2 runs of the watch?

  • DC

    Hi Gareth. I did a bit more digging- turns out that the initial plan was for a LE run of 5,000 but somewhere along the line this was reduced to 2,500. Sorry for the wrong info.


  • Gareth Evans

    Thanks form your help and info


  • discogrip

    hello im after the the Tag Monaco Vintage (CW2118) white face! what year did they release it? and can you still buy this watch new anywhere?


  • DC

    Hi Disco,

    2005 for the White-dial Monaco. Don't think that you'll find any new ones in the stores, but I've seen some on eBay and they do come up for sale on various sales forums every so often.


  • Justin

    Here's one from John's Watches from eBay. Reputable US seller, however have seen them go for less than the asking price. Never the less (link)

  • Alex

    When did the Monaco go from plexiglass to glass face? I'm confused because the above text appears to say 2009. Is that correct?

  • DC

    Yes, Alex- 2009 models generally have plexi; 2010 models generally have crystal.

    The easiest way to tell is by the movement. Calibre 17 Monaco = plexi; Calibre 12 Monaco = crystal


  • Juan

    Hi DC,

    I like watches a whole bunch and just purchased a CW2118 from a pawnshop. There are no box or papers and I am on a business trip. They had the watch listed at $1800 but was able to haggle it down a bit. I am now worries about the authenticity of the watch. I own a couple rolex and one panerai. I love watches and was certain this was real. I am now concerned…are there any dead give aways on determining authenticity. I expressed my concern and the pawn shop said they would listen to me.

    Back case read CW2118 on the left side / right side LJ8241

    numbered 1563 / 4000

    Thanks for your help

    Juan Antonio R

  • Juan

    I apologize for the horrible grammar. I am freaking out right now and hope I wasn't fooled on this one.

    Thanks again!

  • DC

    No problem Juan- watch looked fine to me.


  • Philmo

    Forgive my lack of experience in things Monaco, but isn't the 2007 black dial Gulf a CW211A?

    My understanding is that the CAW211A is the blue dial 40th Anniversary Cal 11 Monaco.

    Or do I have my underwear twisted?

  • PJS

    Your correct Philmo,

    The Monaco Vintage Gulf reference is CW211A.FC6228 and the Monaco 40th Anniversary reference is CAW211A.EB0026.

    Not sure about your underwear though need to check that yourself lol



  • DC

    Thanks Philmo- good spot.


    what is the current value in £ sterling for a cw2118

    • calibre11

      Not sure John- just took a look on eBay and see that someone wants US$6400 for one…that’s very optimistic in my view