The Monza is a watch that has had two lives: it formed part of the TAG Heuer re-edition range in the early 2000s and was on sale for 5 years before being phased out. The Monza then returned in 2011 as a Limited Edition model- a different dial to the earlier model, but an identical case.
While a popular watch with buyers, the die-hard collectors always had a bit of a problem with the Series, because while the Heuer Monza of the mid-1970s was a loved part of Heuer’s Chronomatic range, that watch looks nothing like the Monza re-edition.
To further confuse matters, the watch that lent its design to the Monza actually came from the 1930s, a fact that TAG Heuer didn’t really publicise first time around, meaning that many people- yours truly included- thought that the Monza re-edition was based on the Heuer Camaro.
As you’ll see, the Monza is notable for the high-end versions of the watch- not just the Calibre 36 Chronograph models, but several Yellow Gold and Rose Gold versions.
Origins of the Monza
Above you see the 2000 Monza with its long-lost grandfather from the 1930s. You can read more about this early one-button chronograph here.
But to most Heuer collectors, the “Monza” is this watch below- a black PVD special edition of the Heuer Carrera.
The first of the “new” Monza series released was the CR2111 you see above, available with a white or black dial. This first series did not have the Monza name on the dial- nor a TAG Heuer Logo- simply “Heuer”.
Interestingly, the second hand of the watch changed between the time that the catalogue photos were taken and the time that the watch hit the shops- you will never see a CR2111 Monza with the sweeping second hand shown above.
TAG Heuer Monza
After the initial re-edition series, TAG Heuer continued with the Monza, adding both “Monza” and “TAG Heuer” to the dial, and introducing several new versions. Most notable in the Chronograph range were these two Gold Monzas- the first in Yellow Gold
…and the second in Rose Gold. Both watches had limited availability, with the Rose Gold being the one that I would go for- the yellow Gold version being, well, too yellow.
Monza Calibre 6
As the same time that the Monza got a TAG Heuer logo, a second version of the watch was announced- the Monza watch with the Automatic Calibre 6 (ETA 2895-1) movement.
While the watch had a similar case to the Chronograph, the dial was a lot simpler, as you’d expect from a three-hand watch. Like other models in the Monza range, the Calibre 6 also came in a Rose Gold model, which you see below.
Monza Calibre 36
Sitting on top of the Monza range was the Calibre 36 Chronograph, a special edition of the watch with the famous COSC El Primero movement. The Calibre 36 Monza also used a Flinque-finish on the dial, as well as having two distinct sub-dial patterns- the 3 and 9 o’clock registers having a square outline, while the 6 o’clock register had a circular outline.
Note also that the Calibre 36 Monza also uses a different design of Chronograph pusher than the standard Calibre 17 model (have to say, that I prefer the pushers on the Calibre 17) and has a sapphire caseback to show off the movement.
Finally, there was also a Rose Gold Calibre 36 Monza, which like the Calibre 6 version, had a highly detailed dial. While the mix of patterns is quite effective on the Calibre 6 watch, it all looks a little busy on the Chronograph- there is a lot going on, with different shapes for the sub-dials as well as two types of patterning on the dial.
The Return of the Monza
In 2011 TAG Heuer re-released the Monza Calibre 36, this time with a 1930s- style dial. You can read more about the new Monza re-edition here.
The Second Return of the Monza
At Baselworld 2016, TAG Heuer announced that the Monza would be brought back again- this time with a dial inspired by the 1976 original. you can read more about the new Monza here.
The Monza is one of my favourite re-editions, and I have owned the black “Heuer” Monza watch since it was released in 2000. Interestingly, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin told me in Basel that the Monza had always been a success with customers, but was a victim of the decision to reduce the number of mainstream TAG Heuer lines. In the end, it was either going to be the Monaco or the Monza that was dis-continued, and as much as I love the Monza, the right call was clearly made.
While loved by buyers, I do think that the Monza has suffered in the eyes of collectors because of its name. Looking back, it would have been easier to use a different name that hadn’t been used before,- almost without exception, the first thing that Heuer collectors will say about the watch is that it’s not a “real” re-edition of the Monza…that name “belonging” to the PVD Monza of the 1970s.
Despite this, the Monza is a beautiful series, and one that can be had today for good money: get in before people realise that you can buy a mint-condition Heuer Monza from 2000 for a fraction of the price that today’s Calibre 36 version commands.
Photos: TAG Heuer, Calibre 11