Up Close: TAG Heuer Monza Calibre 36

TAG Heuer has brought back the Monza for 2011, with this limited edition Calibre 36 Chronograph shown today at Baselworld 2011. While the case design is almost identical to the original 2000 re-edition, the dial design introduces a new heritage concept.

Most TAG re-edition watches to date have drawn their inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s, but the new Monza goes a lot further back: to the manual-wind Chronographs and stop-watches of the 1910-1930 period. It’s a welcome change, although one that I suspect could be more polarising than the 1960/70s design-theme, simply because very few people know much about the Chronographs produced in that earlier era.

In fact, so little is known about these watches that for the last 10 years, most writers- including me- have described the 2000 Heuer Monza re-edition as a Camaro re-edition with the name lifted from the Carrera-based Monza of the 1970s. As you’ll see below, there is much more to the design that this.

1933 Heuer Chronograph

The true inspiration for the new Monza is this manual-wind, single button Chronograph from 1933. The case design of the 1933 was replicated almost perfectly for the 2000 Re-edition Monza- the same cushion-case design with its polished outer ring and brushed metal-finish on the top bezel. The lug design is identical and even the crown is inspired by this early Chronograph.

As well as the version that you see above, Heuer also made a black-dial version with a different hand-set. These are lovely little watches- only 33mm in diameter. The Chronograph is operated by the single-push button at the end of the crown.

2000 Monza Re-edition

The re-edition of 2000 (below right) is one of my favourite watches, and I wore mine daily for more than 5 years. As I mentioned earlier in the article, when the Monza was released, some collectors grumbled that the watch didn’t look like the 1970s Monza (“so why is it called Monza?”and in fact wasn’t really a re-edition (“it’s sort of like a Heuer Camaro“)- but while the former may be true, we simply got the later wrong. In fact, the Monza was a re-edition, but a re-edition of a much earlier watch than the Camaro.

To see more photos of the 2000 Re-edition Monza with the 1933 Chronograph, click here.

2011 Monza Chronograph Calibre 36 Re-edition Ref. CR5112

The original TAG Heuer Monza was a solid-seller for the company in the early 2000s. CEO Jean Christophe Babin explained that the only reason that the range was discontinued in 2004 was because the company decided to focus on fewer models, and chose between keeping the Monza or the Monaco. As much as I love my Monza, you’d have to say the right decision was made.

While the Silverstone re-edition was collector-driven, the Monza was made because the original watch was popular with consumers, and apparently would often ask dealers when the model was coming back.

As you can see, with the exception of the dial and hand design, the watches share the same 38mm case

When looking at the design inspiration for the 2011 Monza, the design template of the 1933 Chronograph is not the only example of Heuer having used this style. Below are two time-pieces that I saw this week at the TAG Heuer Museum-manual-wind Chronographs from 1916 and 1930 respectively:


The watch uses the fabulous Calibre 36 (El Primero), which is nicely displayed through a see-through case-back. Like the 40th anniversary Monaco and Silverstone re-edition, the watch features the Red Heuer logo on a decorated rotor.

Pricing and Availability

The watch is a limited edition of 1,911 watches, with deliveries expected in June 2011. Expect price to be around CHF 8,000