TAG Heuer has this morning announced the new 2016 Heuer Monza Calibre 17 Chronograph to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Monza series back in 1976. The 2016 Monza traces its lineage back to three historic watches- the mono-pusher Heuer Chronograph of the 1930s (not called Monza), the Carrera-based Monza of 1976 and the 2000 TAG Heuer Monza, which was based on the design of the former, while appropriating the name of the later.
It may be a complex family tree, but the bottom line is that the Monza is one of the best TAG Heuer designs of the last 20 years, so it’s a very welcome return.
This is the second time that the 2000-era Monza has been brought back (the most recent occasion being the 2011 Calibre 36 Monza), but the first time that TAG Heuer has effectively combined the 1976 and 2000 models- the 2016 Monza takes the case of the 2000 model and combines that with the dial and Black/ Red colour scheme of the 1976 Monza.
For those who don’t want that level of detail, let’s take a quick look at the story of the Monza.
Ferrari’s 1975 World Championship
The original Heuer Monza was launched in 1976 to commemorate Niki Lauda’s 1975 World Championship win. While the Brabham team started the year as favourites for the title, Lauda had a new weapon at his disposal- the 312T Ferrari, which was light years ahead of the previous season’s 312B3. In fact, the 312T formed the basis for every Ferrari F1 challenger through to 1981, when the Flat 12 cylinder was replaced by the 1.5ltr turbo of the Ferrari 126.
Lauda won five races throughout the season and fittingly sealed his first drivers title at the Italian Grand Prix in September 1975. The team also won the Constructors Championship for the first time since 1964, a feat they would repeat in 1976, 1977 and 1979.
So, Niki Lauda’s first world title and the first constructor’s title in almost a decade for Ferrari was enough of a reason to celebrate, and of course it was the first World Championship for the team since Heuer joined as a sponsor in 1971. It was time for a special edition watch to mark the occasion.
Heuer Monza 1976
The Heuer Monza was based on the second generation Carrera case, but with a black coating applied via PVD and a Black and Red colour scheme. There were several versions of the Monza, which stayed in the Heuer catalogue through to the early 1980s, all of which you can read about here.
In the late 1990s, TAG Heuer recognised for the first time in decades that its heritage was worth celebrating. The success of the Carrera and Monaco re-editions had the company seeking the next heritage watch fit for revival. But rather than choosing one of the better-known models, TAG Heuer instead decided to update a design from the 1930s- a design that didn’t have a model name, as was usual for the time.
So the Monza name was appended to this updated design and launched in 2000. By 2001/ 02 TAG Heuer had decided to stop branding its heritage watches as “Heuer”, meaning that the Monza adopted a TAG Heuer logo. There were two main versions of this Monza: the Chronograph (Calibre 17 or Calibre 36)…
…and the Calibre 6 watch, featuring a small running second counter.
2016 Heuer Monza Re-edition Reference CR2080
The new Monza uses a titanium case, blackened with titanium carbide. The case is 42mm, noticeably larger than the 2000-era Monza. The sapphire crystal is domed, rather than flat as it was on the 2000/ 2011 Monza.
Just as with the 1976 Monza, the crown and pushers are left in polished stainless steel. In fact, TAG Heuer has done a wonderful job of carrying over the design of the ’76 model. The dial uses the same font and features aged lume stripes to complete the vintage look.
The 2016 Monza is only available with a single strap option- a new Calfskin rally-strap with vintage-style large holes. The design is based on that offered on the original ’76 Monza (as you see in the earlier photo), although that strap is a tropic rubber strap.
The Calibre 17 movement (likely the ETA 2894-2) is the same engine as used in the 2000s Monza and offers a two-register layout. We’ll try and find out more information on the movement and update the article when any additional facts come to hand.
Price and Availability- 2016 Heuer Monza- Ref CR2080
The 2016 Monza is expected to be a limited edition to 2000 watches- final numbers to be confirmed. The watch will be available from June 2016, with a price in of USD5,250 (US market)/ EUR4,950, which is the same price as the Carrera Heuer-01, to give you a point of reference for your local market.