First Look: TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Steve McQueen (Ref. CAW211D)

TAG Heuer has added another model in the Monaco heritage series- each using the 39mm steel case, Calibre 11 movement (with the crown on the left-hand-side of the case) and the Heuer logo. The latest Calibre 11 Monaco is based on the original Steve McQueen Monaco from the 1970s

TThe Calibre 11 McQueen uses the same design template as the Silver Heritage Monaco released earlier this year, meaning angled hour markers with circular lume and the vintage-style hands.

The watch uses a blue calf-leather strap (which would look great on any of the blue Monaco models).

Note that the McQueen version uses different sub-dial hands than the other Vintage Monaco series, instead using the same square-bottom style as the original Monaco of 1969. Like the 24 McQueen, this Calibre 11 version has changed from the prototype seen earlier this year. At one stage this watch was going to have Jo Siffert’s name on the dial. Siffert, the Swiss Formula 1 driver who was the inspiration for McQueen in Le Mans, is linked to the White Heuer Autavia with Blue highlights from the 1970s. TAG Heuer have used Siffert’s name only once in the modern era, on this S/el from 1996. But given that the Monaco dial is predominately blue, it would have been a strange decision to brand this Monaco as a “Siffert”. The striped Monaco dials are a love it or hate it design- many people collect the series of Gulf Monacos, but they’ve never been my favourite. But, given that TAG Heuer already released a 40th Anniversary Monaco in the traditional McQueen colours back in 2009 (below left), I guess something different was needed for the 2011 version.

The new Monaco Calibre 11/ 12 Movements

When the Monaco series was updated in 2010, the watch moved from having a Calibre 17 movement to the Calibre 12. The Calibre 17 is an ETA 2894-2 movement, which is an ETA 2892 base with an ETA chronograph module. The upgraded Calibre 12 also uses an ETA 2892 base, but mated to a Dubois Depraz “2008” Chronograph module. The Calibre 11 movement uses the same ETA 2892 base, but with a Dubois Depraz “2002” Chronograph module, the main difference being simply that the crown is positioned on the left-hand side, in the style of the Heuer Chronomatic movements of the 1970s. The Calibre 11 movement has been used on several Re-edition watches, starting with the Autavia re-edition in 2003 and the Silverstone of 2010. But here is something that you won’t know- the Calibre 11 and 12 movements are no longer based on ETA movements, as TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin told me last week:

“Initially those Calibres [11 and 12] started out with an ETA base, but we have homologated with Dubois Depraz the same construction, but with a Sellita base, conscious that sooner or later we would not have enough supply from ETA”

The Sellita base used is the SW-300 Calibre, which is the same size and layout as the ETA 2892, but with 25 jewels instead of 21 and is used by others in the LVMH group, including Hublot.