Back in October, TAG Heuer announced the “art of watchmaking” competition with Parsons the New School for Design, where students were given the chance to put their own spin on the iconic Monaco. The key rule of the competition was not to alter the basic square Monaco case, but almost everything else was open, including the material, color and design of the dial, sub-dials, hands, indexes and folding buckle.
But playing with an iconic design isn’t easy, because the key elements of the Monaco are so well-known: the pale 70s blue dial; white sub-dials and a red central hand.
TAG Heuer have successfully evolved the Monaco design into two distinct looks today- retro (Monaco re-edition) and futuristic (Monaco 24). A good Monaco design should either capture that feeling of motor racing in the 1970s (the exotic locations, the speed, the danger and the glamour) or project that essence forward into a technical design that echos Formula 1 today.
This week, the final 24 Parsons designs were published on the TAG Heuer Facebook page for comment.
Is there one of these designs that I think is perfect? No. Some of the designs lack the DNA of the Monaco and are too fussy, falling into the trap of being different only for the sake of being different. Of course, the purpose of a competition like this is to push the boundaries, so with that in mind, here are my top three.
1. Wooden Monaco
Overall, this is my favourite design, as its simple, modern, but still feels like a Monaco. I would have painted the grey dial traditional Monaco blue and the wood-coloured base in white to link this look back to the original design.
While looking distinctly modern, this design keeps the key Monaco features, including the balanced sub-dials and the circular inner-dial. I also like the design of the crown and pushers and the contrast of the black and the orange.
So, overall a nice, clean design- but the colours need to be reworked to make it really click.
This next design pushes out the boat a little further and is more ambitious that my first selection. Again, I like the simplicity of the dial and the 3D design elements on the sub-dials and the date window. The yellow is a little jarring, but it kind of works with the black PVD.
3. Mesh Monaco
Another simple design for my bronze medal. I like the textured dial, the rubber strap and again the circular inner-dial linking back to the Monaco’s of the past. I’m not a fan of the sub-dials on this one, and the hands are too fussy, but overall it’s still a good-looking watch- and still a Monaco.
What do you think?
OK, so I’ve picked my three, now its your turn. Below are the remaining 21 designs, which you can vote for and leave comments here.