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With the launch today of the fifth 50th Anniversary Monaco, TAG Heuer’s tribute to its most iconic watch has come to an end, or at least arrived at the present. As with the previous four watches, the latest Monaco represents a decade of the series’ life, this time the 10 years from 2009 to 2019.
While we’ve seen plenty of colours offered across the 50th Anniversary series to date, including silver, red and green, for the fifth watch we are in peak “phantom” mode, with a stealth dial and handset. Again with watch 5 we see the use of texture in the design (think the Côtes de Genève pattern on the 1969-79 watch or the sandblasted dial of the 1989-1999 watch), this time the texture is applied to the case.
As with each of the 50th Anniversary series, the watch is based on the CAW211P (above right), meaning a 39mm steel case with the Calibre 11 movement and the crown on the “right” side- that is, the left side- of the case. So far, so Monaco. But instead of the usual polished/ brushed stainless steel case, this time we get a sandblasted steel case that does away with the usual polished edges of the Monaco.
Moving to the dial, the de-blinging continues with a beautiful charcoal starburst dial. And rather than feature the circular minuterie, TAG Heuer logo and lume plots in a nice contrasting white, TAG Heuer instead goes all in with a matching dark grey finish to give the watch a menacing, stealth look. The hour and minute hands have the same finish, as does the date window and the applied hour-markers. Will it be as easy to read as other Monacos? No, as with the other TAG Heuer “Full Black” and Phantom watches over the last decade here, the priority is on the look rather than the legibility.
The only nods to colour are the dark red central chronograph hand, the red stripe on the 12 o’clock marker and the red sub-dial hands.
Speaking of the registers, the only departure from the overall dark and brooding tone are the two sub-dials, which TAG Heuer has made a reflective silver finish- and that feels like a mistake. A flat cream or white would have given enough contrast to stand out from the otherwise dark finish, but a bright, shiny silver seems like the wrong choice, adding back the bling that TAG Heuer has so carefully stripped away from every other surface.
Overall, we think this is one of the more intriguing 50th Anniversary Monacos. We would love to have seen the design theme taken all to its extreme, with a darkened titanium-carbide coated case. Does the sandblasted case finish work? We’ll reserve judgment until we can see it in the metal.
But those shiny silver sub-dials are a miss from our perspective, taking away from what otherwise would have been our favourite of the 50th Anniversary Monaco series. Instead, that title goes to the 1979-89 Red edition, with the Phantom Monaco a close second.
The Monaco 50th Anniversary Collection
Price and Availability
The 2019 Monaco Calibre 11 50th Anniversary 2009-2019 Chronograph is limited to just 169 watches and priced as follows across key markets:
- Switzerland: CHF 6,400
- Europe: EUR 5,950
- UK: GBP 5,350
- USA: $6,550
- Japan: JPY 705,000
- Hong Kong: $52,700
You can find out more at the official TAG Heuer website here
TAG Heuer Monaco 50th Anniversary Calibre 11 Specifications
|Model Name||TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Chronograph 50th Anniversary Edition 5: 2009-2019|
|Year of Launch||2019|
|Production Type||Limited Edition of 169|
|Watch Reference Number||CAW211Z|
|Strap Reference Code||FC6470|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel/ Sandlbasted|
|Case Diameter||39mm x 39mm|
|Movement||Calibre 11 (Sellita/ Dubois-Depraz)|