First Look: Monaco Full Black- ACM Calibre 12

TAG Heuer has launched a new Calibre 12 Monaco in time for the Monaco Grand Prix- the TAG Heuer Monaco Full Black Automobile Club de Monaco (“ACM”) edition. This is the second ACM Monaco, but the first to sport an all-black case, in homage to one of the most famous Heuer Monacos of the 1970s.

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As you’ll discover, the original 1970s Black Monaco is one of the most enigmatic watches in the vintage Heuer world- both because it’s very rare…and because it’s not 100% clear that it ever (officially) existed at all.

History of the Heuer Monaco 74033N

Heuer Monaco PVDWe’ve brought you several stories on the Heuer Monaco 74033N, known as the “PVD Monaco”. PVD stands for “Physical Vapor Deposition”, which is a method for applying a thin coating to a base-metal. In the watch industry, watches coated with a black powder-coated finish are often called PVD, even though this is the process of application rather than the finish itself.

Heuer were one of the pioneers of PVD watches and in the mid-late 1970s began to offer all-black versions of several models, including the Monza, Lemania 510.XXX, Pasedena and 1000 series.

Without doubt the rarest of these PVD models is the Monaco, which not only features a PVD case, but also a bespoke dial and hand combination not offered on any other model- it’s a beautiful looking watch.

Heuer Monaco PVDHowever, while there is no dispute that the 74033N uses genuine Heuer parts, there is considerable doubt on whether the watch was ever sold through mainstream dealers. I have heard of a collector who claims to have a watch complete with original sale docket, but despite a couple of rule-proving exceptions, my view is that the most likely scenario is that the Monaco 74033N is a prototype, non-production watch.

Some collectors claim that Jack Heuer has personally authenticated the watch- all I can say is that when I asked him, he had no recollection of the watch, even when I showed him a photo.

If the prototype theory is correct, it would mean that the majority of examples you see today are likely to have been assembled by watchmakers who acquired the parts from Heuer in the early 1980s. Does this lack of “factory original” status hurt values? Exactly the opposite.

Rather than detract from the watch, the mystery around the origins of the Heuer Monaco 74033N have only served to create an aura around the watch, making it only made it more interesting to collectors.

2012 TAG Heuer Monaco ACM

TAG Heuer Monaco ACM- 2012Last year saw TAG Heuer launch the first watches with the ACM logo, including the Calibre 12 Monaco you see above. The watch has Orange highlights on the dial and strap, as well as contrasting white sub-dials…and of course, a standard stainless steel case.

2013 TAG Heuer Full Black Monaco ACM- CAW211M

P3116860-WMThe 2013 TAG Heuer ACM Monaco gets the “Full Black” treatment, meaning a titanium-carbide coated case, Black dial and matching sub-dials and silver hands.

P3116868-WMThe only break from the monochrome finish is the Orange/ Red-tip of the central Chronograph seconds hand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s worth noting that the Full Black Monaco is not trying to be a vintage Heuer re-edition. Rather, it’s a contemporary 2013 Monaco Calibre 12. There are some design touches that link the two models- like the Monaco 74033N, the Full Black Monaco’s pushers and Crown remain in polished stainless steel, rather than being coated in Titanium-Carbide.

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The ACM logo moves from the dial to the sapphire case back (a good move), while the strap- a derivative of the strap first used on the 2009 40th Anniversary Monaco- is coated in a bright Orange.

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On the Wrist

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Pricing and Availability

P3116867-WMNo official pricing has been confirmed yet, but reports indicate a likely GBP5,000 (UK)/ CHF7,000 (Switzerland). The watch is likely to be a limited edition and be available in June-August of this year.

At some stage, TAG Heuer will surely give in to temptation and release a re-edition of the 74033N, but until then, it’s great to have a Full Black model back in the Monaco range.

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Photos

– Monaco 74033N in the Snow: Abel Court

– Monaco 74033N: Rich Crosthwaite