You might be tempted to dismiss the new TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 6 Full Black as simply being a new variation on a watch that is getting close to its 10th birthday. Nothing exciting there. But we’re going to present the case that the very fact that there is a 2014 version of the Monaco watch in itself is an exciting development for TAG Heuer fans. It’s not just about the present, but what this new watch could mean for the future.
History of the Monaco Calibre 6 Watch
Yes, a Monaco watch. In fact, the 2005 Monaco watch was the first non-Chronograph Monaco released and came at a time when TAG Heuer was reinventing and modernising its iconic model, starting with the Monaco V4 in 2004 and then the double-sided Monaco 69 and Monaco Calibre 6 the following year. And for sure, you can see the strong influence of the Monaco V4 (which at that stage was only a prototype) in the case design of the Calibre 6.
The Monaco Calibre 6 was a more modern, funkier Monaco, with its highly polished 3D case, sapphire crystal and rubber strap. It was an effort to show that the Monaco didn’t have to only be for those seeking retro-tinged thrills.
Despite being only 1mm smaller than the Calibre 17 Monaco (37mm vs. 38mm), the new watch looked smaller and less imposing on the wrist for those who weren’t sure if they could manage a square design like the Monaco as an everyday watch.
In 2006 the first Ladies model appeared. It was essentially the same watch as the Men’s model, but with the addition of different coloured dials and the liberal use of diamonds. The Ladies dial also had a distinctive vertical streaking effect in the centre of the dial, as you see below.
When the Monaco range was redesigned in 2009 and the Calibre 12 model introduced, the Men’s Calibre 6 Monaco disappeared. The watch continued to be sold as part of the Ladies collection, with a Grand Date variant added (below) in 2010.
Some five years after the Men’s Monaco Calibre 6 was dropped, the Men’s model is back in the range and now there is a new Men’s model for the first time in 9 years. And the reason is that TAG Heuer CEO Stéphane Linder has big plans for the Monaco.
The Future of the TAG Heuer Monaco
The Monaco has become a little predictable of late. Yes, every year there is a new Limited Edition model and perhaps a new dial colour for the Monaco Twenty-Four, but we haven’t seen a really innovative development of the Monaco since the first Monaco Twenty-Four in 2010…and even that watch owed a lot to the Monaco V4 of 2004 and the Calibre 6 from 2005. The only truly fresh thinking on the Monaco case in almost 10 years has been the one-off Monaco Mikrograph from 2011.
When we first interviewed Linder last year, he spoke about his view of the Monaco:
I think there is a real opportunity with the Monaco that is still untapped, because there are a lot of possibilities to make the Monaco even cooler, so I strongly believe in it. And there there are a lot of things to do with watches. Yes, everyone dreams about Chronographs, but even so, we have a lot of watches, but what could be an incredible watch [i.e. a 3-hand watch- no Chronograph function : DC] for TAG Heuer?
We know that TAG Heuer is working on an in-house watch movement, and combined with the comments above and the reappearance of the Monaco Calibre 6 in the catalogue, the Calibre 11 crystal ball says that we should expect some cool new Monaco watches in the future.
TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 6 Full Black- WW2119
That’s a long introduction to the Full Black watch so let’s look into the 2014 Monaco more closely.
The watch retains the 37mm steel case of the original, but this time with a titanium-carbide coating, with the same treatment applied to the crown.
The Full Black theme is contrasted by several splashes of red, including the “Automatic” text on the dial, the small seconds hand at 6 o’clock and the lining of the perforated Calf-skin strap…which itself appears to have been borrowed from the Jack Heuer 80th Birthday Carrera.
And while these are small changes, they do a lot to lift the look of the watch into something contemporary. The Monaco Calibre 6 was on display at Baselworld 2014, and while we didn’t get a great photo of the new watch, we’ve seen enough to say that it looks pretty sharp.
Pricing and Availability
TAG Heuer used last week’s Monaco Grand Prix to officially launch the Calibre 6, and the watch should be in the stores in the next month or so. It is not a Limited Edition, but is categorised as “ADIS”, meaning it will be in the catalogue only for 2014 and only made in the quantity already ordered by Dealers. The price (in Switzerland; Swiss Francs) is expected to be CHF 3,450.
And for those who like the Monaco as a watch rather than a Chronograph, it may be that the Monaco Calibre 6 Full Black is the start of a new chapter in the Monaco story.