The Monza is a watch that has had two lives: it formed part of the TAG Heuer re-edition range in the early 2000s and was on sale for 5 years before being phased out. The Monza then returned in 2011 as a Limited Edition model- a different dial to the earlier model, but an identical case.
While a popular watch with buyers, the die-hard collectors always had a bit of a problem with the Series, because while the Heuer Monza of the mid-1970s was a loved part of Heuer’s Chronomatic range, that watch looks nothing like the Monza re-edition.
To further confuse matters, the watch that lent its design to the Monza actually came from the 1930s, a fact that TAG Heuer didn’t really publicise first time around, meaning that many people- yours truly included- thought that the Monza re-edition was based on the Heuer Camaro.
As you’ll see, the Monza is notable for the high-end versions of the watch- not just the Calibre 36 Chronograph models, but several Yellow Gold and Rose Gold versions.
Origins of the Monza
Above you see the 2000 Monza with its long-lost grandfather from the 1930s. You can read more about this early one-button chronograph here.
But to most Heuer collectors, the “Monza” is this watch below- a black PVD special edition of the Heuer Carrera.
The first of the “new” Monza series released was the CR2111 you see above, available with a white or black dial. This first series did not have the Monza name on the dial- nor a TAG Heuer Logo- simply “Heuer”.
Interestingly, the second hand of the watch changed between the time that the catalogue photos were taken and the time that the watch hit the shops- you will never see a CR2111 Monza with the sweeping second hand shown above.
TAG Heuer Monza
After the initial re-edition series, TAG Heuer continued with the Monza, adding both “Monza” and “TAG Heuer” to the dial, and introducing several new versions. Most notable in the Chronograph range was a Gold-case Monza Calibre 17.
Monza Calibre 6
As the same time that the Monza got a TAG Heuer logo, a second version of the watch was announced- the Monza watch with the Automatic Calibre 6 (ETA 2895-1) movement.
While the watch had a similar case to the Chronograph, the dial was a lot simpler, as you’d expect from a three-hand watch. Like other models in the Monza range, the Calibre 6 also came in a Rose Gold model, which you see below.
Monza Calibre 36
Sitting on top of the Monza range was the Calibre 36 Chronograph, a special edition of the watch with the famous COSC El Primero movement. The Calibre 36 Monza also used a Flinque-finish on the dial, as well as having two distinct sub-dial patterns- the 3 and 9 o’clock registers having a square outline, while the 6 o’clock register had a circular outline.
Note also that the Calibre 36 Monza also uses a different design of Chronograph pusher than the standard Calibre 17 model (have to say, that I prefer the pushers on the Calibre 17) and has a sapphire caseback to show off the movement.
Finally, there was also a Rose Gold Calibre 36 Monza, which like the Calibre 6 version, had a highly detailed dial. While the mix of patterns is quite effective on the Calibre 6 watch, it all looks a little busy on the Chronograph- there is a lot going on, with different shapes for the sub-dials as well as two types of patterning on the dial.
The Return of the Monza
In 2011 TAG Heuer re-released the Monza Calibre 36, this time with a 1930s- style dial. You can read more about the new Monza re-edition here.
The Second Return of the Monza
At Baselworld 2016, TAG Heuer announced that the Monza would be brought back again- this time with a dial inspired by the 1976 original. you can read more about the new Monza here.
The Monza is one of my favourite re-editions, and I have owned the black “Heuer” Monza watch since it was released in 2000. Interestingly, TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin told me in Basel that the Monza had always been a success with customers, but was a victim of the decision to reduce the number of mainstream TAG Heuer lines. In the end, it was either going to be the Monaco or the Monza that was dis-continued, and as much as I love the Monza, the right call was clearly made.
While loved by buyers, I do think that the Monza has suffered in the eyes of collectors because of its name. Looking back, it would have been easier to use a different name that hadn’t been used before,- almost without exception, the first thing that Heuer collectors will say about the watch is that it’s not a “real” re-edition of the Monza…that name “belonging” to the PVD Monza of the 1970s.
Despite this, the Monza is a beautiful series, and one that can be had today for good money: get in before people realise that you can buy a mint-condition Heuer Monza from 2000 for a fraction of the price that today’s Calibre 36 version commands.
Photos: TAG Heuer, Calibre 11