Things have been awfully quiet of late for fans of the Monaco. We’ve seen the wonderful Monaco Twenty-Four and the black-dial Calibre 12 models all discontinued, leaving only the blue Calibre 11 and Calibre 12 models to keep the fire burning for TAG Heuer’s most iconic watch. And while the 50th Anniversary of the original 1133B Monaco looms large in 2019, it felt as though the Monaco could limp rather than power into its 50th year.
But this year we’ve seen three new special editions which have injected some colour and life back into the Monaco and reminded everyone why it sits at the heart of the TAG Heuer range.
Each of the new watches use the same 39mm stainless steel case and are powered by the modern Calibre 11 movement (Sellita SW300-1 base with Dubois Depraz chronograph module), meaning the crown is positioned on the left-hand side of the case- just as Steve McQueen’s 1971 original.
But that’s where the similarities end, because these special editions offer unique dials, hands and straps. And because these are special editions- meaning that they’re neither numbered limited editions, nor regular production models- you’ll need to move fast to get your hands on one of the 2017 Calibre 11 Monacos.
Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Men’s Club Japan Edition- CAW211E.FC6414
What is it?
Imagine if you took a blue-dial CAW211P and replaced the blue dial with khaki green- OK, maybe you’ve never imagined this, but Japan Men’s magazine Men’s Club did, and the result is this special edition watch- what we’re calling the Green McQueen.
Apart from the colour of the dial, the other details are in line with the standard blue Calibre 11, meaning red hour markers with circular lume plots, white sub-dials with black hands and steel hands with red tips.
The greeness doesn’t stop at the dial, because the bespoke leather strap is finished in a similar shade, complete with green stitching and a red underside, which does look fantastic.
You might think that a green Monaco is sacrilege, but it has to be said that the more you look at this watch, the better it looks. If you’re a fan of the traditional Monaco but are looking for a statement watch that steps outside the usual, then this is the one for you.
How many are being made?
No final word on numbers, but they’re certain to be hard to find given they’re only available in Japan.
Where can I get one and How Much?
The Monaco Calibre 11 Japan Edition is priced at 675,000 JPY, which is just under US$6,000. You’ll only be able to buy the watch from Espace TAG Heuer retail boutique in Japan.
Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 France Edition- CAW211S.FC6375
What is it?
Yes, we’ve had a black-dial Monaco with red highlights before, but that was a TAG Heuer branded watch rather than Heuer. The unique aspect of this dial that will excite Heuer fans is the use of the cream/ aged lume strips as hour markers, because this design is based on the dial of one of the most famous Monaco models from the 1970s, the black case Monaco 74033N
It might be more than a year away, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see this dial form the basis of a 2019 50th Anniversary Re-edition of the 74033N…maybe with a reconfigured Heuer-02 movement? That’s not a pipe dream either, because a Monaco CH80 was planned before the movement was shelved back in 2014, so we know that it fits the Monaco case.
And if that strap looks familiar, that’s because it’s the same strap as used on the 40th Anniversary Monza.
How Many are being made?
Not many- only 200 watches.
Where can I get one and how much?
You’ll have to head to France if you want one of the 200 Black Heuer Calibre 11 Monacos, which are priced at EUR5,500.
Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Gulf Edition- CAW211R.FC6401
What is it?
This is the fourth Gulf-branded Monaco that has been produced over the last 12 years, and the first new Gulf Monaco since 2009. This is the first Heuer- branded Gulf LE, the first to use the Calibre 11 movement and the first to feature a blue dial.
The dial is dominated by the traditional blue and orange Gulf stripes, the colours of which are also used for the wonderful bespoke leather strap..we love this strap design.
How many are being made?
While there are no specific numbers for the Gulf Monaco, we expect these to be the most readily available of the trio.
Where can I buy one and how much?
The 2017 Gulf Monaco was launched in September, and for the first two weeks was only available via the TAG Heuer USA online store, before going on sale across the US from 15 September with a price of US$5,900.
The good news for those of us not in the US is that the Gulf Monaco will go on sale globally from March 2018.
It’s fantastic to see the Monaco back in action, and we can only hope for more new special editions in 2018 ahead of what should be a banner year for the Monaco in 2019. And which would we choose of the three? We’d throw tradition to the wind and opt for the Green McQueen from Japan.
Monaco Gulf Photo Credits- with thanks to Hubert Benet