In this article from my online magazine, Escapement, I offer you a review of the TAG Heuer Monaco 24 Calibre 36 Automatic Chronograph, a chronograph watch with a proud auto racing history.
Walking along Manchester’s rain-soaked pavements may not sound like an enticing prospect, but located on St. Ann Street, in one of the city’s most prestigious shopping areas, is a retail destination which justifies embracing the inclement weather. The recently opened TAG Heuer boutique is a sumptuously appointed haven of horological treats.
The Boutique has an extensive array of models, including some “Boutique Only” watches and some of the brand’s über-complicated haute horlogerie timepieces.
During a recent visit to the boutique, an attentive member of staff showed me a plethora of eye-catching models. But, on this occasion, I had no intention of making a purchase. Indeed, I had another objective in mind: to spend 30 minutes in the company of a watch, taking photographs and recording copious notes.
With the onset of the winter blues, I craved a touch of sunshine and sought a brightly colored watch to dispel any sense of seasonal sadness. The name “Monaco” conjures thoughts of a sun-drenched destination where each year glamorous individuals attend the most exciting motorsport event, the Grand Prix de Monaco. The name also proves familiar to those with a passing interest in horology.
The Heuer Monaco, released in 1969, is an iconic watch, respected by legions of watch collectors.
Jack Heuer and Willy Breitling shared the development costs of producing the world’s first self-winding chronograph. This movement, code named Project 99 was subsequently named the Calibre 11. Heuer, realizing both companies would share the same movement, chose to house the Calibre 11 in the world’s first water-resistant square case, providing an additional point of differentiation. The iconic Monaco was born.
Since its launch the Monaco has spawned an array of variants, but has always retained strong links to motorsport, courtesy of the 1970s film “Le Mans,” in which Steve McQueen was seen sporting a blue-dial version of the watch.