The boutique in Manchester had several members of the Monaco family in stock, but my eyes were drawn to a vibrant orange-and-anthracite model with a character distinctly different from the 1969 original. The Monaco 24 Calibre 36 Automatic Chronograph has been produced in various colorways, but the sunny disposition of the orange dial detail wholeheartedly captured my attention. While this particular variant of the Monaco was first released in 2011, it continues to have a charming freshness to its form.
The first striking detail of the dial design is that it is round yet housed within a square case. Moreover, the circular canvas floats within the case with the areas to the side according a view from front to back.
Within each corner of the case, shock-absorbing mounts can be seen. These are part of the company’s “Advanced Dynamic Absorber” system protecting the movement from shocks and holding the floating dial in position. On this particular model, the shock-absorbing mounts are presented in a metallic orange color.
While my attention was initially drawn to the orange shades featured on this watch, anthracite is the most widely used color on the dial. The central area of the dial is affixed with four brightly polished screws and incorporates a vertical satin brush. The adjacent surfaces employ a horizontal brush.
The hour and minute hands are rhodium plated and lined with luminescent material. The central chronograph seconds hand is presented in a cheerful orange shade. Below noon, “24” is proudly proclaimed in a modern font, referencing the famous 24-hour race in Le Mans.
Two square subdials are positioned at 3 and 6 o’clock. The corners of each subdial are rounded, softening their profile and providing cohesion with the neighboring rounded lines. The subdial at 3 o’clock is a 30-minute register, whereas the subdial opposite displays the running seconds.
At 6 o’clock, an elongated, curved aperture reveals the date. Encircling the dial is a minute rail featuring luminescent white markings.
TAG Heuer has produced a captivating dial that has a unique appearance. The sapphire crystal features beveled edges which yield fascinating ghost images to the periphery of the dial area. However, this aspect does not detract from the excellent legibility of the dial, but rather offers an abundance of charm.
The case is larger than that of the original 1969 Monaco, with a diameter of 40.5mm. Whilst this could not be described as excessive, there is a significant depth to the case. However, this timepiece remains applicable to current tastes and the watch proves very comfortable to wear.
The angled trajectory of the push pieces, where they interface with the case band, ties in with the diagonal orientation of the shock absorbers. Furthermore, a soupçon of orange can be seen adjacent the dial where the push pieces connect with the movement. These details may sound minor, but they enhance the visual appeal of the watch and manifestly demonstrate TAG Heuer’s obsession with the minutiae.