TAG Heuer first worked with the customization specialists at London-based Bamford Watch Department in 2017, offering some of its customers an opportunity to personalize their favorite TAG Heuer timepiece. This year, at Baselworld 2018, TAG unveiled the first official watch built in collaboration with Bamford — a bold reinterpretation of the classic Monaco with a solid carbon case and aqua blue highlights.
The word “iconic” is thrown around quite a bit in the modern watch industry, but it’s fair to say that the Monaco — released in 1969 as the first square-cased automatic chronograph with a left-side crown — fits the description. TAG Heuer has offered numerous variations on it over the years, including the recent Gulf Special Edition, a tribute to the Monaco famously worn by actor Steve McQueen in the 1971 racing film Le Mans, but this dark-coated “stealth” version marks the first time carbon is used for a Monaco case. Like its brethren, this Monaco’s square case measures 39 mm in diameter and features a left-hand crown, here in black PVD steel, the material also used for the chronograph push-buttons on the right side. The carbon used for the case, TAG says, is “incredibly lightweight” yet “highly resistant” and imparts a very high-tech, swirling textured look. The company had to develop a special mold to sculpt the carbon material into the exact dimensions of the Monaco case.
The watch’s black opaline dial sports the Monaco model’s two squared subdials (30-minute chrono counter at 9 o’clock, running seconds at 3 o’clock), here lacquered in a luminescent aqua blue, matching the aqua blue Super-LumiNova on the hands, indices, date window, and the vintage Heuer logo and Monaco printing at 12 o’clock. (The historical logo, sans “TAG,” also appears in aqua blue on the crown, and its use has become more commonplace in recent years, especially on vintage-inspired special editions.)
Inside this revolutionary case, and beating behind a sapphire caseback with a special “Monaco Bamford” engraving, along with the watch’s limited edition number, is the self-winding Caliber 11, which powers all modern iterations of the Monaco. The movement has 59 jewels, a balance frequency of 28,800 vph, and a power reserve of 40 hours, and boasts a COSC certification for chronometric performance. The Monaco Bamford Edition (TAG Heuer has not specified how many pieces will be made) comes on a black alligator leather strap with a rubber lining. It will be available exclusively at TAG Heuer boutiques and select online stores, priced at $8,150.