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TAG Heuer Watches

Tag Heuer Monaco is a watch line with an impressive legacy behind it. The watch is a result of years of research and development. Multiple expert watchmakers contributed in various capacities to the development of this watch. After its first appearance in the public scene in 1969, it has grown in popularity. Production did halt for some time, but it soon made a comeback. Famous personalities like Steve McQueen played a huge role in popularizing this watch. The Monaco Tag Heuer is available in multiple variants, with a range of customization options.

The TAG Heuer Monaco was known as Heuer Monaco when it first came to the market. The Monaco series of automatic chronograph wristwatches were first introduced in 1969. Tag Heuer's passion for motorsports inspired many of their models, and the TAG Heuer Monaco is also one of them. It was named after the prestigious racing event Monaco Grand Prix.

There were two distinct reasons for the Tag Heuer Monaco line's rapid popularity. It was a revolutionary watch in the history of watchmaking, being the first automatic chronograph with a square cased body. The unusual design was not welcomed by puritans, but the wider public loved the innovation. Famous personalities have been seen using this watch in different scenarios. The Hollywood actor and motorsport enthusiast Steve McQueen made use of this watch in his character in the famous 1971 film Le Mans. He continued using this watch in various other places, and the Tag Heuer Monaco watch has become a part of McQueen's legacy.

A Brief History of the Tag Heuer Monaco Collection

"Project 99" is an important movement in the history of horology. Heuer, Breitling, Hamilton-Buren, and Dubois-Depraz collaborated in this development in the year 1969. Through their joint efforts in Project 99, they developed the breakthrough technology called the Chronomatic/Calibre 11 automatic chronograph movement. In a further interesting turn of events, both Seiko and Zenith also introduced their exclusive automatic chronographs in the same year. The resultant competition in the market compelled Jack Heuer to further develop Heuer watches to get an edge over the competitors.

Until 1969, Heuer had a plan of incorporating the Calibre 11 in the Carrera and Autavia collections. However, he soon realized that it would not be enough to have an edge in the market. To have a more significant impact in the watchmaking world, Jack Heuer collaborated with Erwin Piquerez, a famous Swiss case manufacturer. He gave shape to Monaco's breakthrough water-resistant square case. This new development had no competitors in the market. On March 3, 1969, Heuer publicly launched the Monaco 1133B, which was to be the first in a long line of successful watches.

 First Heuer Monaco Watch

The earliest model of the Heuer Monaco Chronograph came with the word "Chronomatic" positioned above the "Heuer" marking. The "Monaco" marking was placed at the top of the 6 o'clock position. In the subsequent years, this dial design was altered. Jack Heuer changed the name "Chronomatic" to its partner Breitling. Then the collection marking "Monaco" marking was also moved, and it sat above "Heuer". The words "Automatic Chronograph" were placed in the 6 o'clock position. With its characteristic big square case (40 mm x 38 mm), domed crystal, metallic blue dial, the Monaco watch was one of the greatest innovations. The crown position on the left served the purpose of reminding that the watch did not need winding.

There were two white counters at 9 and 3 o'clock to record chronograph hours and minutes, respectively. There wasn't any continuous second hand in the watch, but it had a red chronograph second hand pointing to the white outer 1/5th seconds scale. The hour markers had beveled edges and flat silver strips. Behind the watch, the engraving "Tool 033" can be seen. It is the particular tool required to open the rectangular case. The first models were introduced in two variants: a blue option with the reference 1133B and a green with the reference 1133G.

Further developments in the Tag Heuer Monaco series

  • · In 1971, Tag Heuer released an updated version of the reference 1133. It was powered with a modified movement - Calibre 12. The calibre 12 was aimed to enhance the limited efficiency of the micro-rotor and further strengthen the main spring of the Calibre 11. As a result, there was an increase in the beating frequency from 2.75 Hz (19,800 vibrations per hour) to 3.0 Hz (21,600 vph). A noticeable difference between Calibre 11 and Calibre 12 was the color of the main plates, which used a gold tone instead of silver.
  • · The TAG Heuer Monaco did not stop evolving after the first two models. After a year, in 1972, another updated Heuer Monaco was launched. It incorporated the new calibre 15 coupled with some updated models of Heuer Carrera and Autavia. The 1972 Monaco watch was presented in two options - references 1533B with a blue dial and 1533G with a gray dial. 
  • · Tag Heuer also introduced the famous Monaco 73633 with the Valjoux hand-wound movement. This was a reliable and robust movement that facilitated a number of changes in the watch. For instance, the crown was shifted from the left side back to the right side. 

Monaco CS2110/1 "Heuer Re-Edition"

The Monaco CS2110/1 "Heuer Re-Edition" is a reissued model of the original 1998 version. It was a limited edition Monaco watch, with only 5000 units in production. This watch was remarkable since it carried the old HEUER logo instead of the Tag Heuer logo.

It had a new modern casing design. The watch also had a "T" dial automatic movement, a black dial, and a choice between tan or leather strap. This model placed the winding crown in the 3 o'clock position instead of the 9'o clock.

Tag Heuer Monaco V4

The Monaco V4 made a grand entry at the 2004 BaselWorld watch trade show. It is a belt-driven watch that uses ball bearings for mechanisms instead of conventional wheels and pinions. The movement of automobile engines inspired the design of this model. Designer Jean-François Ruchonnet, in collaboration with independent master watchmaker Philippe Dufour, designed the watch. Four barrels with 375 g of energy each powers the watch, and it can be seen through the back.

The Tag Heuer Monaco line is one of the most historically significant watches. Its design and performance were ahead of its time. With a massive appeal to the general public and influential figures alike, the watch has soared to heights of success. The innovation and drive that have become the hallmark of Tag Heuer can be seen in their Monaco range. Over the years, the range has seen many new developments and continues to be one of the most desired watches in the world.

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