Way back in 2013, Ben Clymer took a vintage Heuer Monaco out for A Week On The Wrist, writing that “the original Heuer Monaco is a great watch. It is nothing short of an icon in this little world of 20th-century wristwatches, and I believe it always will be. It is a beautiful object on its own, made slightly less beautiful when put on the wrist – it looks better on the table, than it does on.”
While the high price of a vintage Monaco gave us pause before recommending such a bold watch, any concern is alleviated with the modern TAG Heuer Monaco. It remains faithful to the original Monaco – famous for all kinds of things, from being worn on Steve McQueen’s wrist in the movie Le Mans, to housing the world’s first mass-produced automatic chronograph movement (the caliber 11) – but it ditches some of those vintage inconveniences for modern practicality.
Most notably, the modern Monaco (ref. CAW2111) moves the crown from the left-hand side to the right-hand side for a more conventional configuration. It also has 100 meters of water resistance, and the caliber 12 inside is a Sellita-based movement with a Dubois Dépraz chronograph module. While those original caliber 11 chronographs were known for being a bit finicky (and running fast), there’s no such concern with a modern TAG Heuer caliber.
Since the Monaco celebrated its 50th anniversary back in 2019, the model’s continued to stay in the news. That same year, it also introduced the first-ever Monaco with an in-house movement, the caliber 02. Much the way the first Monaco was a huge step forward for Heuer, the new Monaco represented the next generation of chronographs from modern TAG Heuer. In 2020, an example given to Steve McQueen’s mechanic in Les Mans sold for $2.2 million. Even this year, the revival of the Monaco “Dark Lord” was welcomed by many hardcore Heuer collectors. It’s never a bad time to take a second look at an iconic watch, which is why The Spec Sheet is here to take it back to square one with the Monaco.
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