TAG Heuer’s 50th anniversary celebration for its famous and groundbreaking Monaco chronograph, which began in June at the Monaco Grand Prix, concluded spectacularly last week in Shanghai, at a gala event in which the Swiss watch brand unveiled the fifth of the five announced Monaco Limited Editions, designed to represent the decade from 2009 and 2019 and thus, arguably, the most modern-looking of the quintet of tribute timepieces.
While its four predecessors were each designed with a specific past decade of the Monaco’s existence in mind — the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s — and accordingly all at least somewhat retro in their look and/or details, the Monaco 2009-2019 Limited Edition is resolutely modern, while still recognizable as the square-cased, racing-inspired watch that made history in 1969 as one of the very first wrist timekeepers with a self-winding chronograph movement.
The watch has a sandblasted stainless steel case, 39 mm in diameter, with a polished finish on the chronograph pushers and crown, which are positioned, respectively, on the right and left side of the case, an unconventional arrangement that calls back the design of the original Monaco. The sunray-patterned dial had a sleek, charcoal color, with black-gold-plated indices and rhodium-plated subdials, each with their own sunray motif. Super-LumiNova appears on the indices and hands, while bright red is used on the central seconds hand, subdial hands, and the center stripe in the 12 o’clock index for an eye-catching contrast with the dark, stealth-look dial.
Like all the models in the Monaco 50th Anniversary collection, each of which is limited to 169 pieces, this model uses a historical “Monaco Heuer” logo on the dial rather than the modern “TAG Heuer” shield, and has the same vintage-look emblem engraved on the solid caseback, along with inscriptions for “2009-2019 Special Edition” and “One of 169.”
Ticking away behind that caseback, with its combination of brushed and polished finishes, is the contemporary version of TAG Heuer Caliber 11, which powered the very first Monaco (as well as several other now-famous vintage watches) and made history as one of the very first self-winding chronograph movements. Its functions include a rapid correction for the date display at 6 o’clock, a 28,800-vph balance frequency, and a 40-hour power reserve in addition to its integrated stopwatch. The dark gray dial accessorizes nicely with the black calf leather strap, perforated in the style of classical racing gloves and attached to a folding clasp in polished stainless steel. Finally, as with all the 50th anniversary models, the watch comes in a stylish box, inspired by the Monaco’s original packaging, with a color scheme designed to evoke the horological decade it celebrates. For the 2010s edition, the dark blue box with classic Heuer logo and horizontal checkered stripe pattern is complemented by a black interior and a gray cushion for the watch. The Monaco 2009-2019 Limited Edition is priced at $6,550.