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REVIEW: The TAG Heuer Monaco>>>>>>>>

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Published on 06-16-2010 09:38 AM

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Review of the TAG Heuer Monaco
By: John B. Holbrook, II

The history of TAG Heuer is filled with transitions in ownership and highlighted by a long track record of precision, excellence, and prestige – in other words, a very interesting story. Edward Heuer started the Heuer watch company in Switzerland in 1960. Edward Heuer had a strong passion for sports, and for equipping sports competitors with the finest, most dependable precision timekeeping instruments he could produce. Heuer was very successful in doing so, which led to a series of patents and technical innovations as well as some of the most famous and influential watch models ever created. In particular, Heuer chronographs left an indelible mark on the world of horology. It was Jack Heuer (great grandson of company founder Edward Heuer) who in 1964 first created the legendary Carrera chronograph. Both the Monaco (a design that was inspired by one of the most famous race car movies ever made, “Le Mans” starring Steve McQueen) and the Monza are also timeless classics from Heuer. TAG Heuer was formed in 1985 when TAG (Techniques d’Avant Garde), manufacturers of high tech items such as ceramic turbochargers for formula 1 cars, joined the Heuer group, which was already a renowned watchmaker specializing in racing chronographs. TAG Heuer is now part of the LVMH group, and is still making fabulous chronograph models, such as the Monaco.

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Either you like square watches, or you don’t — and in most cases they aren’t my first choice. But the TAG Heuer Monaco is a different animal. It has an ephemeral “cool” factor which defies description. Perhaps it’s the overall retro look of the watch (I really like the old-school look of the “Perspex” crystal). Of course, I’m a sucker for blue dials, and the one on the Monaco is simply stunning — it shimmers and color shifts in different lighting conditions. The blue dial with blue strap is also considered the actual Steve McQueen configuration, which adds no small amount of “cool” to the watch. The beautiful blue dial also provides an excellent contrast against the white chronograph sub-dials, and the red chronograph second hand. Also featured on the dial in the six o’clock position is a discreet day-of-the-month date display.

Watch Analog watch Silver Watch accessory Clock

The 40.4mm stainless steel case diameter is a perfect size — it has an excellent wrist presence without being so large that it can’t be worn with a suit. Look to the three o’clock side of the case and you’ll see the slant-shaped chronograph pushers which complement the overall angled look of the Monaco. The case has a water resistance rating of 30m. Attached to the case is the well padded and unique looking dark blue crocodile strap with case-matching stainless steel folding clasp.

Inside the case of the TAG Heuer Monaco is the TAG Heuer Calibre 17. The Calibre 17 is actually an ETA 2894-2 chronograph movement. The ETA 2894-2 is a self-winding mechanical movement with 37 jewels, and a power reserve of about 40 hours when fully wound. The ETA 2894-2 is an excellent movement to serve as the base for the Calibre 17. While an in-house manufactured chronograph movement would be a fine addition to the Monaco, using the ETA-manufactured movement creates a more than adequate engine for the Monaco, and contributes to the very reasonable price point for the piece.

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The best thing I can say about the TAG Heuer Monaco — perhaps the only thing that needs to be said — is that it’s cool. Sure, it doesn’t have an exclusive movement, and it is perhaps a bit functionally absent in some areas (most racing watches feature a tachymeter scale), but in the final analysis, none of that really matters. This is a mechanical watch that has literally defined style and attitude for decades. The Monaco is a legendary time¬piece which deserves a place in every self-respecting watch aficionado’s collection. The “Steve McQueen” TAG Heuer Monaco (reference CW2113.FC6183) has a retail price of $2,995 — a very attainable price for a time¬piece with so much history from such a well known and respected brand.

**Photos & Text Copyright 2010 WATCH TALK FORUMS INC. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.

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