TAG Heuer Introduces the Monaco Skeleton Dial

A contemporary take on the 1970s classic.

As has become tradition, TAG Heuer is launching a new Monaco chronograph to mark the annual Formula 1 race in the principality of the same name. While past editions for the Monaco Grand Prix leaned towards vintage in terms of style, the Monaco Skeleton Dial is almost entirely modern. Though the watch retains the trademark Monaco case and even many elements of the dial, it has no practically no dial, most of which has been removed to reveal the movement below.

Initial thoughts

Just like the recent Monza Flyback and Carrera “Glassbox”, the Monaco Skeleton Dial continues TAG Heuer’s pivot towards contemporary designs that its chief executive Frederic Arnault has indicated is the way forward. This is a good thing, because it allows the brand to move away from being reliant on the vintage-esque sports watches that are all too common in this price segment.

The new Monaco itself manages to look very much like a Monaco while still being very different. Despite the seemingly opposite characteristics, everything works well together, although the look is certainly more appealing in the all-black iteration than its siblings.

The only caveat is the price, which at about US$11,000 makes this a third more expensive than a Monaco with the same movement and case but a conventional dial. That feels like a bit too much for the open-worked dial, which admittedly required substantial reworking of the movement.

Loosely vintage inspired

The Monaco Skeleton Dial gets its name from, well, a skeleton dial. The dial has been open-worked to reveal the movement below, itself open-worked to show off more of the mechanics. The base plate, for instance, has been opened to reveal part of the barrel as well as the lower pivot of the balance wheel, while the date disc has been skeletonised.

The new Monaco is being rolled out in three versions: “Original Blue”, “Racing Red”, and “Turquoise”.

“Original Blue” is inspired by the quintessential Monaco, the ref. 1133 with a blue dial made famous by Steve McQueen, who wore one in the 1971 film Le Mans. “Racing Red”, on the other hand, is dressed in the classic auto-racing livery of red and black.

Racing Red

But the most striking variant is “Turquoise”. Reminiscent of the vintage Monaco “Dark Lord”, one of the rarest and most valuable vintage Heuer watches, “Turquoise” features an all-black case that is actually titanium with a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating.

Giving it a stealthy look, the coating boosts the scratch resistance of the case, being substantially more robust than the black powder coating found on the “Dark Lord” (which is why vintage examples with perfect cases can cost six figures). The low-key case aesthetic is matched with a high-contrast dial featuring turquoise Super-Luminova accents, hence the model name.

Channelling the Dark Lord and maybe Tiffany & Co.

Despite the difference in styling, all three variants are fundamental identical. They share the same 39 mm Monaco case in titanium with a matte, sandblasted finish (the all-black version is sandblasted and then coated with DLC).

Inside sits the Heuer 02, the in-house movement found in TAG Heuer’s upscale chronographs. It’s a self-winding calibre that features a column wheel, vertical clutch, and usefully long 80-hour power reserve.

Each variant, however, features coloured accents on the movement to match the dial. This is found in the engraved text on the rotor and the column wheel, both of which are lacquered to match the dial in blue, red, or turquoise.

Key facts and price

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Skeleton Dial
Ref. CBL2182.FT6235 (Original Blue)
Ref. CBL2183.FT6236 (Racing Red)
Ref. CBL2184.FT6236 (Turquoise)

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Titanium (with additional DLC coating for Turquoise)
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Calibre Heuer 02
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and chronograph
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 80 hours

Strap: Rubber strap with calfskin upper and folding clasp

Limited edition: No
Availability: From May 2023 at TAG Heuer’s online shop and boutiques
CHF10,500 in titanium; CHF11,000 in DLC-coated titanium

For more, visit tagheuer.com.


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Audemars Piguet Introduces the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”

The new and improved Marvel collab.

Two years ago, Audemars Piguet (AP) introduced the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther”, a watch that caused a stir, to put it mildly. While the comics-and-complications combination was unorthodox, the watch was a commercial success.

Now AP is following up – as promised – with its second Marvel collaboration, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”. Like its predecessor, it has a miniature sculpture of the superhero as the dial and it is once again again a Royal Oak Concept, but now powered by a new calibre. 

And the Royal Oak Spider-Man watch also continues the charitable tradition started by its predecessor. A unique version of the new watch, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Black Suit Spider-Man” that depicts a black-and-silver superhero, will be sold at auction to benefit First Book and Ashoka, a pair of charities that bring education to disadvantaged youth.

Initial thoughts

In some ways, the Royal Oak Black Panther did not look serious enough for such an expensive watch; it was perhaps too purple. While its aesthetics were subjective, it was certainly well executed. The miniature sculpture was done well in both detail, colour, and form.

The same holds true for the Royal Oak Spider-Man, but it is an altogether more attractive watch. For one, it is less purple and more monochromatic, with much of the watch being black and white, leaving only the superhero figure to convey colour. And the figure itself is better positioned in that it allows more of the movement to be visible, in particular the large, arched tourbillon bridge.

The Spider-Man will probably get a lot of flak, simply because it is what it is. But it is more appealing than its predecessor.

Friendly neighbourhood superhero

The Spider-Man figure was created much like its Black Panther equivalent. According to AP, the process of producing each figure requires some 50 hours of work.

First a rough blank is milled from a block of gold in a CNC machine, then etched with laser to create the fine texturing on the suit.

Next is craftsmanship – the details on the upper body of the figure are engraved and refined by the hand of a single artisan. It’s followed by hand painting to create Spider-Man’s trademark blue-and-red outfit.

Behind the figure sit the open-worked bridges that are arching, angular, and facetted. Around them are the hour markers, which are black-coated white gold, as are the hands.

The Spider-Man utilises the latest version of the Royal Oak Concept case, which remains large and chunky but more wearable than earlier generations. It’s 42 mm in diameter and 15 mm thick, but with shorter lugs and a curved profile. And like latest Royal Oak models, the Spider-Man features a quick-release mechanism for the strap, explaining why it is delivered with a pair of straps.

Made of titanium, the case is matched with a bezel and crown in black ceramic. Being a Royal Oak, all surfaces, be they titanium or ceramic, are finished to a high level with a mix of brushed, polished, and frosted finishing.

Inside is the cal. 2974, a new, hand-wind movement derived from the cal. 2948 found in the Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked.

This calibre is different from that in the Black Panther in a crucial aspect: the tourbillon has a full bridge, instead of being a flying tourbillon as in the Black Panther.

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42 mm
Ref. 26631IO.OO.D002CA.01

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Hand-painted Spider-Man figure in 18k white gold
Water-resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 2974
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon regulator
Winding: Hand-winding
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Black and grey rubber strap with titanium folding clasp, and additional black and red rubber strap

Limited edition: 250 pieces
At AP boutiques and AP houses
Price: CHF195,000 before taxes

For more information, visit Audemarspiguet.com.


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