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.
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.
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.
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
Material: Titanium (with additional DLC coating for Turquoise)
Water resistance: 100 m
Movement: Calibre Heuer 02
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and chronograph
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
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
Price: CHF10,500 in titanium; CHF11,000 in DLC-coated titanium
For more, visit tagheuer.com.
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