Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Blue Dial Heritage Collection
TAG Heuer has been one of the most discussed brands at this year's Baselworld. Jean Claude Biver's appointment as CEO seemed to result in a repositioning of TAG Heuer as an entry-level brand, based on a set of new partnerships, whose clear goal is to attract new and younger people to its customers portfolio. This direction is followed by the launch of the new Carrera featuring the innovative caliber 01, an evolution of the 1887 in-house movement, priced below 5000 CHF, and an additional one to become soon the first tourbillon to retail for under 14000 CHF. This is good news for any watch enthusiast, but this change of direction has confused the brand's fans (such as yours truly), who have seen this move as the first step in phasing out legendary timepieces such as, for instance, the Monaco.
False alarm! I believe that two souls, therefore two different product collections, will coexist in the renewed TAG Heuer: the first one younger, innovative and accessible (also economically), and a more mature one, aimed at connoisseurs and collectors, that will only bring the historical Heuer logo as a dowry, but that will recover the brand’s history and iconic timepieces.
Although I'm not totally convinced by the first option, the new management certainly solved an ambiguity relating to the second one: it doesn’t make any sense to offer two Monacos, one with the TAG Heuer logo, the other still bearing the Heuer logo, as well as the winding crown on the left side of the case (as in the original 1969 Monaco), both realized in countless variations, with the result of confusing the customer.
This year's Monaco will just adopt the Heuer logo, and will have the same architecture of the original model in fact, to be precise, it is an exact reproduction of the 2009 limited edition version, signed by Jack Heuer himself and made to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Monaco, which is today a real collector’s piece. If you want to buy a Monaco this year, but are intrigued by this latest model, which I find irresistible, pictured here are the differences between the three latest versions from the last few years: the 2015 Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Blue Dial Heritage Collection (we don't even know the official name yet), the TAG Heuer Monaco Steve McQueen Boutique Edition Calibre 11 and the stock TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Racing.
This photo compares instead the original Steve McQueen Monaco to the upcoming 2015 Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 Blue Dial Heritage Collection, of which it faithfully recalls the dial, including the applied indexes, but with the exception of the chrono pushers' style.
Technical features remain essentially the same, such as the 39mm case and the ETA (or Sellita) base movement, with the addition of a Dubois-Depraz chrono module; in my opinion these do not constitute reason enough to buy or not to buy a watch that, priced at 4950 Euro, one usually chooses for its style, history (hopefully in a very near future, also for a nicely finished manufactured movement) and, with this blue dial version, for its vintage touch. This is, in my opinion, the best modern Monaco you could ever buy.
(Photo credit: Google; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®