Tag Heuer's Monaco Comes Home
One of the long-held goals at Tag Heuer, the Swiss luxury watch brand, is measuring speed accurately, in ever greater detail.
In the Fifties, it was known for producing dashboard speedometers. By the Sixties, it was producing motorsport-related watches, the Autavia (its name deriving from ‘automobile' and 'aviation’) and the Carrera (in tribute to the Carrera Panamericana road race across Mexico). It also made a number of timekeeping innovations. Chief among these was the development of the first automatic chronograph, produced in secret with Breitling and two other watch companies, in its own race against rivals Seiko and Zenith.
The first watch to feature the new tech was Tag Heuer's Monaco. Released at the end of the Sixties, the square-sided watch was chosen by Steve McQueen to accessorize his character Michael Delaney in 1971’s Le Mans. Discontinued later that same decade it was reissued in a new design in 1998 and reintroduced again with entirely new mechanisms in 2003, a response to McQueen’s soaring popularity with a new generation.
Today Tag Heuer is just as interested in speed, timing, and accuracy. Its CEO is Guy Sémon, a scientist with a Ph.D. in physics, obtained after a spell as a jet fighter pilot in the French navy. Recent developments at the company include a chronograph able to measure hundredths of a second and the Mikrotimer Flying 1000, or “the 1/1000thsecond chronograph”.
Meanwhile those three Sixties chronographs – the Carrera, the Autavia, and the Monaco – represent the backbone of Tag Heuer’s business.
Its latest release is this: the Monaco Titan Special Edition. The case is made of Grade 2 titanium, a material that's both tough and light – sandblasted to give it a sporty, matt finish. The black sub-dials and red accents, meanwhile, are said to reference racing circuits, as well as the brand’s official colors. Elsewhere the Monaco’s USPs remain: 39mm x 39mm case, date window at 6 p.m., waterproof to 100m, and powered by Tag Heuer's latest Calibre 11 automatic chronograph movement.
The new watch was released to mark the Grand Prix – F1 being restarted after coronavirus shut down the 2020 event.
It represents something of a homecoming for Tag Heuer. Despite its Monaco being named for the prestigious race hosted by the French Riviera city-state, the brand hadn’t served as its official sponsor until last year, when it took over from Rolex. It's the perfect match.
The Monaco Titan Special Edition is available now, limited to 500 watches.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.