In the world of Swiss watches, it’s quietly assumed that there is a distinct line drawn between the luxury aesthetics of fine, heritage pieces, and the chunky, all-purpose flare of precision sports models. The result is a market dominated equally by quaint, 19th century inflected visuals and the hard steel of modernity, with little crossover. As such, it’s refreshing to see the TAG Heuer Monaco 24 provide cutting-edge internal specifications without forsaking the need for a refined style.
The Monaco 24 is the latest model in this iconic line from TAG, which first introduced the world to automatically winding chronographs in 1969. Unique for its square casing, the TAG Monaco soon earned fame for entirely different reasons; following Steve McQueen’s adoption of the Monaco 1133 in the action film Le Mans, the watch became synonymous with both the actor and the world of high-speed sport, and hasn’t looked back since. TAG’s legacy models since have played with this marriage of sports history and innovation to varying degrees, with watches like the V4 and Sixty Nine particularly favouring a stripped down, mechanical aesthetic – perhaps to the detriment of an enduring visual appeal.
Originally introduced at the 2009 BaselWorld watch convention as a concept piece, the Monaco 24 is arguably the first truly successful new Monaco watch design since the 1133, modernising the famous model into a fully functioning watch befitting the 21st century, whilst still paying homage to the Monaco’s history.
The watch of course draws its name from the race which gave it international recognition, with the black dial sporting blue and orange stripes echoing those found on McQueen’s Gulf Porsche 917.
The dial is held in place by four piston-like orange shock absorbers positioned at the case’s corners, giving a nod to the industrial visuals of the V4 without letting them dominate. Form follows function however, with the absorbers offering the 24 remarkable durability far beyond the rigours of every day life.The 24’s use of a crocodile leather strap that keeps the watch anchored on the right side of the style fence.
However, it’s the 24’s use of a crocodile leather strap that keeps the watch anchored on the right side of the style fence. Its soft black texture well complements the outer casing of the 24, downplaying the flashier aspects of the dial to instead offer an edgy take on the dress-watch aesthetic. The leather strap also ensures that the 24 stays at a surprisingly light weight, sitting on the wrist comfortably for a long life of everyday wear.
£9295 from thbaker.co.uk